Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Name problems

After reading my last post myself afterwards, I was convinced that it was my worst post ever. So, I request all of you that if you haven't read it already, please don't. Let me just talk about something different.

My name, as you all know, is Sinjini . But, the spelling of my name should have been Shinjini because that's the actual Bengali word. So, in Hindi, my name should be written using 'Shalgamwala sha' . But, my father had written 'Sinjini' in my birth certificate.

When I was in the sixth standard, I first became aware of the fact that most of my friends and also some teachers pronounce my name exactly like its spelling. I used to become very irritated that I was being called by a different name. It was always "Sinjini", "Sinjini" and "Sinjini", but never "Shinjini". Then, I told some of my friends, with whom I interacted the most, the actual pronounciation of my name. After requesting them repeatedly, they gradually started calling me "Shinjini". I don't really blame them for calling me 'Sinjini' because I can't blame them. It's not their fault if they correctly pronounce what is written.

I have often asked my father the reason for which he had written that spelling. Every time, his reply has been the same. He says that writing just 'S' and not 'Sh' implies that my name should be pronounced as 'Shinjini'. He says that trying to change the spelling in the birth certificate itself will give us enough trouble for a lifetime. According to him, another reason had also motivated him to write that spelling. He had intended to keep the spelling very simple so that I would not suffer throughout my life like him and my mother for a long and complicated spelling. "Would one additional letter have made my name so complicated?", is what I ask him in return. His reason is not entirely rubbish. I have seen different people writing his name in different ways. His name is Saumyabrata Sengupta( quite long!). I have seen rarely seen that correct spelling written anywhere. It's either 'Soumyabrata', 'Soumyobroto', 'Soumobrata', etc. If he writes the correct spelling somewhere and somebody else pronounces it, the pronounciation is deliberately wrong!

For my mother, it is still worse. Her name is Nabanipa. A very similar and a very common name is Nabanita. So, people always write Nabanita Sengupta! Even if her name is pronounced laying special emphasis on the 'p', nobody writes 'p'. The spelling of her name has been changed to 'Nabanipa' for her bank account after repeated efforts.

In future, I can't expect many people to call me 'Shinjini', specially if I move out of West Bengal. I also can't try to correct everybody. So, I will have to live with that spelling for the rest of my life. After all, it's my name, it's my indentity.


Woodsmoke said...

Name related problems...a whole Pandora's box by itself. What's with the family obsession with complicatedness anyway?

I have always actively disliked my name thanks to the amount of ridicule it had been subjected to when I was a kid in Delhi. By the time I was ten years or so, the jokes stopped but the enquiry didn't. Fast forward to college, university, jobs, and now here...I have spent a lifetime answering questions on my name's length, its meaning, its pronunciation, etc. Somewhere along the way when I was fourteen, I had seriously considered changing my name, but as you can see I never got around to doing it.

If, as, and when I have children, they will probably all end up with names like Pinky. Yes, I am determined not to exceed two syllables and five letters.

Woodsmoke said...

Nice new photo. Why does your hair look shorter in length though? Don't you dare tell me you have cut it short. Grrr.

newsgroups said...


I too have a name which is pronounced wrongly by the people who pronounce it from written text, as opposed to pronouncing it from having heard. I too was angry at first and wanted to forget that 'new' name. But I have come used to it. Nowadays I use both: My real name when I introduce myself, and the other name when I imitate others saying things to me!
Hmmm, must be quite confusing to hear…



Sukanya Guhathakurta said...

Name problems......yes it's really very irritating!When your name is incorrectly spelled or pronounced, you don't actually feel like being yourself.
Even my name is such that is has diffirent pronunciation in bengali and english.But,I can't really make everyone understand that how it is important for me to be called by the exact name.
So, don't worry, by the time your are about forty, poeple will get the pronunciation of your name right!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Scribbles! said...

Hey Sinjini,
how are u doing? anyway I think ur name is spelt right. Cuz one of my friends his name is Siladitya...n its pronounced as Shiladitya. I guess the 'h' is silent wen u spell it. So I think u go about correcting people wen they pronounce your name.

Amiya said...

Oh I've already had enough name troubles to last me a lifetime, and of course this is gonna go on for the rest of my lifetime. I've been called Aamya, Amya, every conceivable distortion of the 5 letters in my name. I've even mentioned that in a post of mine!

Sadly there's no way around it, except to correct people every time they mispronounce your name and hope they'll remember the next time and save you the effort of correcting them again. But y'know what, I don't mind it much anymore. Maybe I've got used to it. Also, people usually don't do it deliberately - they just don't know the right pronunciation - so no use my getting bugged at them.

And honestly, it's these "different" names that I find the prettiest. Everyone here who's complained about name problems - Sinjini, Sayantani, Amiya - love all these names! So it's okay, I'd rather have a prettier name that gets mispronounced once in a while rather than a 'common' one everyone knows (or has!) too well :)

B. O'Hemian said...

Like Wordsworth said: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose..."

Like Lord Krishna, I too have 108 nicknames (and growing), thanks to my rather unusual (even for bengalis) 20 character name.

I guess my worst experience is, my school buddies, with whom I regained touch after a decade or so, still insist on calling me those disgusting name-derived nicknames they gave me during school.

Oh! Just because your last post received a lot of gyan, it doesn't have to be your worst post. It was a reflection of what you were feeling at that time, and it's a good thing that you wrote it. :-)

Aarbee said...

Following on what Amiya said - there are pros and cons of both a difficult and an easy name. But what luck would it be to have an easy and common name and still have it mispronounced by people?! At least you have a unique name. :)

Although, I believe that most of the mispronunciations are not because someone cannot pronounce something, but because the person does not want to make an effort to learn how a proper noun is pronounced.

Dibbasatya said...

if u r writing a post abt ur name realted problems, den i should write a buk abt my name.
many people call, pronounce, some even can't come close to pronouncin my name correctli.
i also hve problems wen pronouncin my name, it cn hve authenticalli two diff pronounciation.
bt watever people call i am d same person, it doesnt matter how people pronounce, it matters wat u do to make it important.

~ Deeps ~ said...

you got a quite a different but easily pronounciable name.....i have seen more complicated names and problems arising due to cheer up.......

i wish i could have a little different name :(

Butterfly said...

Even if you are determined not to exceed two syllabes and five letters when you name your children, please don't name them something like Pinky! There are better names of that sort, like Tinni and Titli.:-D
My hair looks shorter because when this photo was taken in 2005, my hair was shorter. I chose it because my face has not matured much over the last two and a half years. And, don't worry,I will not cut my hair for a very long time now. It's waist length now.:-)

Hmmm...Your name's spelling looks quite simple. So does the pronounciation. Yet people make mistakes! Oh God!:-/

It's doubtful whether they'll get the pronounciation right even when I am 80!

But, people pronounce exactly what they see and that's the problem!They don't think about the 'h' being silent and all that...
Btw,Welcome to my blog!:-)

@Amiya Didi
That's one point that I forgot to mention in this post. There have also been innumerable times when I have felt proud of having an uncommon name.:-)

108 nicknames!Gosh!:-D
And, Thanks for thinking in that manner about my last post. It's really nice of you.:-)

Hmmm...That's a good thought. People really do not want to make an effort to pronounce names correctly.

Oh Yes, your name is quite difficult to pronounce and spell. I myself am not sure about your name's pronounciation.

Easily pronounciable but always wrongly pronounced...That's the problem with my name!:-(
As for your name, I keep on forgetting that it's Deepak and not Deeps!So, you cheer up too because your fellow bloggers, at least, always call you by a unique name!:-)

Rohit Talwar said...

See, all of us crib about our names. You do, and justified at that, and I do because it's as common as picking chocolate flavour over a ridiculous one post dinner.

R said...

Hah..even a simple name like Rajiv is made into Rajib by Bengalis. I have stopped correcting them, even tho I am elevated to a condition of blind rage at such an innocuous but repetitive act.

But I am in concurrence with Woodsmoke. My kids will definitely have short names and definitely not archaic Bengali names..!!!

Butterfly said...

Your name surely is common but at least, you don't have spelling problems. In that way, your name is good.

Oh Yes, I have noticed that thing among Bengalis!:-)
Welcome to my blog, btw!:-)

Kavya said...

lolz! happens with a bong friend of mine all the time! i remember our first roll call in our lecturer called out..."sonali", my friend stood up and corrected her.."it's SHOnali!"
too bad she's had to repeat this ritual regularly,throughout our three yrs in college!

Although two yrs in a bengali school have taught me not to commit this mistake ever again in my life! Even now if i meet someone named ANU..i inadvertantly end up calling her ONU!

All said and done, i think it's really frustating when ppl get your name wrong all the time. for instance, my bong friendz who are very particluar abt their names, mind you have rechritened me as "KABYA"!!
such is life!

Butterfly said...

Yeah, life really is weird for people w.r.t. their names!