Go Gou...or Gowri?

Young Swarna is having the time of her life. If there is one thing amiss, it is her name.

Swarna Gowri is by all accounts a happy-go-lucky girl. She is very pretty with bright eyes, dark, thick hair and a good sense of style. She is good at studies and has a Master’s degree in Law. Her friends’ circle is large. She has a good sense of humour and is helpful. Young Swarna is having the time of her life. If there is one thing that is amiss, it is her name – B.Swarna Gowri – which, she thinks is very old fashioned. Her parents are nice folks in every way but have chosen to straddle her with this.

She can’t exactly remember when she began to feel uncomfortable with her name. Probably back in primary school itself. The other girls in school had fashionable names such as Shilpa Chowdhury, Ananya Kashyap and so on. True, there were a few like Gajalakshmi and Annapoorneshwari which she thought were like her name, but most others were short and stylish.

“Why Swarna Gowri?” she had asked her parents. “Because you were born on the day of the Swarna Gowri festival and we just had to name you thus,” her mother had replied in all earnestness. “Could you not have given me a surname at least?” she had persisted. “That is not our practice. We just take the father’s initials. I have taken my father’s and you have taken mine,” her father had replied. Swarna Gowri refused to answer to her full name. “Call me Swarna or Gowri but not the whole thing,” she had thundered.

By the time Swarna came to college, her uneasiness with her name had increased. “Even grandmothers of my friends have better names,” she had fumed. Snide remarks from boys about “this Gowramma not being a Gowramma” had irked her so much, she had wanted to retaliate. It was only her good sense and reasonableness that had stopped her from doing so. Swarna Gowri’s irritation with her name was not a constant one. She often forgot about it in the hustle-bustle of her life.

But it has now resurfaced. After passing her law course, Swarna Gowri got busy with interviews. She balked every time she had to say, “I am B. Swarna Gowri.” Be that as it may, Swarna has managed to get a job in a prestigious law firm. Her modern colleagues shorten everyone’s name. She is now happy to answer to “Gou”.

One day, her parents return from attending a naming ceremony. Her mother informs her with a chuckle that the baby’s name is Swarna Gowri. “The parents said they wanted a distinctive name and were tired of the modern ones. They even said that if their daughter grows up to be like you, they would be very pleased.” Gou is definitely feeling better disposed towards Swarna Gowri now.

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