Monday, October 16, 2006


Dipta reveals the secrets of nicknames of some of the Jalebi batch !!

Excerpt from Calcutta Chromosome

Basically, there are three broad reasons behind the naming –
(a) Mutilation of name / surname
(b) Schoolboy cruelty towards physical attribute
(c) Tangential rendition of behavioural trait

All Bengalis and South Indians go through a shortening – but they are generally in the realm of logic. Shivaramakrishnan, Venkataraman and Tridibendranarayan get shortened to Shiva, Venky and 3D respectively. However, in a few recent cases, the Venkataraman got shortened to Chicken as well. (Venky’s Chicken – for those who are taking some time to charge their batteries!).

Some of my mates were not too thrilled with Dipta – and inexplicably enough, started calling me Deepa. But thankfully, the basic letters remained common.

As for surnames, lots of Chowdhurys have to live as Chow. All the Zachariahs of the world are rechristened Zac the moment they leave home. A Velankar has to make do with Velu. And Talapatra has to manage with Talu. (One Ms Talapatra I know was called Talumein because of the proximity of a Chinese joint near our college at that time. She never had a special liking for the soup!)
Sometimes, surnames are not changed. They are simply invented. It was once felt at a drinking session that our very handsome friend – Mr Vineet Singh – had too short a name to be impressive enough. So, we appended a Solanki to it. Why? Well, Vineet Singh Solanki does have a regal air about it. We affectionately called him Solu, though. (On a connected note, the 6’ tall Vineet’s family hailed from Bihar. So, we occasionally referred to him as A Tall Bihari!)

Topper: He was the archetypal intelligent, idealistic Bengali – and modest to a fault. He dug his own grave by topping the toughest course in B-school (which was a Quantitative Techniques course, taught by another intelligent, idealistic Bengali). And he became Topper. In fact, now some friends call him Topu. Talk about nickname of a nickname!

Chacha: My roommate from B-school. His full name was Gaurav Narasimhan, the latter of which was shortened to Nara and then anglicized to Narrow. The Narrow meandered between the correct pronunciation and Narroo – and one fine morning, he became Chacha Narrow (Narroo – Nehru, get the connection?). And eventually, only the Chacha was left! Of course, he was old beyond his years and that helped the name to stick!

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