MIDWAY : What’s in a name?

Abhaya Raj Joshi:

My uncle gave it to me. I used to feel that it was unique. While going to primary school and even secondary school I had never heard of or come across anyone who shared my name. I thought this made me unique. This uniqueness was something I was always fond of. But all this was about to change.

One day my mother and I were walking on the road when we met my mother’s old friend whom she saw after many years. My mother

started a conversation with her during which, she happened to ask my name. “Abhaya,” I replied, swelling with pride at having to utter such a unique name.

“Well!” Came the reply. “That’s my son’s name too.” My undiluted notion of being unique at having possessed a very different name received a jolt although that was still fine with me. Only one person shares my name! I thought.

But later the same year, when I returned to school after a long break, friends began saying that they had watched my movie, to my surprise. “Did I act in any movie?” I asked myself. I at least don’t remember doing so! Later I found out that they were talking about Kamal Hasan’s movie whose title was same as my name. At least for a year, when I met new people they asked me about the movie. But finally all of them forgot about it. I was happy that it ended.

But recently when a person asked me my name and I replied, the person asked me if I was some Abhay Chauhan or some Abhay Kapoor. I was flabbergasted as I asked myself who this person was talking about? Days went by and again the same thing happened. Later, while watching the TV soaps on Indian channels of which my sister is a diehard fan, I found out that the characters the people were talking about were antagonistic ones who shared my name. I felt bad that the so-called villains of the TV serial had the same name as mine.

But things had already started changing; I forget who started it but my friends were already calling me “Abhaya Raj.” I thought this name was more unique than what my friends used to call me earlier. But I found it quite long and switched to a shorter and a better version, simply “ARJ”.

After all this switching names back and forth I came to a conclusion that whatever I may be called, I am me and no one can change this fact. I came to understand that it is not the name that makes a person unique but rather it is the attitude and values that a person inculcates.

Anyway, what’s in a name? A rose by any other name will smell as sweet!