March 28, 2011

What's in a name? Lots in a name!!

On 12th September 1986, at some time of the day, a baby girl was born to Mrs. Vijaya Ramachandran and Mr. A.K.Ramachandran. Their elder daughter, Lakshmi Ramachandran, was thrilled to see her younger sister. They named the little girl Vidya Ramachandran- a nice, decent, non-weird name, and she was lovingly called Ammu at home.

A nice, small family. Their only bother was that Vidya suffered from chronic asthma, and 29-and-a-half days out of the month, she was in the hospital. When she turned four, they put her in nursery. Her green colour identity card read ‘Vidya Ramachandran’ very proudly.

After kindergarten, it was time to enroll her in school. But she didn’t have a birth certificate yet. So Mr. Ramachandran went, all by himself, to get it done. He got it done, and waved the birth certificate proudly in front of his wife’s face once he was back. She also excitedly took it, and then froze a second later.

“What’s this??!!”

“Her birth certificate."

“But..but…!!! Her name!!”

The birth certificate now declared their daughter as Divya Nambiar.

“Oh ya, I changed it.” Just like that, cool as a cucumber.

“You changed our daughter’s name??!! How??!! And most importantly, why?!”

“Well, if it’s Vidya, her name will be towards the end in the alphabetical order. She’ll be picked last in everything. I didn’t want that. And the surname, well, we are Nambiar’s anyway, so I thought I’ll add that.”

And that’s how, Divya Nambiar became the only non-Ramachandran in the Ramachandran household.

And that’s also why, when asked her father’s name during her Kendriya Vidyalaya interview, Divya blanked out and said “I don’t know”.

What followed was years of solving the question mark that formed on people’s faces when they realized that she and her sister didn’t share the same surname, millions of “Yes, we are sisters. Real sisters!”, patiently retelling the ‘A.K.Ramachandran and his daughter’s birth certificate’ story a thousand times, reassuring everyone that “No, I’m not adopted. It was just a momentary lapse of reason on my dad’s part”, a failed attempt to change her surname to Ramachandran, only to be told by teachers that after so many years, who really cares (Sigh…)

So here it is, up for posterity.

Yes I’m her sister, dammit!!! BLOOD SISTER!!!


  1. Thats a superb post. Im sorry for the late comment.. I had a similar identity crisis when i was asked about my religion when i was filling out my board exam application forms and i didnt have the answer to that.. i was the butt of all jokes for a month after that. i remember sulking so much that my mom had to ultimately come meet the principal and explain that mom and dad were of different religious beliefs and that was the reason for my dilemma!!!
    @ Divya. i read all your posts and i must say that u have really matured so much as a writer over the past 3 years.. and kudos to u that u have been able to keep up the good work ... i am sure u will realize your dream very soon..

  2. Looking forward to another masterpiece from you like the previous ones :)

  3. excellent post :) I have a similar story where all legal documents have 'an' at the end of father's name and all academic documents don't have it :(


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