What’s in a name? -Plenty!


“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Drama and skits are out of bounds for me and definitely not the romantic Romeo and Juliet but I invite William Shakespeare to resurrect in India and apply for the myriad applications for various identities, right from genesis to bidding farewell to the world!

Wisdom of having the shortest possible name with no middle and last names, dawned on me at the time I filled up the form for the Unique Identity and the Permanent Account Number for my son when he turned eighteen.  These are identity numbers issued to citizens to prove their existence, individuality and status and this process can be extremely arduous and knotty if your name is a mouthful.

As tradition, customs and faith demanded that I name my child with a first name, normally used to call, followed by the paternal grandfather’s name for the first born son and maternal grandfather’s name for the second ( wonder what would be for the third one!)and this would manifest as the middle name and the official one too and finally tagging behind, the father’s name as the surname! So my son’s appellation was a mile long and did not have a clue then as to what the repercussions would be.

Football players huddle and one has a really long name.

Not realizing what was in store for me, I merrily filled up the square boxes under the category “First, Middle and Surname or last name”, the asterisks reminded me that no initials were allowed; now here comes the cliff hanger, I had to provide proof or evidence of his name which could be either his birth certificate or the school graduation certificate and in both of them, the initials were not expanded and my form was rejected as the names could not be corroborated!

I tried to explain my predicament to the issuing authorities and the conversation that ensued between a harrowed me and the customer care representative drove each other up the wall and finally I blew a fuse with her parrot like repetitions of the things that were already known to me and was on the verge of calling her names! The nomenclature duel was not getting me anywhere and the next couple of hours were spent in a kind of jigsaw exercise as to what letters would go in what boxes.


There is a silver lining in every cloud and that’s where appendices come into play, I jumped with joy on a distant probability of cracking the code like Alan Turin’s decoding Christopher and headed to the nearest gazetted officer who wielded the green pen and one who could vouch for my son’s existence and give a certificate to that effect. This deal came in the absence of my son’s physical presence, with a price of course and further pleading, cajoling and convincing for the Photostat copy of the officer’s identity.


Yet another time I submitted the form attaching the required documents to support my claim and as I wait with fingers crossed for the successful verification completed check, all I can say is the name of the game is ‘keep your name short, sweet and simple’ and why in God’s name is filling up forms so cumbersome!!!


48 thoughts on “What’s in a name? -Plenty!

    • Thanks Varsh…Have had similar nerve-racking experiences in the passport office too with renewal and would definitely pen them down soon..now have learnt to live with these and find the funny side to cope up!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Ha! Ha! I appreciate the way you convert such serious issues into humorous accounts! I agree with you Sunita…name is so important! Where would we be without it? This is the first word that we can associate with, it gives us our identity and it should be really short…for the sake of forms at least!! Who knew forms would become as essential as names when such traditions of long names were created! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks DD and this is inspirational to say the least that you miss my post:)
      Lot of experiences to share in various kendras and one at the Passport office is worth sharing, it was a full day picnic with beverages and snacks to keep company!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You have a knack of turning a mundane thing to a hilarious post!This should be an eye opener for would be parents to keep the length of names short, not exceeding 10 letters with only dad’s name as surname and a no no to caste names.There is no bar in writing the full name with an alias with name of village, dad and caste number.
    Brevity and uniformity is best maintained in official documents

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes KP sir and a plethora of identitities for a single individual, if we have the UID, the father of all identities, then all others must have be weeded out, but each day sees more of this kind and mismatches are bound to occur as each requires proofs in the form of identity, address and the like!
      Glad that you found this piece amusing as that was my very intention!


  3. Not related to your inducident – In India, many parents don’t think twice while keeping names of their kids…then they have to suffer later. But these days everbody is taking cognizance of this fact as our lifestyles are getting better.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How I agree with this! Short names lessen the trouble of filling up innumerable forms – while getting admission in school, college, getting a job, getting passport and other documents done..the list is endless. Add to that the hassle of having to explain how to pronounce your name and what each part means. In my case, I have had to explain sometimes that I have nothing to do with the country named Somali. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • Well, during my onsite stays I had to explain on a number of occasions that neither me nor my parents are Somalis. 🙂 Prior to marriage my surname was Brahmachari. People often asked me if my parents were Brahmachari too, and if so, how I came into being. I jumped at the first opportunity to change my surname. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Goodness, officialdom can be irritating at times, can’t it? All that trouble just getting a name fully corroborated. I remember reading on someone else’s blog that Portuguese names also tend to be long and complex and can cause bureaucratic problems at times, particularly if people are living in foreign countries.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hilarious but I know for sure that it was not so funny when you were going through the ‘name game’ complexity. Even after having the convenience of my father choosing to add his first name to mine and not the usual of having your entire family name spelled out, I have had issues. Glad it all worked out for you finally!
    As always, a brilliant write up.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice post.This problem is particularly for south Indians who were using initials.Somwhere along the way authorities wanted things to be in line with the western model of first and sir name and a middle name. When I named my sons and admitting in school, I did it with the expansions to avoid problems later on….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely. We are in a dilemma whether to follow the western way of using the first name and surname or the other way round…it is definitely a name boggling affair:)


  8. Haha. Hilarious. You have spun a fun post out of such a serious situation. If Shakespeare was born in India, his name would have created bigger problems here than that of your son.
    As always a brilliant post. I’ve had my dose of laughter. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh! I’m quite acquainted with this ‘name’ thing and the hassles oriented with filling up forms. With an unusual name and two surnames, I have had seen enough! I can imagine your predicaments…it’s really wise for parents to keep the names of their kids short and simple. It makes their lives smoother…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ha ha.. This reminded me of my friend who has a very long name, now settled in US, who has a daughter named with a three letter word. (He did say that he preferred a short name, so as well with people there)

    Your writing gave the whole incident a funny bone to it. Enjoyed reading it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hehe this was a hilarious read though I am sure you had a tough time. And man! I agree filling forms are difficult! Here in our part, the middle name isn’t so much necessary. Even if people have middle names, they give their first and last name alone. Anyway, I hope everything worked out in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Good that I stumbled upon this post, Sunita as I am quite keen on this namely subject. I can understand your predicament regarding the form filling and other name related things as one of my junior in University was from Manipur and has a very long name, half of which I have forgotten but the remaining half was ‘….chinglenkhomba Metei’! It was an uphill task to pull his leg while the Intro session.


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