Friday, 28 January 2011

What's in a name?

What's in a name?, they ask. Everything, I say. It's the first hem of your soul that you lift for another soul. It's what your parents matter of factly called you when you were born. It's what you sign off your unpublished, sometimes pathetic and sometimes beautifully filled with grief, poems. It's that combination of letters that is printed in your brain and is more important than the combination of letters of your lover's name.

And yet, they aren't unique. Those few letters that make you aren't personal to you. The pieces of your name are snatched and clawed at by thousands, maybe millions of other name hungry souls. Look at the audacity with which we grin at another soul who has stolen your name. "Namesakes" they call them. Thieves in my view.

Another Pooja in Manikaran, Himachal

In Himachal, however, the scale of this name theft is breaking the radar. Ask any beggar girl between the ages of 9 and 12 her name and she will have only one answer. Pooja. Its always the same. P, O, J & A are always arranged in the similar pattern and repeated shamelessly. Has it something to do with the piousness that the word carries with itself or with the goons running that begging racket? Whatever it is, it is heartbreaking to see those intelligent, sometimes unnervingly beautiful girls have the same name.

What's in a name? Maybe, nothing after all.

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