Why would you name your kid ‘Saksham’?
Such names ruins the childhood
Leaving long-lasting scars.
But two folks never understood
One - Mr. What’s-in-a-name Shakespeare
And the other, was my father.
It wasn’t that bad initially,
When my days were spent concealing braces.
The world was still struggling
To pronounce my name
So it gave me a nickname instead:
‘ShameShame’ - followed by a giggle.
It didn’t mean anything
And yet felt like me.
Puberty brought pimples and
A new nickname.
I still remember the voice that yelled ‘Sexam’.
The entire class burst into laughter, so hard,
It echoes till today.
They kept chanting the word
As if to vindicate their new-found hormones.
The rest of my schooling life, I spent
Stripped of all dignity.
And I learnt a thing about embarrassment:
It doesn’t kill you, it just makes you wish,
That it does.
A hint of mustache under my nose
Brought a sense of perception.
There were other things to worry about
Than stupid nicknames,
Or so I thought.
The very first day in the university,
A professor had a nasty slip of the tongue.
And I became ‘SuckSome’
For the rest of the year.
Only this time, I didn’t feel anything.
Resilience or numbness – I can’t say
I started avoiding the college cafeteria
For the library.
Books embraced me warmly,
Every time the world ridiculed me.
Books explained to me
The meaning of my name.
“Saksham” meant capable, competent, efficient.
It soon became a voice in my head
And I eventually learned
To respond to it.
“Yes! Saksham”, I thought, “that’s me!”
My name become my war cry and my victory song,
My attitude and my arrogance,
My shell and my shine.
My name became me and I became my name.
At an interview for my first job
When I was asked for introduction
I heard myself respond,
“I am Saksham…
And that is also my name.”