As the clock struck 2 in the night, i started missing our old singing cuckoo wall clock. of course there was no clear reason to miss the long-gone, ultra-noisy timekeeper then and there, but at least it would have saved me from the events following and the discovery.
Passing another boring thursday night while playing “who fools whom first” on MSN was going rather routinely until the point of conversation came in where I was (out of my stupid random queries) was making complete translations of names. To begin with it was fun and easy; we all are pre-programmed with the meaning of our names and the wonderful story of how my grandpa had 20%, uncle 10%, aunts 15% and parents the rest (55%) to give in naming us. Even if your name spells “Osama” and you know that the CIA was on your tail ever since you got a passport; the loving parents would always be happy with the gist of it. after all who wouldn’t like putting their son in the league of lions (i.e. Osama in real means lion-like). but sigh! we seem to overlook the post-teen effects of such cute turned murderous names, when in spite of having all the right scores and finances, Mr. Osama fails miserably at getting a visa to pursue education in any of the western world universities.
My concern however doesn’t lie with what you name your kid. since at the end, its your own asset of procreation and you have full natural/human rights to practise your creativity in life. we all love to “think different” (like a mac) believing “impossible is nothing” (like Adidas) and thus end up screwing the future of our kids with one moment of ingenuity. otherwise when i see names like Osama and Jonah or czarina and Kareena; i can’t make any goddamn sense of it!!!
But all said and done, even if any of the readers of this post is stuck with a name you have regretted ever since you gained sense… there isn’t much to gain from taking up another myopia of affidavit, since you would be left with a bigger state of confusion and no second chance. which brings me to the tip of the iceberg, what am I doing countering age-old practises and hip names at the most unlikeliest hour of all??
well, just as always here I am with another (rather) weird and sensational story and this time it’s definitely personal. I think I was born with an insatiable hunger… of course the hunger was not for the “wrong” things in life but neither were they too much for the plain “rights” either. the quest to know it all resulted in me asking questions I didn’t need to know the meaning of pretty early. for the record, when I was admitted into nursery, the first question I faced standing with a million other “devil’s own” was “what does you name mean?”. may be the teacher just wanted to amaze the class how great my name actually meant or she was three months into pregnancy looking eagerly for anything new… there I was standing in front of the crowd explaining “sabih” the “morning daylight” origins and chronology of events making it my first name. sabih, as a name had always stirred a look or two; not to mention the million deviations it came with (sabah, chabi, sabiii to name a few), I always tried my level best to establish a proper pronunciation to make sure an exact replication of the real word. I failed, but I didn’t give up hope… and by the time I was makin more enemies than friends in college… people actually started getting a hang of spelling it right.. sabih with a “h”. but just as the saying goes, “all’s well that ends well” and it indeed didn’t. tonight at 2, all my efforts and feel good memories came crashing down because of a mere “I”. yes, my dear reader a mere “I” has changed what i stood for all my life, upside down… down and down.
because my grandpa had lovingly named me, sabih uddin ahmed… which stood for “the morning daylight of the religion of the most blessed”… I always took a sense of pride in being just and honest and all that for the longest time in my life. I believed my name had a purpose to itself, and reminded me of what I was expected to do every time, all the time. but the sweetness was short-lived. as the mind and its unquenchable thirst for knowledge spread its wings further, the brain started looking for verifications to check the real meaning of the name and oblige thereby. on one such random endeavours, i came across this book called “1000 baby names” in Wn’P and while carefully flipping through pages…there it was…my name in bold and italic…but wait! it wasn’t spelt sabih as I have come to know all my life or have used ever since. it was in fact “sabiih” which meant the “morning daylight”. surprised and bewildered, I return home to ask my encyclopedic dad to answer my query… to which he simply said… well son, an “I” wouldn’t make any difference. you and I both know what we meant when we named you “sabih”.content and quenched, i moved on.
But tonight is the night, that history will remember itself as the night even thick brained sabih made a discovery, and perhaps the most important discovery in my short-lived life. my name isn’t at all what it seemed. By virtue of the missing “I” and some crap arabic pronunciation funda, “sabih uddin ahmed” stood for “handsome of the religion of the most praised” (where sabih meant handsome) while it actually was meant as “sabiih uddin ahmed” or the daylight dude. perhaps its unfair to blame it on my parents who didn’t have access to such books and www or my grandpa who simply wanted his eldest grandson to be special – not through his looks but his character and class. strangely all I remember now is what the great Mahatma, Mr. Mohandas had said “an I for an I would make the whole world blind”. yet he could have never come to realize that without an “I”, daylight simply switched places with good looks.
such is the story of my name,
and here i am putting others up for blame!!!