Hi! My name is Banu and i’ve been blogging here for nearly a year. Since my birth everybody calls me by this name; and a few more besides this one in particular. In fact this post i am writing is just about it!
There was a sort of an accidental event (my birth) or one could say “naming-me-league” kind of competition (after my birth) that had taken place during that time which turned into a hilarious incident to can be narrated today. Frankly, i always wanted to tell this to each friend of mine, but never really found a massive outlet until now.
I received a daily prompt by Michelle this week inviting an idea, asking to write a post about a story or an association attached to your first name or any kind of link that it may have with it. So, I grabbed this opportunity to do so. Becasue there always was a thought hovering over my mind regarding this epic. Finally, with this posting i’ll be crushing some ice within my heart by revealing my side of the story to all; hopefully melting the frustration along with it.
When I was born, everyone seemed elated- unaware to the new baby. All and sundry dropped by to the posh hospital in the suburbs, where celebrities lived to catch a glimpse of me. They were awestruck to look at a healthy baby with unusually long dark hair, sleeping comfortably inside a shining glass-case in great hospital care. Since this baby was a first born; there was unfathomable joy, or rather unreasonable one to say, that rang in the air. They all queued up during visiting hours to watch me to their delight. I suspect they had visited me during the hours when they could get a glimpse of their loving idols and star-screen icons; who happened to roam the streets during that very same time in their luxurious cars.
However, most ecstatic of all, I was told was my grandfather- maternal grandfather. He could barely conceal his happiness and immediately started to look for a name. In matter of days, he zeroed on the first letter consonant in the English language- B. I wished i could tell him, “Nanajaan (Dearest Grandfather) , but English is not my mother tongue!” But how could i speak then. And that’s what i call ‘Fate’. When you are born you can have freedom, but not to choose your own name. And, the name he chose was – Baitunisa, meaning ‘Lady of the House’ . Now, there’s still time for me to become a lady, and already i have being given a ladies title. Such an important task lies ahead of me, i thought to myself. But nothing could deter my handsome grandfather. So, he tread boldly to the office in order to register my name of his choice.
Now there is another story to my name. When my paternal grandfather (who is no more alive) came to know of this, he turned red in the face. He had been thinking all this time that he reserved exclusive rights to naming me than anybody else in this world. Well, if you ask me, i think only i should have the right to choose my name. But irony abounds!
He cast away the registration as a gimmick of some kind, and began to call me ‘Banu’ (meaning, belonging to the clan/family) – a name, he chose for me, his lovely grand-daughter. He wanted to say that I belonged to His family.
Good gracious, my maternal grandfather did not quiet understand what he really wanted to say to him!! This was slowly and truly turning into a feudal competition racing into a naming ceremony of a child.
My paternal grandfather’s persistent approach and perseverance finally won the approval of each one; and thus this name preceded my maternal grandfather’s choice, sadly turning all his efforts in vain. At that time, i didn’t realize that i had a fan following. Now, this became a household name for me. However, not for too long.
At two and half years of age, I went to a school of repute, where my father got documents ready for the admission process. While writing on the papers, his pen slipped a bit and there came a ‘h’ in my name – only God knows from where. ‘H’ for Hell and ‘H’ for heaven. “H for Hope”, I yelled. At the very next moment of this incident, i was bestowed with two names – one at school and other at home. Lady luck had stroked me with a pen in my father’s hand. Two, because of their difference in spellings delivered resoundingly different names with the letter ‘h’ to it and without it. I was puzzled and confused. I wanted an identity , not a fan following.
Frantically years later, unable to bear twin identities, i searched the dictionary to know truth. Then and there, I found out that there is no consonant sound for the letters ‘BH’ in the English language. Disaster struck, yet again.
Now What? I had to get rid of this nightmare. I began writing my own name with my self- lucky pen. Pronouncing it the right way; and doing it prominently so. I told everybody, ‘Banu is my name without the ‘h’. And I kept repeating it for years. But, somehow I couldn’t sleep one night.
I knew I was missing someone dearly.
Next day, I called my maternal grandfather, who is 90 yrs old now and told him that I loved the name he chose for me at my birth. And now that i am a lady, i am surely going to keep that name as well. He smiled in his voce and said it didn’t matter. But it did matter to me. Their love for me mattered even more. I do not wish to rename myself though.Therefore, I choose to keep both and today I write my name as – B Banu
Sorry Daddy, there goes less credit here for you in this story. Nevertheless, I owe all thanks to you alone, for letting the elders have a stake of share in their love for your daughter. And, also giving me a reason and an opportunity to travel back into time to know my identity and rediscover myself in my name.
To my father, I have to say, “Yes, I do know now that I ‘belong to your family’ and that I am still the ‘lady of your house’. I am Baitunisa Banu and that’s my name.