A lazy Sunday morning, something wobbles by my pillow while I'm still cozied under my comforter and no later I realize it is my cell phone that is vibrating, dragging me out from my hard earned Weekend sleep. In a blunt voice: I say Hello and the other person on the line says: "Is this Shake-it?" FYI Ladies and Gentleman, my full name is 'Shakti Vishnu Teja Kamisetty', the whole underlined part counted as my First Name. I sprung up from my sheets and said "Who?" She resumed her jumbling and started saying "Can I speak to Shake-it Kiss-i-maa...". Now I was totally up on my feet and said "You might want to stop right there! My name is Shakti Kamisetty and you can call me Vishnu (very sternly for an early morning's 11.00 AM call)."
If this was my encounter, some of my friends had their share of funny experiences as well. "Sai Kamineni", the good friend and then roommate of mine, visited his Graduate Advisor and the first question that popped out from his big head was "Are you Kameena?". Within his mind, Sai cursed, "Tu Kameena, Tera baap Kameena, tera poora khandaan kameena" but couldn't raise a word. He calmly corrected the advisor and walked out. This guy Vamshi from Kansas sadly told me how his name was butchered sometimes. Sometimes he called "Wash-me" and sometimes "Wameesh". My name was anagram-ized several times too, calling me "Vunish", "Vunashi" and what not. I always wondered why can't they simply follow the syllables; pronouncing We-issh-nu is no rocket-science!
While some people tailor their names accordingly so that they don't feel ridiculed, some people make sure they are called correctly. Yogesh, a guy I know cut short his name to "Yo" and that made people ask his name thrice instead of twice. Madhuri, tailored it to "Maudri" as people are ignorant of the "dh" syllable. Vidya Shankar challenged a gora, that he'd give him $10 if he got his name right the 1st time and made it simple by asking him to call him "V". I, at times, used the name "Victor" instead of "Vishnu" esp. at Taco Bell and Mc. Donalds to make their life easier but I stopped doing that after I was made to realize by Madhuri. So now, I fall under the category of people who make sure they are called correctly - "Vishnu with a V".
Nevertheless, I had problems with my name even before I came to the US. My name was too long to be entered into the High School Certificate. I was amazed to see that it was longer than 24 characters and as usual, puzzled, I asked my parents "Why 3 names while I am just one person?" I am sure many of you have some funny experiences too, would love to listen!
Vishnu Kamisetty blogs at : vishnukamisetty.blogspot.in
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