Wednesday, February 05, 2014

One more quora question

How do people feel when their names are mispronounced?

Ok, we from Tamil Nadu don't really have a surname. We just take our father's first names as surnames because the western world demands one. So, the first name is pretty important and I think my parents spent a whole lot of time in coming up with mine . It is quite unique even today and the only advantage is that I get the choicest of email ids. However, coming up with this name was a bad strategy in so many ways.

I don't know why, "Uttara" just freaks the heck out of Tamils. They simply can't handle the two ts. They say ta, instead of tha and perhaps while reeling from the initial shock, add a couple of 'a's for good measure and approximate it to nothing like how it is supposed to sound.

Somehow, everyone outside Tamil Nadu pronounces it perfectly. It is just my kith and kin who stumble so much and have mangled it beyond recognition that I don't care anymore. Pretty much everyone, whom I used to correct in my younger days, which was pretty much everyone, stuck to the unthreatening version with their comforting "h" in the sight i.e, Uthra. I swear I have a certificate that says "Avtara" (from A.Uttara). I remember one of my teachers in middle school scrunching up her face in effort and say "Udderaa".

Nowadays, I am happy if I hear a "ta" & a "ra". Even a ballpark estimate would do. But definitely not "Andhera".

By the way, my "surname" that is not, is "Madurai Ananthakrishnan". Your turn, western world.

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