Nicknames – they are funny little things. They can originate from anything. Sometimes, they truly reflect the creativity of the people.
The girl with brown hair comes to be known as ‘Bhoorie’ (‘Brownie’ in Gujarati). I have come across people popularly known as ‘Karuppi’ (‘Blackie’ in Tamil) and ‘Sepi’ (‘Whitey’ in Tamil), based on their appearance. I have also come across weird nicknames like ‘Kothavarangai’ (a green vegetable similar to a French Bean – in Tamil) for a very thin lady and ‘Chaddidhari’ for a person who loves wearing shorts.
A person can also be nicknamed on the basis of his attitude or behaviour. Like, a person I know is called ‘Liti’ (‘Line’ in Gujarati) by his colleagues because he maintains the office register and loves the task of putting a long line beside the names of those on leave. A person who asks too many questions is called ‘Hansa’ (of the ‘Khichdi’ fame).
Sometimes, original names are just shortened to make a nickname. Like ‘Kamlesh’ at my previous job was popular as ‘Kamla’ and ‘Khushali’ as ‘Khushi’. And, how can I forget, ‘Murgi’ for ‘Murugesh’. (Murgi, for God’s sake?). Sometimes, if the names are very long, people find a shorter nickname easier to use. Like ‘Mani’ for ‘Subramanian’ or, worse, ‘Chuppani’.
Then there are those foriegn-returned guys who adopt trendy names. ‘Jai Kumar’ becomes ‘J.K.’ and ‘Madhavan’ becomes ‘Maddy’. Some people become known by their last names, like one of my cousins, who is known as ‘Iyer’ by all and sundry.
I am reminded of my high school days when we had named three of our teachers on the basis of the instrument of communication that they carried. Saurin Sir was popular as ‘Saurin Cellular’, Manan Sir as ‘Mannu Mobile’ and Raju Sir as ‘Pappu Pager’.
Funny, the way these nicknames seem to stick on for life. ‘Chinnan’ (‘Little Boy’ in Tamil) remains ‘Chinnan’ even after he turns 60. ‘Podhi’ (‘Fatso’ in Tamil), who was chubby in her childhood years, remains ‘Podhi’ even after she becomes model-slim and becomes the mother fo a kid.
Fortunately or unfortunately, I don’t have a nickname. At least, none that I know of. But I would sure love to have an interesting one………