While my immediate response to that is “Why not Mi?” that question warrants an answer.
Here’s the thing, Mi. I’ve had many people point out that I had possibly misspelt “Me” as “Mi” There was a time when that would make me cry. But Time the healer has been at work, at least to the extent that I have a little more control over the waterworks and can coherently answer. The tears come later, conveniently in private. Oh, there are accidents when I get all choked up and find my ability to speak has disappeared, which in itself is a major event – remember how one of my friends once said that I would die if I was quiet for 5 minutes? Again, good ol’ friend Time has stepped in to do her bit (she has to be a woman, right?) and I’ve learned to seal it, zip it up and simply smile through it all. The fact that I generally have a smile-like expression helps. A lot.
So, back from the sidetracking and verbose blah blah – Why Mi? No one can accuse me of losing track of the conversation, I may meander, wander and look like I am a bit off the path happily chugging away along the wrong train of thought, often without a ticket, but I always come back. Abandoning is just not in my genetic makeup. Surprisingly so, eh? Ha, ha to that.
So, again, why Mi?
That answer is easy, unlike so many others in Life.
When I was little, I addressed you as Devi. Simply because everyone else at home did. After all, you were the youngest in the house, not counting me. Then, one of our visiting relatives advised me to call you “amma” For some reason, I did not do that. Very soon after, we had another visitor who suggested “Mummy” This moment must have been perfect – and I instantly started calling you Mummy.
Mummy, mummy, ummy, mmmmy, Mi.
See the progression? So Mi it became and Mi it stayed.
Rather like T calling me Dya. I mean – one might assume, quite correctly that “Vidya”, a two-syllable name would be easy enough. Yet, T had to sprinkle her own magic onto it and turn it into Dya. For variation, she says “Dee”
And while we’re on the topic of names, I love how you chose mine, Mi! I’d like you to know that never once did I wish for another name. I am not saying I did not contemplate alternatives, but none stacked up to what you gave me.
That it was Saraswati Puja – festival of the Goddess of Knowledge the day I was born, that inspired my name – Vidya Saraswati – is known. But I am privy to your secret reason for naming me thus. You had watched a film you truly enjoyed – called “Dr Vidya” and that’s what made you keen on the name. Good old serendipity stepped in to make it happen by ushering me into the world on Saraswati Puja day, which meant everyone agreed on the decision, especially your inlaws. Ugh. Perhaps the only regret you had is that my name would be at the bottom on the list, alphabetically, in the attendance register wherever I went. Which wasnt’ a big deal at all for me as I got to spend time with my friends while I waited.
However, later in school, they found Vidya Saraswati quite a stressful mouthful along with my surname, and gave me the choice to knock off the fluff. So I just kept Vidya. I still remember the day I came home – 8th grade – and told you I retained Vidya Subramanian, Mi! The SSLC board later managed to misspell that! Nothing compared to Subrabanian on my driving license though! Which conveniently just got lost. Hahaha. At least I did not have to practice a new signature when I got married, thanks to my second name beginning with an S.
Then there was the regional intonation of this seemingly simple name – Bidya from the North east, Vijja from the Southwest, Veedya from yet others, and of cource, the universal Vidz that just seemed to roll off easily with friends.
What’s in a name?
So much laughter.
In my case, some tears, too. Because I’ll only hear you calling my name in that special way in my dreams, in my heart, in my imagination.