Monday, July 18, 2011

The Last Name

One of the greatest gifts parents can give their kids is to give them a simple, short, readable, and easily-pronounceable First name and Last name. Keeping a name as long as the Yellow Stripped Anaconda in the Amazon jungles - will only help in crashing some computer somewhere someday. So, unless it is your mission to crash computers, PLEASE give a short name, preferably less than 15 characters. 

And no, it is NOT okay to concatenate the favorite names suggested by all the 28 Uncles and Aunties who come to visit the baby in the hospital. 

And, your kid's name is definitely not the place to showcase your vast family tree structure, that includes the great Grandfather who once killed a tiger with one hand and sat on its head for 2 hours till it died.

Just spare the little kid. Give him/her a short name. 

And please don't embark on the noble mission of finding a unique name, never ever heard in the history of mankind. And believe me, there are better ways for your child to become famous than by this unique identifier.

One out of every 5 Tamilian has a problem with his Last Name - either in passport or US Visa or ration card or whatever. Tamilians, in particular, have still not figured out what exactly is a Last Name. A vast majority (like me) have their father's full name (oh yes, the whole full name of father) printed as Last Name. So, when people ask me my Last Name, I have to start reading an essay, instead of saying one word. And if this happens in the US, the other guy looks at you as if you are one crazy nut, and asks again, "Sorry, what was that?" - and you go gasping for breath again.

Show me a Tamilian who can prove that his Last Name matches in all records, and I will agree to make Manmohan Singh speak (difficult challenge... but still.. hmmm). Even if the Last Name matches, just ask, "Is this your Last Name?" - and boom - here he goes scratching his head, "Ahh... no... actually... my grandpa's last name was my father's middle name and my..."! (It is in your best interest not to hear the rest).

Now, don't get me started on "Middle Name". Enough.

[P.S: For those of you who already Googled for Yellow Stripped Anaconda, ok... you are right, there is none]

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