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What's in a name?

What's in a name?

Bearing a long name has its shortcomings

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Last Updated : 19 May 2024, 23:59 IST
Last Updated : 19 May 2024, 23:59 IST
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Well, that’s the ‘trillion-dollar’ question—obviously because ‘million’ has paled into oblivion as today we talk only in terms of trillions — be it economic growth targets or unaccounted money unearthed—which has been nagging me since childhood. I do not know why, but when the email facility was offered to me by then Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited, I plumped for ‘msv@md4.vsnl...,’  and it was accepted. Excitement knew no bounds as the mail id addressed me the way my colleagues in the bank did — ‘MSV’ for short.

A couple of years later, when Google introduced Gmail, I chose to have my full name as my email id. Of course, many people, especially those on the systems side of the bank, detested my choice as it created problems for them in allocating space for the inordinately long mail id.  Many found it difficult to remember or even spell my email address. The problem still persists with communication being aborted many times due to an ‘invalid email id,’ whatever that means! I have problems even with the Know Your Customer (KYC) details updation because of my long email id. But all that does not deter me. 

However, what really disturbs or pains me is when someone spells my name incorrectly. In a professional body of which I am a member, there was a crossword quiz contest carried out in the monthly journal that the Institute publishes, and the first prize was a Certificate of Appreciation signed by the president of the institute with his three colleagues. I was declared the first prize winner, but my happiness was short-lived as the certificate, which was signed by four Central Council members, carried my name as ‘VIDYANATHAN’ instead of ‘VAIDYANATHAN’.

Unfortunately, in our technology-driven world of today, while we have a spell check for word files created so that the errors can be corrected and the file saved, there is no such check for manually written documents. Yes, of course, I can almost hear people saying that the signatories to the document must conscientiously peruse the contents in their entirety before signing. But unfortunately, in the bullet train era that we are living in, they too are busy jetting from one city to another to fulfil their obligations, so much so that the misspelt name of a professional colleague matters little to them.

For the last four months, I have been writing to the president of the institute and the editor of the journal to have them send me a certificate with my name spelled correctly, but in vain. Who cares? What’s in a name?

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