What is in a name, you may ask. My answer to that is, “Everything”.
My name is Gayatri, and it is pronounced as, Gaaa-ya-three. That in itself, condemned me to a life where nearly no one could pronounce my name right.
When I was born, my father held a consultation with my mother and his family on what to name me.
His family was of the opinion that I was to be named Karthiyayini after his mother (my paternal grandmother) since I was the eldest girl child in their family.
But, my father wanted to name me either Shalini (a name with the same first letter as my mum’s name) or Gayatri (a name with the same first letter as my dad’s name).
So, at the end, I was named Karthiyayini in the naming ceremony held in the temple, but, my name was given as Gayatri in all the official documents, including my passport.
And I’ve hated it since then.
From the time my maternal uncle made fun of it, saying it sounded like three cows. (Gaay = Cow in Hindi)
And the time in primary school, when my teacher couldn’t pronounce so Indian a name and called me Gay-tree. (#NRIProblems)
To the time in Year Seven, when my friends made fun of the shortened version of my name, Gayu, saying it sounded like ” Gay you.”
If there was anything I was insecure about, it was my name.
It always ended in someone teasing me about it and me crying at home, although I was too proud to cry in front of them and give them that satisfaction. (I still never cry in front of anyone, how much ever they hurt me. It’s always at night, in the darkness.)
Although my parents tried consoling me, by telling me that my name is beautiful, because it was the name of an Indian princess and also that of a mother goddess who protects the Universe. Also, the word in Sanskrit meant a ‘hymn’ or ‘prayer’ and one of the most powerful chants (prayers) in Hinduism is called the Gayatri Mantra.
Yet, none of this had any effect on me, scarred as I was, from all that intentional and unintentional teasing I’d garnered over my name.
But, now, I’ve learnt to live with it, even if I don’t like it excessively, I tolerate it.
Although, even now, if someone mispronounces it, I cut them off with a firm, “It is pronounced as GAAA- YA- THREE.”
P. S. Yes! I’m back! For now. Four of my five major exams are done, with the last one on April 11th. Once that’s done too, I’ll be done with school! Like totally.