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What's in a Name or Fame?

A language trainer & a passionate learner, eager to learn from everyone around. "Language is a form of river that doesn't have any boundary"


Who are We?

Such an absurd question to ask who I am or who we are, isn't it? I was in high school when one of our teachers asked in our classroom the same question. All of us tried to give the answer to it but the teacher disapproved all our answers.

Not the name, not the body, not the relations, not the qualities, not the achievements, nothing could signify our true identity. The teacher said that this body is just the attire of our soul which is used throughout the life and when it is old and ragged, the soul leaves it. As our body needs clothes and we keep on changing the clothes when it becomes dirty, ragged or old, similarly, our soul has this body as its cloth. On different stages of life this special cloth keeps on changing as per the requirement of the stage and when it reaches its peak point (young age) it starts wearing out. And when its completely worn out, the soul leaves it.

At that time all these words of the teacher didn't make any sense to us. We couldn't understand his words. It was the explanation of a shloka of Bhagwatgeeta from the second chapter

वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि।
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णा न्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही।।2.22।।

Wasansi Jirnani Yatha Vihaya Navani Grihati Naroparani

Tatha Sharirani Vihaya Jirna nyanyani Sanyati navani Dehi.

Explanation: As a man wears new clothes leaving his old worn out clothes, similarly the soul gets a new body after it leaves the old body. It proves that the soul is never attached to a body as a body is not attached to the same cloth.

When I grew up, these words kept on haunting me for a long time. Who am I? What am I doing here? What is the purpose of my life?

I could see myself as a small dot on this huge earth. I couldn't find any meaning to my life. At times I felt as if I was no less than insect which will live its days and die. I was so low in confidence that I considered myself inferior to everyone I met or was related with. I was a failure and I kept on cursing myself for all my failures. For being a girl, for not coming first in any of the exams, for not coming first in the sports, for not being as intelligent or smart as others, for not getting into the medical college, for getting cheated, for not getting as good jobs as many of my class mates, for not being a good daughter, wife, friend, or mother, I just kept on cursing myself for everything.

But all these regrets and curses faded as I found that every successful man has a series of failures in the past. I read a lot of case histories of the popular personalities in every field and found that they all had started from scratch. No one was born great, whether it be Bill Gates, Steve Jobs. Barack Obama, Einstein, Abdul kalam, Dhirubhai Ambani, Amitabh bachhan or anyone else. They all had their gloomy past. Then, I tried to get the meaning of my own name "Anupam" which means extraordinary, unique, which cannot be compared to anyone. And then I linked the series of incidents of my life with my name. There began the search of my own identity.


Story of Anupam Kher

Till my first grade, I didn't know that I was a girl. My grandmother always treated me like her grandson. I used to get shirt pants to wear, unlike the girls who wore frocks. It was the first day of my first grade in school. When I boarded the bus the seniors asked me my name and when I told them they started to tease me with my name shouting, "Anupam Kher! Anupam Kher! Anupam Kher!" I cried but that didn't stop them. Anupam Kher was popular as a negative character in Bollywood movies. I hated him a lot. Even in the class, my classmates teased me for my name.

When I reached home, I cried bitterly in front of my grandmother and my father. I remember that smile of my father. He said, "So what! If the children are telling you Anupam Kher, how is that going to affect you? You don't listen to them."

But my next words made my father visit the school, "They say that I am a girl and Anupam isn't the name of a girl. Am I a girl and not a boy?"

He was thoughtful for a moment and then said, "You will always be my son. Who said that you are a girl? Let's meet your principal tomorrow."

But that was the very day I realised that I was really a girl but not a boy. Next day my father visited my school and complained against those children who were bullying me. Two of them got punishment in front of me. That day onwards no one teased me with the name at least in front of me.

After I returned home, I pleaded my parents to change my name as Anupam was masculine. My father laughed wholeheartedly and said, "Beta, that's not masculine but common. What do you call the moon? Chanda Mama, don't you? But the same moon is addressed as female power in greek mythology. We address our land as motherland but there are many countries which refer their land as the fatherland. It's just our belief and perception. Anupam means unique and either a male or a female can be unique. What does the name have to do with gender? You have such a beautiful name, just prove your name real for your identity."

That was the very day I got the purpose of my life. I believed that I was unique but I just needed to refine my identity. For a long time, doubts and suspicion on my identity fogged around my consciousness but somehow it became clear and I did believe that I too was unique.

Anupam Kher


Famous Names In Literature

Shakespeare said, "What's in a name!"

And with that, he built a fair fame

Every literature lover knows his name,

Considering him as the synonym of fame.

Chaucer got his name from Canterbury Tales,

Famous as the father of English Literature;

Poetic fables of The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Whose personal life was filled with misfortunes

Give the essence of life of every man and woman,

Bestowing Gibran with eternal literary fame.

Whether it's Wordsworth's divine Daffodils

Or Blake's Song of innocence and experience,

Tagore's stories or his masterpiece Gitanjali,

Spenser, Milton, Donne, Poe, Coleridge, Shelly,

Eliot, Byron, Tennyson, Browning, Dylan, Kipling,

Keats, Yeats, Frost , Christina, Sylvia or Emily

They all had embossed their names literally

With their eulogized words extraordinarily.

Every Name is Capable of Getting Fame

There might be many established names

The panegyrized ones with glorious grace,

Each one has a story of struggle and disgrace,

Which flourishes with power and confidence.

No one has stayed or ruled here forever

After one has passed, arrived the other

And the same mystery has been carried over,

One flower withers and then comes the other

This world is nothing but a time traveller,

Which keeps on moving whatever be the weather.

Every individual has some peculiar power

One needs to utilize that to be the better.

Every-Name is Capable of Getting Fame

One needs to be focussed on its aim,

Nourish eagerly its will-power's flame,

And get rid of all excuses or blame game.

© 2020 Anupam Mitu


Anupam Mitu (author) from MUMBAI on September 30, 2020:

Thank you so much dear sowspeaks.

Lots of love and blessings.

sowspeaks from Bengaluru on September 30, 2020:

Hi Anupam, enjoyed your poems a lot and the references to your childhood. I particularly liked what your dad said to young you. A name is both an identity and a responsibility. Take care .

Anupam Mitu (author) from MUMBAI on September 30, 2020:

Hahaha Flourish! You got the point

I've already talked about gender discrimination earlier. Yes, I wanted to highlight that part but then left it. According to most of the people their sons are the true heir of their genes and their property so they wish to have that instead of a daughter.

Though we have come a lot ahead, women are participating in lot many activities today which they were not allowed to do a few decades back, still there are so many places where being feminine becomes a hindrance.

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 30, 2020:

I have a couple of relatives with names that could belong to either gender and they dislike the names because of that. I found it curious that your grandmother treated you basically as a boy in your young childhood. The issue is probably more about her than you.

Anupam Mitu (author) from MUMBAI on September 30, 2020:

I agree with you Kalpana. As a teacher and mother, I try my best to teach good values to the children.

Lots of love and blessings

Kalpana Iyer from India on September 30, 2020:

Beautifully narrated. I enjoyed this glimpse into your past Anupam. Society will always find something in you to poke fun of. If it is not your name, then something else. This is something small kids too need to be taught - that they are fine just the way they are. I recently saw a video of a young black girl crying "I am ugly" to her mom. Maybe some girls at her school teased her? But then her mother reassured her she is beautiful and has the most brilliant smile. It was sad and beautiful to watch at the same time.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on September 30, 2020:

At the moment we have to comment quickly before an article is moved to a niche site. Then it is too late. So glad you have a little more time now.

Anupam Mitu (author) from MUMBAI on September 30, 2020:

Lots and lots of love dear John for such a quick response.

Actually, all these articles were on draft for a long time. Today I finished them and published.

I'm glad that you loved it.

Reading and writing is also a kind of addiction.

Nowadays, I'm a little free because school exams are going on. So utilising these golden moments in doing what I love the most.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on September 30, 2020:

What a wonderful article, Anupam. What is in a name? I ask. The Johnny Cash song "A Boy Named Sue" comes to mind, where the son hated his father for giving him a girls name, but he did so, so he would grow up tough and be able to look after himself. You did a great job with this.

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