A building by any other name

“What does your name mean to you? Do you like it or hate it? Why?”, an edition of IndiSpire. 

When I was born all those years ago, my father took one look at me and decided I should be named Sunita. He didn’t even ask my mother what she thought of the name which was a pity because later on in life when my mother was asked to suggest names for girls she came up with lovely names like Mekhala or Kamalini or even Girija….. But in those days she had no opinion or at least her opinion didn’t count. So I was named Sunita. A common enough name which strangely enough was a popular name for buildings coming up in what was then known as Bombay.

Every time we passed a building called Sunita, I would cringe and wonder why I wasn’t called something more normal like Asha or Usha. And then came the 60’s where a ridiculous Hindi song (from the movie “Farz”)with the words ” happy bir day to you, happy bir day to you, happy bir day dear Sunita , happy bir day to you……” would be heard all over All India Radio. Yukk! that was even worse than being named after a building!

But actually I wasn’t named after a building. When I asked my father why I was called Sunita, he told me that he’d liked the name when he’d heard his Boss call out the name and a cute little girl answered to it…… That kind of appeased me a bit but I was still uncomfortable with the name and preferred it when he called me “Sonabai”.

Eventually I got used to my name and felt proud when it was called out to receive prizes on Speech Day and even though I passed a building called SUNITA every day on the way to school, it mattered not a whit to me.

And then when I got married, my grandmother-in-law suggested that my husband change my name as there already was a  daughter in law called in the family called Sunitee who was supposed to be crazy. So my husband being the obedient grandson, promptly changed my name and now Sunita is no longer my official name on all legal documents obtained after my marriage.

Perversely, now that I am no longer officially Sunita, I want to be known only as Sunita. That is me. My identity. It is my name and I don’t care if there are a 100 buildings with that name!

But why do I still blog as BellyBytes?

Now that’s another story.

Author: Unishta

A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!

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