I was travelling in an UBER yesterday and when the driver asked me how to pronounce my name, I told him, ‘My name is difficult to pronounce. It is Manogna!’, I said trying to understand his predicament. I never expected a Gora to understand my name , let alone pronounce it correctly!
‘MANOGNA!’, he repeated,’That’s easy!’, he replied.
Now that’s what I call a googly. I was stumped. ‘People back home consider my name very difficult!’, I said to him, as an explanation to my earlier dialogue.
Then, I let my mind wander..
It all started when one distant relative told me that my name itself is good, but the nurse preparing the birth certificate had been wrong, he said.
My mom had named me, in pure Telugu, M-A-N-O-G-N-Y-A. (which is the one of Goddess Lakshmi’s innumerable names)
Coming back to the distant relative again, he said my name should have been M-A-N-O-J-N-A! (I felt nauseous!)
Then came the early school life. It is obvious, people would want to know your name on first day. I would shut my mouth and let my mom tell my name to my friends and teachers, even family. (People never got my name the first time and the thing I hate the most is repeating myself)
Let me tell you a little known secret on this open platform. I have always hated my first days in school, college and graduation. People never got my name.
One Mr.Hindi sir, in my school would call me, MEGHANA! (It is as if he thought my name was a mistake and auto-corrected it!)
Intermediate was a phase when the lecturers only knew the Star Batch students. Since my average grade was 82%, they never bothered to remember my name!
Then came my Engineering. The Professor whom I admired the most never called me with my name once, in all the four years of Engineering. He only called me, Roll No. 11. (I always felt he was treating me like a Khaidi, a prisoner) But let me not mislead you, he would call everyone with roll numbers!
Then there was my dad’s employee, a Mr.J, who would call me, ANOOPNA!
One of my previous employer would call me MANOJ-NA, whatever that meant…
And then one fine day, I met a college junior, who told me, his cousin had the same name as ME.
The first thing he asked after he found out my name, was, ‘How do you spell it?’
I gave him a confused look, ‘M-A-N-O-G-N-A’,I replied.
‘Good! You are lucky, my cousin’s name contains both a ‘Z’ and a ‘Y’, she is M-A-N-O-Z-N-Y-A!’ he replied with a wink.
That was when I thanked the nurse who filled my birth certificate. MANOGNA is way way better, phew!
- I also had a friend in schooling who was called PRAGNYA and had a sister called MANOGNYA. The breed of MANOGNA’s is increasing, even if there are 100 of them in India, I still hope, I am the only MANOGNA GANESH.