By all other names...

By all other names...

By all other names...

Quirky but true! Nicknames are interestingly inventive, though the intent of transcending the boundaries to ridicule someone is common. In our family, 'Gunda' never gained his weight past 45 kilos on any weighing scale, but his mother had a juvenile rationale - he looked frail when he was born but we wanted him to be a rotund structure one day. Future-proofed nickname in challenging times.

'Lefty' or 'lodde' for a left-handed person, 'blondie' for sporting a certain colour of hair, 'baldy' for the hair-challenged, 'lumbu' and 'beanpole' for the structurally tall people are in vogue for generations.

In cricket, the players' names are riddled with nicknames. England's famous all-rounder Ian Botham became 'Beefy,' Sri Lankan Malinga was rechristened as 'Slinga' due to his bowling action, and Ricky 'The Punter' Ponting supposedly due to his over-indulgence to place bets on greyhound racing.

Mecca is now in India, if you will, in the cricketing world! Sourav Ganguly acted as the catalyst for India's northwardly climb when he displayed his aggression - wearing it on his sleeve - to the extent he took off his shirt when India won the Natwest final under trying conditions. He will always be the 'Prince of Calcutta,' also 'dada' given his roots.

Our current Under-19 coach Rahul Dravid, with his rock-solid technique, was 'The Wall' due to opponents' inability to get the ball past his bat.

Sensational batsman Shikhar Dhawan became 'Gabbar', not for his audacious strokeplay or the twirled moustache, but it was his Ranji teammates who labelled him thus since he frequently energised them with the most famous line from the movie Sholay - 'Suar ke baccho', albeit with a slightly derogatory connotation but nonetheless loaded in his good intent to motivate the team!

Moniker is another flavour of nickname - the Roberts became 'Rob' or 'Bob', the Richards 'Dick,' the Williams 'Bill,' the Thomas' 'Tom,' the Daniels 'Dan,' the Michaels 'Mike' - common names in Western societies.

Closer home, many, particularly in the IT industry, morphed their names so it was easy to pronounce for their US and European clients - Narayana became 'Nan', Srikantan became 'Tan', Kiran became 'Kevin'. Was the ultimate goal to ease the movement of software business climate where services crossed international borders?

Now to names with prefix add-ons - the likes of Silk Smitha and Nylex Nalini from the South Indian cinema world during the 1980s... They carried a certain 'oomph' factor due to their characterisation of roles, and the fabric 'Silk' and 'Nylex' got a new meaning and were glorified to send the TRP and star ratings upwards.

It was during the 1980s that I was going out with three girlfriends - all in their 70s - my grandmas. It was my duty to escort them around for their weekly temple visits, religious discourses etc.

In tune with the times, it was only apt that I modernised their names as Violet Venka (Venkamma, my father's mother), Silk Shari (Sharadamma, my mother's mother), and Satin Sanni (Sannamma was Venka's sister). They enjoyed the banter as long as it was not made public and kept within the family circles. As a 20-someone, my three girlfriends blessed me with tips!

An apt one from history who played a role in British agricultural revolution - Townshend's belief in the growing of turnips gained him the nickname of Turnip Townshend.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)