That’s right Sukanya with a K as in Knife and Ramanujan without an m at the end like …hmm…Venezuela.
You might be wondering what the fuss is all about and you are right to do so. Do bear with me over the next few minutes.
My first name Sukanya is derived from that ancient language- Sanksrit- that influenced and gave birth to many other languages- some of which exist until this day. And therefore this is a name that has a fairly wide currency and can be passed off as a local name in parts of South and Southeast Asia. And also therefore this name is spelt correctly in most of these places- with one grand exception- in Tamil Nadu-the region of my own birth.
It is almost as if people are wearing blinkers and the moment they hear the name Sukanya begin to spell it in the most abhorrent Suganya (arrgh!) way. Over the years I have grown not to let this irritate me. After all Tamil only has one sound for “Ka/ Ga” and it is therefore quite natural for people to default to the more common “Ga” sound rather than the “Ka”. So if someone spelt my name wrongly without ever having seen it written down, I cannot blame them much. And yet even when people see my name spelt on a piece of paper or an ID card they will wilfully ignore it and spell my name in their own way. And its not just my first name that gets affected- the Ramanujan part of my name also gets morphed into a Ramanujam with annoying results.
However what annoys me even more is how inconsistent people can be in their lackadaisical way of spelling names. My driving license spells my name as Sukanya Ramanujam, but spells my father’s name correctly with a Ramanujan. Dudes!!!
You might wonder what the big fuss is about but my name is an integral part of my identity and random tampering with it by uninterested bureaucrats or bankers or salesman seems like a gross travesty to me.
Both components of my name are spelt in the correct way gramatically (with the K and N) and yet sometimes the mistaken version is the one that comes to people’s minds first because they happen to be more common. This is also how language evolves when sometimes the mistaken form of a word is used more commonly and over time becomes the only form known. Thereby I am doomed to remain Suganya Ramanujam in the minds of many at least here in Tamil Nadu. I will however keep on fighting!
And yes my first line was inspired by the Thomson and Thompson characters from Tintin where Thompson says his name is spelt with a P as in Philadelphia and Thomson without the P as in Venezuela.