Published In The Sac Bee Newspaper
The Power of a Name
Hello, my name is Akshaj Mehta. My name is a synonym for the creator of the universe for a Hindu mythological God “Lord Vishnu”. I don’t know much else about it. My name was picked by my parents even before I was born. My name kind of sounds similar to my 8 year old brother’s name Atiksh, it starts with A and has 6 letters and means “King of Wisdom” which I know right now he lacks. I can totally see his friends and classmates have hard time calling his name and mispronouncing most of the time, the same way it was for me.
There have been many days where I have felt that maybe it would have been easier to get along well with my peers, if I had a more common and simple name. My name is often used for something to poke fun of which has diminished friendships fast. Even with friends, it still is tough trying to get them to say my name and they often use nicknames. I have been hurt and offended on numerous occasions where students were calling insulting things and had my name misused.
Since I started upper elementary classes; I was having mixed feelings about my Name. It’s not just another ordinary simple name which is easy to say for either Adults or students. One example of an incident when I was in 5th grade, a new student joined the classroom and I wanted to be friends with him. As I could see, he looked anxious and nervous; he didn’t know anybody and his way around school. I didn’t want for him to struggle pronouncing my name or my name to get in the way of anything. So I introduced myself with a fake name to get things started. I did tell him my real name but told him to call me “Bob” to put things at ease for him. Now, when i look back, i feel how it was affecting me mentally. To this day, there are times, where I still contemplate about not correcting others when they are struggling to say my name.
Despite what I just said, I would still not want another name. It would be a letdown to my culture, people and especially my parents who wanted a powerful name which they thought will impact my character. I have had this conversation with my parents, where they shared their reasoning for choosing my name “Akshaj” and I was pleasantly surprised with their explanation. According to them, there is power behind the words and the labels that attach with us.
So, changing my name will be hiding away my true self for validation from others. Have seen many others do that, and I just don't feel right at all. I have started to strongly believe that our name is a pivotal factor in developing our sense of self and future. On the bright side of having a unique name is that no one else has the same name in my entire school (K-12)
To end this article, I would like to quote Stefan Zweig (was an Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer) “Names have a mysterious transforming power. Like a ring on a finger, a name may at first seem merely accidental, committing you to nothing; but before you realize its magical power, it's gotten under your skin, become part of you and your destiny”
Akshaj Mehta - writetolead.com
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