"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet."
When I hear this I often wonder if Shakespeare actually knew what he was talking about…. If you are wondering what am I exactly ranting about then you have to know this story…. Now when I was born, being the first child of the house, my aunt (father’s sister) is supposed to christen me…. Now instead of my father’s sister christening me, I had her daughter (my cus) do the honors…. Using numerology, astrology and all possible inaccurate sciences it was decided that my name should start with the letter ‘S’…. not that I had a say in all this anyway but till this point in time I am ok with everything…. So she could name me, Seeta, Suzy, Shalu, Shanta, Shruti…. If she insisted to have an ‘ili’ in the end of my name then it could be Shalmili, Shamili,Shalini…. But NO!! The only name that struck a cord with my cus was SHARMILI!!!!
Now I wonder why exactly she gave this name to me…. I mean did I do something when I was in the cradle prompting her to give me this name???? Did it occur to her what her repercussions are…. But before that my first question goes to parents all over…. How do they decide on the name of their child??? I mean if the child smiled in the cradle, they will name him Hasmukh…. Or if the child was born in the morning then he is Suraj…. I am perplexed…. Gods name are given to children…. But what is the intention?? Is it that the names will help the child turn as virtuous as Gods???? But who am I to question laws of society and nature…. So coming back to my name…. as I said before…. I am not cribbing about this…. I was the only SHARMILI in my school, college and my workplace…. Having a unique name has its perks in the world where there are hajar Priyas, Shraddhas, Sudhas…. I mean if you find say a book with Sharmili written on it, u would know immediately it is mine…. There won’t be a need to research and know which SHARMILI this book belongs to, coz it only me in the game…. But this unique name (I refrain from calling it unusual) also had a flip side as well….
Now whenever I go and introduce myself, the people are amused…. This is evident by the broad smile on their face when they hear my name…. some even go to the extent of saying “oh, toh tum sharmati ho kya????”…. now I am stumped…. How am I supposed to react to this…. “haan bhai, mein sharmati hoon…” or just give that silly grin and let him/her decide…. Or say “of course not… sharmati toh ghar mein rehati, aapse milne idhar nahi aati…” I must say, I can’t use the third option pretty often…. Reason being people who have asked me such a weird question have always been in the senior age group…. So second option is the only way out…. Going to college was particularly dreadful for me coz I always thought I would be ragged courtesy my ‘UNIQUE’ name…. How many seniors would get a chance like this…. I mean my name actually gives them ragging material on the platter…. some of the ways I imagined were people singing “oh meri, oh meri Sharmili” all around with me at the centre of the jhoond…. or a particular guy from the class would be ragged by asking to come up to me and sing that song for me…. There would ve been a solace if people hadn’t seen that movie…. But to my luck this movie is seen by many or at least heard of by many…. I really don't know how successful this movie was but most of the people around me seemed to have seen it and trust me that’s a lot…. But luckily in Ruparel and VJTI; I dint experience all this and man am I glad!!!!
But that’s not all…. I went to Barista the other day…. Now at this coffee joint I have to order, then tell my name, pay of course and finally wait for my turn till the guy calls off my name from the list…. So I go to the guy and say ill have a choco frappe and a grilled sandwich…. So he takes the order and asks my name…. I say, “Sharmili…” he says, “excuse me madam…. Could u repeat that…. I heard Sharmili….” I said, “yes, that’s correct… that’s my name….” you should ve seen the grin on his face when I confirmed my name…. worse comes next…. When my order was done he goes, “Sharmiliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii”…. Now I would like to believe that was because he had to get through to me despite the din around…. There are many such instances…. All through these years I have seen people grin, smile, laugh when I tell my name…. the positive way of looking at it is that I have made people laugh and then I get content with it…. if you meet me and u would come to know that the Sharmili aspect of my character is limited only to my name :)…. Of course this prompts for nicknames like 'besharmili....'
People often ask me, if you don’t like your name why u don’t change it…. But then comes my immediate reply, "What's in a name? That which we call Sharmili by any other word would mean the same sweet person" wont it????