Saturday, August 23, 2008

What's in a name?

"Are you a christian ?", this is the one question ,whose answer I have lost count on. In fact I have been on a crusade telling the world that my name does not decide my religion or my identity (Well, that maybe an exaggeration) and its not the case either that I have never tried to discover how I got my name and what it means. I haven't understood why people ask me this question, whether they asked it inadvertently or out of curiosity. I guess getting an  English name has its pros and cons.

When I  was christened a name, my parents decided on two- 'James' and 'Boboi'. Family and close childhood friends still call me by the latter and is quite a popular name in my place. It means more to me when I am called by this name because it underlines the truth of the bonding I share with the person. In fact some of them are not aware that 'James' is my legitimate name. 

Believe me when I say my parents still don't know what 'James' means. Mom tells me that Dad was a big fan of James Bond in those days and besides being a teacher of physics himself he noticed that this was a very common name amongst the physicists. His criteria was obviously fame and popularity. It was only when I came to the 10th standard that I knew its meaning when my history teacher told me that it is the English version of the Hebrew name Jacob. Later I got to know it means 'the supplanter', 'substitute', and I know its easy to misunderstand this word.

Friends have come up with their own versions viz- 'Jamie', 'Gems', 'Jamz' to name a few. A few have even messed the pronunciation by giving it two syllabi  'Ja' and 'mes'.(How can anyone make this mistake if they have studied english in primary school?). Nevertheless, I have no complaints.

Undoubtedly , its one of the more popular names. From Harry James Potter to James Hetfield to the kings of scotland that came in chronological order, it has found its face with every kind of personality. But each time i have this conversation, it has led me into an introspective state and there are more questions cropping up . Did I try to find conscientiously to what I seek? Have I found a face in the crowd? What does the person behind the name mean?  Would I be a different person if I had a different name?

8 comments:

Sushant said...

hey boboi, i prefer to call u jamesh (jst like ramesh with j instead of r). Anyways r u a christian or not? :)

I'll try 2 be truthful said...

people really ask u that?? i"ll be very embarrased to ask someones religion !! but some people even ask which caste you belong to !!!
anyway james is a cool name ,not only because it reminds as of some famous people but because it's you . after all every human matters :)

jamzz said...

Your words brought a smile to my face amrita :)
And sushant ,thanks for asking but I am not a christian. You can say I am spiritual but not religious.

Ankit Khanna said...

Maybe you should follow my philosophy in life as far as names are concerned, after all my last two nicks on DC have been "Naam mein kya rakha hai" and "Who Cares".
Besides as far as the mispronunciations(deliberate or otherwise) of your name are concerned my favourite is the Bengali version ("Jomesh").

del said...

talking about names my condition is worse than yours.the moment i utter my name there is hundred questions in the other person's mind. the first question usually is"did i hear it right?"the question which normally follows is "why?" they even assume hundred things, not that i mind but i wonder why they have to ask me if they have already assumed.
some of them even feel uncomfortable using the word 'delhi' so prefers using the other half 'rose'
but there is reason for everything even when a parent just use a random name.it must have meant a lot to them to christened their child with that name.and over the years you grow up with it and so does the attatchment with your name.it might mean different thing to lot of people but what matters is what it means to you.
a name gives us a sense of identity ,its our essensence.our personality grows into the name.
perhaps if you had another name you would still have been the same person but the name might have got another different personality.

jamzz said...

@Ankit and Delhirose
Thanks for you feedback.

@Delhirose

Your words are particularly enlightening and thought provoking. Looks like you have done quite an introspect yourself.

Rojit said...

name...
how the hell should i pronounce my name as ROJIT... the moment i mentioned my name i either turned up hearing "PARDON ME" or something like "OK, ROHIT..!!"
My name is a wicked one....I hate manipuri names..
dude, u r lucky..!! lolz..

kritidas said...

Same with me too... almost everyone ask me why there is a "das" in my name. It is even asked in job interviews!! well in due course I hav designed an answer like " my dad had a good bengali friend... so n so..."