We Indians have weird nicknames. Monikers that have nothing to do with our official name. My nickname is Sunil. My family and close friends still know me by that word. Apparently, it was my first name too as my dad was a huge Gavaskar fan. So i’ve got two names that are remarkably independent. Shakti and Sunil are as similar to each other as Putin and Trudeau in global politics. There’s another category of nicknames in our subcontinent (yes, this tradition-turned-trend isn’t restricted to India alone): nicknames that sound like nicknames but have nothing to do with the original name. Like a girl named Pooja is known as Munni in her family while a boy named Sameer is more popular as Guddu in his neighbourhood. This is still alright. The third category of nicknames is purely accidental and they usually occur because of me. I am bad with names but it gets worse at times. So, there’s a colleague named Neeraj in our office but i’ve been calling him Nikhil for about two years now. (Unlike a colleague from previous office named Gaurav who told me his name wasn't Gautam!) He never bothered to correct me even once until recently. In fact, whenever i called out Nikhil, he responded. It’s like he accepted either of the following conditions or maybe both:
- According to me, Nikhil suits him better.
- He agrees with my opinion since we are living in a very opinionated world.
The hilarious bit about this confusion would happen when somebody asks him whether he has a nickname and he goes “Oh yes, somebody calls me Nikhil too!”