Okay, you must think I must be seriously jobless to do two posts in a day. Well, I am making up for the one month I was away from this space. A period that saw me stressing myself out (so what’s new), going down a deep end and emerging out of some hole, maybe not stronger but still ‘me’. So for the three readers I have, who actually mention my blog in passing (PMS on Skype, Nisha (after the bhajan), my cousin Soumya on FB) the double post is for you guys!

What prompted me was the Daily PromptWrite about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?

My name is Rekha and I was quite apologetic about it for a long time. It is one of the most common names in my generation, and sometimes we had three Rekha’s in one class. I think by the time I graduated to the tenth grade – I was the only ‘Rekha’ which in itself was a great achievement – not having a namesake to confuse the world! It’s another matter that another ‘Rekha’ came to haunt me in all three years of B.Com. Though she was a sweet soul, I couldn’t bear it – the thought of sharing my identity with a person who was just the opposite.

Well, the angst apart, I don’t know who I was named after. But I’d have to simply guess, the ‘gorgeous’ film star Rekha, who even at 60 plus looks stunning in her kanjeevarams and heavily-coloured hair. Initially I thought it had something to do with being born in Nagpur, the central part of India till I started growing up in very Southern Cochin to discover that there were two more Rekha’s in the neighbourhood and six years after I was born, my aunt decided to name my cousin after me! Yes, I was that important!

If saddled with a common name was not enough, the mispronunciations made it worse. I am called ‘Regha’ and ‘Ray-ha’ by the Mallus and Tams and Reeka in this part of the world. My former editor used to call me ‘Reha’ in spite of impromptu pronunciation classes and the name stuck. They, my ex-colleagues call me Reha even now. But nothing can be unkind than being called ‘Regha’ by most of the family – the ones that live in the South. “It’s Re-kha’, pronounce both the k and h,” I go on like a stuck record. But nothing earth-shattering in my life ever happens; not even the correct pronunciation of what’s my identity.

Rekha means ‘line’ and mostly signifies the lines on the palm. The one that holds the key to your destiny and then some! It also bonds with Lakshman to make the Lakshman-Rekha that Sita crossed in the Ramayana to get abducted… the line that must not be crossed. Thankfully, there was no Lakshman during my college days and that spared me some unfortunate ribbing but I was still whistle-called to the popular film song, ‘Rekha O Rekha, jab se tumhe dekha…’.

The name has grown on me and with me. When I see enterprising parents with overactive imaginations naming their kids Rahasya, Jima, Tintu, Blossom, Pleasant and the like, I am glad my parents didn’t name me after them.

Or else, I would have been Jama (from Janaki and Mani) and that would have landed me in a major jam! Wouldn’t it? (Clap! Clap! That’s a lame joke!)

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5 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. I have a niece who is also named Rekha, not because her father was a die-hard fan of Gamini Ganesan’s daughter, but she was born on the ” Revathi” star (Nakshatram). Rekha also means streak of light (Vidyut Rekha as mentioned in the Vedas). Renganayaki s also at times shortened to Rekha and if there is an elder daughter who is named Remya , the chances that the second one would most probably be named Rekha and god forbid if there is a third girl, she would be named…. ( yeah, you got it right!)

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