Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What's in a name??

"What's in a name? " Shakespeare said, yet he put his name under that quote.

Well I also feel the same but there have been myriad incidences where people look extremely confused and at times ridiculous when they call out my name. Ok I know you might be baffled and not knowing where I am leading to. Well lets start from the beginning.

My name is

  1. Harshad
  2. Harshad Desai
  3. Harshad Suresh Desai
  4. Harshad S Desai
  5. H S Desai
  6. Desai Harshad Suresh
  7. Desai Harshad S
  8. Desai H S

This is not a multiple choice question. It is actually the different ways in which I am called or referred to.

My school (St. Andrews' High School) registered me in the format Desai Harshad Suresh and that’s the way schools (under State Board) in Maharashtra register all the students (no idea how some one without a surname manage). So till 10th standard all my mark-sheets had my name in the same format and so was the format followed in the SSC Mark Sheet. This format continued without any problems till I passed out 12th from Modern College.

Now even during IIT JEE and AIEEE, the admit cards had my name written in proper format. The real problem started after I took admission in NITC. Here I met people from all over India and the format which seemed so ubiquitous in Pune totally disappeared in Calicut. Only my friends from Maharashtra and some from State Boards were compatible with this (Surname first) format. But my other friends and more importantly teachers were confused with this format and couldn't make out what my real name was. Some called Desai (with horrible pronunciations), others called Harshad Suresh, a few even called Suresh (that's my Dad's name by the way). I had to clarify that my name was Harshad and call me just that. Well some teachers adapted and there were others who were confused for the entire semester.

It continued for 5 semesters without much problems (if I may say). But then came the biggest problem when I had to apply for passport.

Now if you have seen the passport application form it clearly has different boxes for surname and your first name (given name... that’s what they call). I filled the form with great care and the surname row had DESAI while the given name had HARSHAD. Father's name was included in another row so I thought there shouldn't be any confusions here. Feeling confident I went to the Passport Office waited there for half an hour or so till I was called in with forms and documents. So I reached the counter a bit nervous but much more satisfied.

I gave the lady at the counter my form and the other documents. She was going through all of those and I was happily waiting to get the acknowledgement. But then from nowhere she springs up this question "What is your name?" and all the previous efforts of making people understand this format came rushing. I tried to explain her and then she replied your given name (in all my mark sheets) is Desai Harshad Suresh and that is what you should write. All my attempts of convincing the people in charge were in vain and finally I had to make that change in my form. After a couple of months I got my Passport but then there was a problem!!!

The surname column in my passport is left empty and the given name shows Desai Harshad Suresh. I have no idea how many more problems will this create. I feel irritated and angry at times when people cannot understand or rather do not want to understand such everyday nuances. Now because of this misunderstanding I may face problems when I apply for a visa. Changing the name in your passport costs 1000 bucks. But more precious than those 1000 bucks is the time I will have to spend on rectifying this issue. People are requested to suggest me how should I approach this issue.

By the way I prefer being called as Harshad Desai than the other formats discussed above.

And the surname first format is the international format and is followed almost everywhere except some places in India (Calicut Passport Office to be particular).

I just want to say "What's in a format of the name?" rather than "What's in a Name?"

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The entrepreneurial zeal

Today in the morning when I was in Shri Harimandir I was pondering over two eternal questions
1. Who am I? 2. What is my destiny?
Well finding answer to these questions is what I call life. Hopefully I will answer these questions ( in due course of my life.
I might have succeeded in finding a partial answer to the second question. But this post is not about my is about the local entrepreneur. I think Pune should be one of the best places for entrepreneurs, thats why I have read (although in local newspaper) about them.
I have been reading about entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs ever since I joined NITC. My motivation for entrepreneurship was the book by Robert Kiyosaki-- Rich Dad, Poor Dad and what an excellent guide it is for everyone. After that I have read news articles, books, magazines, blogs on entrepreneurs more than some of my college text books :)
But today I could actually meet an entrepreneur in person. Talk to him and learn how his life had been. He is Mr. Ramdas Mane the CMD of Mane Group of Companies. I actually visited the company for doing some project during my summer holidays. The company is more in to mechanical than electrical and so I won't be able to do any project work there. Anyways the visit to the company was worth a thousand textbooks. He was extremely friendly and his advice will certainly help me. It was good to know that their company have a record in the Limca Book of Records and they also own patents. The person's life told me one thing no entrepreneur has a rosy life. He has to make it rosy through his hardwork, determination and courage. Mr. Mane was very kind in talking to me even when he was busy with his work. I am extremely delighted to meet such a person and interact with him.
I'll have to end this post of my school friends, Sadanand is online and we are planning for a get together..very excited :)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Blogging 4m Flock

A new experience...... blogging from flock and its awesome
Flock was like love at first site. They call it the social browser and it is exactly that. There are so many things embedded in it and it makes social networking all the more easy!!! You can find it here
Meanwhile I am going through sites of few universities and with the help from edulix I think I am doing a good job.
Wanted to write about a few i's, but flock took its place.
 Anyways I 'll just mention about the "few i's "
I-- Individualism... thats pretty much what the current century and/or generation is. Thats why u have igoogle and myyahoo like things
I-- Internationalization or (I18n) ... I feel its similar to globalization i where everyone is going global. The other day I read an article in Pune Times about people going abroad for shopping. Thats going global
I-- Indianization ...may not be a word recognized by any of the dictionaries  :) , but it means people are accepting India and outsiders are coming here for reasons other than exploring its culture  (ie travel and tourism). You can also say this I may be Indian Premier League...:-)
and people are requested to append their i's to this list....

Blogged with Flock

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Out of Calicut

This would be my one of the few early morning blogs. Well actually the first one.
Its good to be back in Pune, enjoying the heat!!!!
This semester seemed longer than all the others and was eventful for me atleast. Our mini project evaluation was on Monday and was upto the mark.
I am short of words right now. Have so much to write that I can't figure it out from where to start. I'll definitely bring out each and every thought but it will require some time.
I've been doing lots of publicity about my blog these days. New visitors please make it a point to comment so that I understand someone is their to read except of course my dear friend Gopalakrishnan.