Tuesday, 8 September, 2009


I go by the name Aruna . I was Aruna Ananth and mainly everyone wrote me as Aruna Anand . Like a prophecy I married and did become Aruna Anand. Then we travelled abroad and realized no one knew who I was . Ok my husband is Viswanathan Anand . His name is Anand . Many thought I was Mrs. Viswanathan. This family name , given name thing is most confusing. Then I decided to call toll free numbers and order services on phone. Like my husband noted with a phone in hand I was like a grenade with a pin pulled off . The lady on the other side always insists on knowing my name so that in her words Address me personally . Ok I say I am Aruna , first surname Anand , second surname sorry we dont do that. She blinks.OGood morning Mrs. Ananda. Makes me feel like I am a yogi with a free spirit or a Ibiza high flyer with flowy clouds and chill out music. No I am just a harassed woman wanting to cancel a highly dubious service plan . Then it gets better in the good old days we used to buy air tickets by phone. Always when it came to my husband´s family name I had to take a deep breath. Family name . I would say Viswanathan . The poor Foreign call center ladies would sometimes giggle and I have to count till ten not to explode . Or I would say let me Spell it out for you...and here it goes Valencia Inglateraa, Suiza , Washington, Albacete Navara Albacete Toledo Huesca Albacete Navara ! Try it sometime it does wonders for your lung capacity . Now at what speed do I do this . At a word per second the poor things eyes are zooming all over the map of spain , europe and the world. Even better are the letters we get. One spectacular credit card company sends us mail to Mr. Viswatintin . The other is Vismanat and it gets funnier. My dad once had the issue in chennai when he called a toll free number and he said he is from neelankarai . He got a parcel to Mr. Neelankar. We remember the Delhi news readers who would fumble Tamizhkudimagan and Nedunchezhyan . Nowadays I call myself Mrs. Vishy . Say my family has just one family name which we have not figured out too. Since many confuse Anand and Viswanathan perennially . My mom in law gets called Mrs Anand and vice versa .
Well most of you are thinking why cant I just be Aruna ? Why do I need a family name. Brace yourself for this . In some places I get introduced as Aruba . I was so polite and shocked not to insult my host I kept quiet. But my inner voice which is generally louder than my outer high pitched alter ego lept out Why am I called Aruba. And the posh lady replied didnt your parents conceive you in Aruba . You see like Brooklyn, Apple , New York here I come ... Aruba. Cant really imagine my mom though sitting coyly in Aruba , knowing her she will say when we have a beach in chennai why na you want to go to Aruba. Take a flight , pack .. food , climate... well maybe thats why I was born in Chennai .