Surnames are funny. And I like the mystery and confusion attached to them. I don’t know when it all originated, but as a child one day I started associating surnames to regions. “Sathe” has to be from Maharashtra, “Sharma” from North, either Delhi or UP, “Shah” from Gujarat. Yes, that’s how I recognized and compartmentalized people. To some extent it worked but the confusion and mystery (like a thriller story) begun when I asked someone with a surname “Pathak”, if he hailed from Maharashtra. He said, “Uh no, MP (Madhya Pradesh)”.
“What??!!!!”, Was my expression. Pieces of my brain shattered like a vase of glass and I could hear them scatter loud and clear. I could not breathe, my logic on which I survived to identify the human race was questioned, I was proved wrong.
Like a heartbroken lover, I asked myself “how on earth would I now recognize people” “how would i know their roots”, “how would i even start a conversation”, “God, is there even a logic that exists in this world apart from this?” Sigh!
I eventually got over my breakup with my Region-Surname logic. But like an unforgettable memory it still survived somewhere in a closed chest of my brain. And I realized this when I traveled to USA on a business trip. I met a few colleagues and not once, not twice but thrice when they introduced themselves, my reflex action was “Oh Cummins, so where are you from”. For a moment my dear western friends didn’t realize what I mean and so didn’t i. Though I corrected or rather explained myself later, I wonder how many such habits stick to us like a parasite and keep sucking our brains till we die. We might forget them but they stay there, hang in there and keep making fun of us when we stumble upon them, now and then.
Are you bound by such ever-existent habit too? Think about it, it might be lurking behind your head as you read this 🙂