“What’s your name?” he asked with a polite smile on his face.
“Ji, my name is Ashhar Reza.” I replied with the same gesture.
“Ashhar, uncle! Ashhar Reza!” I pronounced, laying stress on the ‘sh’ part to make him understand.
“Assar? Ok!” facepalm! Is it that difficult??
Almost 99% of the people I come across have difficulty in pronouncing my name, and let me tell you, that’s quite a lot. Some compare me with the pop singer ‘Usher’ and make an immediate wave of hand, imagining the tunes of his famous song or singing “taa daa taa daa”, while the others eat up the half part, assuming most letters to be silent. Nightmare is when people write my name. Most of them struggle to create an alien race out of it.
It all started from school itself. Attendance call was the most irritating thing.
“Asar Raja!” If I was the King (Raja), I swear I would have beheaded you!
“Sir, its Ashhar Reza!” I stood up and said politely.
“Arre! Naam me kya rakha hai!” (What’s there in the name!) an agitated wave of hand, and I sat down, with my friends giggling behind their tables.
This came up to the college and every time I introduced myself, people would stare at me with a confused look, waiting for me to repeat and spell my name and I was a practiced irritated man to do so. People who see my ID card struggle to read my name. Once on Writer Baabu, I had a random talk with one of the authors, who, till the last message thought me to be a girl and addressed me as ‘Di’. As you can imagine, that was embarrassing.
But after all, I love my name like most of the people do. I believe name is important. Our parents keep our names creating an aura of expectations around us, and when we get to know the actual meaning of our names, we try to justify it as well. There is something in the name (Naam me bhi kuchh rakha hai sir), not because it defines your character, but it gives you an identity, an identity which is unique, an identity which you are proud of.