What’s in a Spelling?

At the outset….this is a light-hearted thought on the spelling of my name, and I mean no offense to the Sowmyas of the world.

Every time I spell my name out to Indians, I always get asked: how come it is not spelt “S-o-w…”? As a child I immensely thanked my parents for spelling my name without the “Sow”. With the typical innocence of childhood, I used to explain that “sow” meant female swine, and therefore, with the gloriole of knowledge glowing bright, my parents had chosen the alternate spelling.

I can very well imagine the havoc that children could wreak on another child’s self esteem with some trivia like this! Of course, this also depends on how many children actually lay their hands on such trivia – but 1 precocious child per school could do the trick!

I can still look at my certificates – some of them with the spelling so wrong, it hardly reads like my name! I have one certificate that when translated in my daughter’s language means “Saw a cat” because it is spelt “SAW-MIYA”.

I ramble….but my point is, my name is still fun.

In so many parts of the world, the spelling of a name could be the tender line between life and death. In war-ravaged Iraq today, everybody is required to carry on them a form of national identification, called “Jinsiyas”. Apparently, the market for fake jinsiyas is thriving. For ex: Omar could mean the person belongs to the Sunni sect, while Amer could mean either Shiite or Sunni. Depending upon the checkpost where they are stopped, people know which jinsiya to brandish and live life. (Source: Newsweek July issue)

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7 thoughts on “What’s in a Spelling?”

  1. I read that news item and was deeply distrubed by the fragility of the world we live in.

    On the name front, sometime the most thoughful name could become a butt of all jokes 🙂

    BTW, yours is a very lovely name 😉

  2. Well brainwaves…I know why you say that. You want me to publicly say, your name is a good name too. Well it is a nice name – I’ve always acknowledged that. But it still doesn’t warrant every male member in the family having the same name 😉

  3. He he .. interesting. Well if it makes u feel better, I find ur name spelling very intuitive. 🙂

    I only began to feel awkward about my name after I reached US. Before that there would be max ‘Archna’ instead of ‘Archana’ trouble, but that was that. Here, I often feel like pulling my hair!

  4. I love the name Saumya ALSO because it was Tabu’s screen name in Kandukondein Kandukondein, the movie which drove me into the arms of Chennai five years ago!

  5. One of the blog, where I laughed and read multiple times.
    Saw-Miya!
    Thats a funny one.

    I thought, your daughter hated cats.

  6. Yes…she does. So, she would open her eyes large with wonder and we would hear a sensational “Amma – Saw miya!”

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