Shakespeare wrote the famous line: “What’s in a name?” The whole world applauds. Cut to: I am born and lovingly given a cute name “Aali.” And there I enter a labyrinth of questions at every nook and corner of my life… So today I ask you World “If nothing is in a name, then what is the fun in spoiling a name?” Today I am going to pen down couple of incidences that have happened with reference to my name so many times, in so many places, with so many different people that I now literally every time feel nothing but déjà vu:
What is your real name? “Wow such a cute nickname, but what is your real name?” My real name is Mogambo. Now can you please get over with Mogambo Pant? We will discuss whether my surname is pant or shirt later.
How do you spell it? So don’t get surprised and look me with uncertainty if you ask me my name and I say Aali and then spell it too. Ever since Alia Bhatt rose to fame, I have often been asked is your name after Alia? I might have tried saying yes, but then who will get the birth certificate changed too.
Are you a Hindu or a Muslim? From the number of times I have been asked my religion, I truly feel I am the true modern face of secular India now. Or maybe for some people pseudo-secular too.
Which language is it in? OK. Let me make it clear, my name is not after the Marathi/Pahadi term “Aali” means “to have arrived”!!! Like why should someone think I am some saviour or destructor of the world to have been named as “she has arrived”?? It is a Hindi word from the Hindustani classical raga Yaman, and it means “friend.” So the next time I am asked this question again, I might consider heading to the Association for Advocacy & legal Initiatives (AALI) to learn is there any solution to this redundant question and my inquisitive people?
How do you pronounce it? I know people who can pronounce words like floccinaucinihilipilification without missing a breath. But I also know people who can pronounce a four-letter word with double-A, like Ali, Alia, Alibaba (this happened with me in Germany), Aalu (that’s a different thing that I like being called Aalu). The most astonishing incident of wrong/doubtful pronunciation of this cute little name happened at the hands of an RJ. She pronounced it “Aaaaaaaaaaliiii Pant if this is your real name”, live on-air. I have it recorded in my phone.
But jokes apart, I like that my name itself becomes a great ice-breaker to start a conversation with new people. Asha Mausi thanks for naming me so differently, at times when the trend of complicated and unheard names was not even close.