“What is your name?” The most dreaded question that increases my bowel movements every single time.. There’s a huge battle between me and my name since childhood.. Thanks to my dad for portraying his sense of humour through my name..
So let’s start..My name is Bibiana, a Latin name which means life.. There is a Christian saint with this name.. Some people find my name funny, some find it bizarre and less than 1% of the people have said it’s nice (must be people trained to say nice-name as a reflex)..
I’m very sure that I was the person with the greatest number of nick names in my class.. Everything that ends with ana or yanai becomes my nickname.. And their English translations too.. Imagine how my school days would have been😢
Yanai(elephant) is a character frequently used by Tamil poets and all of the story writers.. Indeed, there’s this word in every page of our Tamil text book.. My bowel starts moving when the teacher starts with the first line and it increases in intensity until this word is reached.. The whole class, sometimes including the teacher, bursts in laughter..
In my high school, no one was spared from nicknames.. Some beautiful names like Bigshow, kothumbu, chori, nippo gold, just to name a few.. But none was hurt or bullied.. We had a lot of fun.. In fact these sort of things helped us in getting desensitized and to grow stronger..
You know what, I came to know about my name as Bibiana only when I enrolled in LKG.. My mom and other close relatives who found difficulty in pronouncing my name, used to call me with another name, Sherina… Still I’m known by this name among my relatives and neighbours.. When I got enrolled in Pre-KG, this group of people gave a shorter and better version of my name, Bibia (my granny played a major role in this).. Somehow Bibiana came out of box in LKG..
Since then I’ve been having this why-this-name-dad? fight with my dad every single day.. He used to convince me with words like “moley, it’s a lucky name, you will see”, “It’s an international name, I’ve seen”, “there are ships with this name”.. But he never said there’s a saint with this name..
My name is pronounced in every way possible.. My physics miss used to call me Bibaina and my chemistry tuition sir used to call me Bibina(a better version of course).. This version is still in practice by my higher official.. My school bus aunty used the name Divyana, for which I used to respond.. Once I went for an inter-school competition where I was called out as Bibinaya (as the previous girl’s name was Abinaya).. Most of my friends call me Bibi (good and easy)..
There’s an epic incident which I should mention of.. I got my Confirmation (a holy sacrament in Christianity) when I was in 8th std.. Some 200 people took part and we had prayer classes for about a week.. Our names were written in a particular order.. On the day of confirmation, Reverent father started calling out our names from the altar.. Fearing about how he would pronounce my name, I started palpitating and sweating… When it was my name’s turn, he paused for a moment and read out loud, “Philomena”, a whole new name.. Thank God, nobody recognised it as my name.. Father, God bless you abundantly🙏
Despite all these factors, my father came up with yet another funny name, Silvester Stalon, when my little brother was born.. Yeah, named after the same Sylvester Stallone whom you think of.. Paavam paiyan enna paadu patrupano!!!
When I was in search of names for my son, I looked for names for which nicknames are not even remotely possible.. I got exhausted and realised that there is no such name..
I’m happy about the fact that our grandparents’ names are back to use now.. Those are stylish beautiful Christian names with an amma or appa or pillai added.. Claramma, Seraphinamma, Alice’amma, Antony pillai, Bastian pillai and more… When I was a kid I had the belief that they add this amma or appa only after they become grandparents.. Later my mom clarified that those are their names since birth.. How strange!!
Obligatory moral: Be happy with the name you possess.. If possible, add more beauty to your name by your good deeds👍