Sunday, February 08, 2009

Whats in a name ?? Vincy Mariam Vs Vincy Joseph

These two names, though they both are mine and represent me, are part of two distinct and definitive phases of this personality identified by Vincy.

These two phases are continuous with one fading out slowly after a major event in my life giving way to the other shining in…

The first one, my maiden name is a name which tells me that its, oh.. so long back.. was I like that? oh yes that was a phase in my life where I was this na├»ve, innocent, naughty, brilliant, sensitive, beautiful (?) and of course Young and sometimes lazy, dumb and idiotic. Hey how did I forget the key word – Slim?

Much thinner than what I am today. There was a time when I was so thin, I ate chocolates continuously in a vain attempt to put on some more weight just before my wedding. How can I forget my cousin’s advice on wearing two underskirts on the wedding day to make myself look a little more fuller ??? I actually did that !

Vincy is a name that has been coined ( like in any other common Mallu Syrian Catholic family ) from the name of my parents Vincent and Rosy – I am sure you got it.. Vinc is from my dad and the y is from my mom.. or should I say the phonetic sound of si is from mom? Together it made up my name, and it is a very common name in Kerala in any household and it has always been one of the biggest giveaway on my linguistic and south Indian keralite origin when I introduce myself anywhere. Not that I have any issues about it, but if at all I had ever wanted my origins under wraps, I could never do it.

Interestingly, people always remembered my name in school and college, because though my official name in the baptismal certificate was Mariam Putherikkal Kannookadan ( there is a nice background behind this, which I heard from my father with wide eyed amazement, when I was in college), and my school and college records spelt my name as Vincy (Alias) Mariam K, where the first name was forcefully added on to my official name when I was in school, I always labeled my books, records, and other stationery as Vincy Vincent. That was quite rhyming right?

I always have hated that alias part within brackets in my name, as it makes my name sound like a Crook’s name ( generally crooks have the aliases, right? ) and most people in south India pronounce it as Elias, without knowing Elias has biblical connotations. Very Christian even in my Alias !

Mariam is the name of my paternal grandmother and  my parents had no choice, infact they did it so willingly, that they named me, after her. I have very little memories of her though – she was a softspoken, fair lady with a lot of love for my parents and all of us children, especially my father, as he was her youngest child. I remember how my mother used to instruct us to hug and kiss her as soon as we reach Aripalam ( my dads house used to be there). She had the Mekka mothirams ( big rings on her top portion of the earlobes) and the lower portion of the earlobes hung down a bit with that part of the flesh overextended. She didn’t have teeth, that’s how I remember her and she keeps those nice goodies for my brother and me in her vettila cheppu ( betel leaf box) and used to call us and give it to us very secretly. I remember her feet very distinctly, because I think my feet have taken over hers. She wears the white chatta , jerinja mundu ( to be pronounced by twisting your tongue and in a good nasal tone and I used to call it the tail) and the potha mundu ( something like a shawl always in light hues).

Putherikkal Kannookadan is my dads family name which is automatically passed to the children. All Christians were some generations back Hindus in India and our forefathers ( and ofcourse the mothers too) were the high class Hindus with a illa peru and a veettu peru. Illam is basically the name of the Tharavad ( I know it rings a bell somewhere .. there are restaurants in most cities with names like these) that you belong to. In my name the Putherikkal is the name of the illam and Kannookadan is the name of the veedu ( house). I have never used this elaborate and flamboyant name ever, except that it is has a prominent space in my baptism certificate and my name always used the shortest form of the house name for my initial, K. So my name had versions, as per my whims and fancies like Vincy K Vincent, Vincy ( alias) Mariam K, Vincy Vincent K.

Marriage always takes you by surprise, it presents to you various perspectives, at times puts the family of which you were a part of earlier, in a completely different light. You walk into a new family and are expected to make that family your own. My uncles’ advice before marriage comes to my mind now.. he said marriage for an Indian girl is like pulling out a plant from the soil where it has grown and planting it elsewhere where the territory, soil and surivival conditions are different. The plant initially might droop, but after a little while will get used to the current conditions and will grow up to be bigger one that bears flowers and fruits ( I never asked him what if that was an ornamental plant that never flowers or bears fruit)

The best thing I like about my post marriage name is the fact that it has no aliases. Just a simple name mine and my better half’s. No initials no threads attached.. oops no brackets attached, no full stops either. It gives the comfort of the support given to me by my hubby, making me stronger physically and emotionally. Acceptance of his love reciprocated through the inclusion of his name in my identity forever. Does he ever realize what an enormous thing it is to be part of someone’s identity?

Even as a person there are so many changes that one experiences, as in change in priorities especially when a child comes by, or sheer pressure of playing so many different roles all at a time, with that smile on your face, such as that of a wife, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, mother, sister-in-law, co-sister, aunt sometimes even that of a grandmother ( I am one already with Joe’s niece delivering a cute daughter and so to her I am a granny J).

Other than external repercussions ( no negativity intended here) there are quite a few changes that happens internally, you become a mature person, stronger, more confident, less sensitive, bolder and have realized that this name, Vincy Joseph is with me to stay for the rest of my life and represents a stronger me. The part of life which made me proud of the fact that I am a mother, part of gods creation and how beautiful it is to hold on to the tender feet and hands of a new born child. And how the worries that bog me down can just vanish like a thin mist when I see the little one’s smile or touch!!

On second thoughts, these phases that I mentioned above are like these ads that you see in paper, advertising about slimmer waistlines, chestlines, thigh lines and what not, after a particular slimming treatment that many people go these days, more as just a fad…with the treatment name such as VLCC Before and After, or the more historical and popular BC and AD just that in my case it can called as the BM and AM indicating the before Marriage and after marriage. The changes though are reverse in my case Slimmer before and fatter after ! but the changes that come by emotionally, can never be put down that easily !!

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