What is so important about it? Why does so much thought go into keeping the right one? It’s not like only a blessed few have it. We all have one. And it sticks with us till THE END.

Even though we’re not born with it, we definitely die with it. A name is the first thing assigned to us when we enter this world. A label so that we don’t forget who we are, and so that others don’t have to wrack their brains to remember us. Imagine a world where there were no names.

What would we say if we had to call out to someone, or address someone?

‘Hey you!’

‘Oye, you there!’

‘You, you, you, yes you!’

Or how about if we had to refer to someone while talking to someone else.

‘I met the girl with black hair and blue glasses who lives across the street from you in the white house with the red tiled roof.’

‘The bald guy in the pink shirt and black trousers wants to talk to you.’

Wouldn’t conversations be unnecessarily stretched? And how about minds being overloaded with senseless details? Getting to know who from who would become a humongous task, and still the air would reek of confusion.

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So names have saved us all from being condemned to the land of ‘who am I’, ‘who are you’, and ‘who’s really who’.

The real beauty of names lies not in one word names, but a combination of two or three words, and even a daring four word combo that could rattle anyone’s senses.

How many of us have come across a first name, a middle name, a last name, and one more name thrown in for good luck, or to harbor some precious sentiments.

If we take a look at names from the west, then the variety could range from a complex ‘James Mark Anthony Sheldon’ to a rather simple ‘Roxie’. And not dismissing our good old Indian names, we Indians can muster the courage to concoct titles that are either very royal, or just downright lackluster. I’m quite sure that everyone must have heard of someone named on the lines of Rattan Prakash Singh Hundal or Dev Raj Sheetal Kumar. And then let’s not forget the more simple folk like Hariya or Bunty and even John.

Does a longer name demand more respect, and make a person stand out from a crowd of boring and conventional names? Is a short name supposed to be trendy and cool, just like all those actors and pop stars? There has to be some logic behind a Cher or Madonna? Whatever it is, a name is a trademark that identifies us as separate individuals, and makes it easier to carve a place for ourselves in this vast society.

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But names have a way of breaking away from formal conventions, and taking on forms that bear no relation to their original appearances.

Mandeep becomes Monty, Savitri becomes Sara, Pradeep becomes Deep, Jyotsana becomes Jenny, and Gurpreet becomes Goga.

I mean isn’t one name enough, and where’s the link between the two?

What’s the point of having a name if it’s simply going to be changed to something else? Nicknames have accomplished what most double agents have been extensively trained for, completely altering identities. Some nicknames have overshadowed original names to such a large extent that they remain the only means of recognition.

Someone may have uttered the name Ranjeet in front of you ten times while you stared at them with a glazed-eye look, but as soon as Ranjeet is replaced by Tinku, your eyes light up, and you realize that Tinku, your next door neighbor, is also known as Ranjeet. What a way to get to know the real name of someone who’s been hijacked by his nickname, which is most likely to be highly ridiculous and ludicrous.

Also, when it comes to names, how many of us have had our names misspelt, mispronounced, and even mistaken to be something else.

With a name like mine, God knows that I’m no stranger to this irritating phenomena. There have been countless occasions where my name has been twisted into monikers that are annoying and logic defying.

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What’s so difficult about Terveen?

I’m simply referring to the name, and not the individual behind the name, because that would be another story altogether.

Terveen has been changed to Tanveer, Treveen, Tavreen, Tervin and Tarveen. Thankfully, the letter ‘T’ has managed to maintain its place and sanity. Terveen has withstood the test of time, and believe it or not, it’s also a surname used by people who have descended from Dutch ancestry. So if I was also of Dutch descent, then I’d be known as Terveen Terveen, and could have definitely given the band Duran Duran some stiff competition.

Having a name that’s been tugged around, and asked to be repeated more than once, makes me wonder whether it’s really so difficult to deal with. All of seven letters, four different consonants, and three similar vowels, I refuse to believe that it’s an anomaly of any sort. In fact, it’s quite a self-explanatory name that just needs a few more seconds of consideration.

It’s not my name that’s the problem, it’s the hurried nature of most human beings, and the lack of an eye for detail that has created confusion for the sake of being confused.

The pronunciation isn’t a big deal either. If you can say ‘her’, then you’ve got the ‘Ter’, and all that’s left is ‘veen’ and it exactly rhymes with ‘seen’.

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When it comes to names, people’s minds take a backseat, and they think a Terry could be a Tina, and a Larry could be a Lina. There’s no logic when it comes to names, and most people think it’s alright to jumble up letters, and muddle up pronunciations. Who’s going to chastise them for it? It’s not like there are some strict laws that are being broken for slapping and beating up names that belong to someone else.

After all the world’s a diverse place. How many names does a person need to get right, especially when different cultures, religions, and regions harbor names that are strange to look at, and even stranger to say.

Yet despite this, each name is important, and should be treated with respect. A name is an individual’s identity, and isn’t any lesser important than the individual themselves. How would you liked to be called or addressed by any other name but your own?

It’s demeaning and also shows that your intelligence needs to be upgraded. The next time you come across a new name, spare a few seconds to look at it, understand it, and remember it. You might think your name is the best in the world, or you might not like your name as much as you should, but don’t assume that others aren’t sensitive to the fact that you’re messing up theirs.

A name may just be a random bunch of letters, but its purpose is to highlight the existence of a person with whom it shares a bond forever.

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