Names : funny names , weird names, down right ridiculous names. All sorts keep coming to a doctor’s opd.
So there I was with a file in my hand and the name ‘QUIXOR’ written on it. I dared not pronounce the name so I asked the patient ‘nau kay?’ (what’s your name in konkani) .He answered back ‘Kishor’. Huh??!!
It turns out that that is how the people of portugese descent spell their name. with an exotic twist and a dash of mystique, to make even the most hackneyed of names seem like a character from the Arabian Nights.
Recently another case paper had the name ‘YAZHINI’, I started calling out the name ‘Yaazzz…. Hmmm’ , then held myself in check and asked ‘per enn?’ (what’s your name in tamil?). she answered back “yalini”. The letter zh is actually supposedly a tamil L which sounds very much like the Marathi ‘figure of eight L’ ; the tongue rolling L which ‘aamchi Marathi‘ people hold so dear to their hearts it seems has a country cousin in Tamil which has it’s very own English translation too.
Yaazhini, the parents of the girl explained is a stringed musical instrument in Tamil.
Goa, is notorious for such exotic spellings of seemingly benign phonetics. There is a street called ‘Xambhaji road’ or ‘Xamrao road’ , which translates to the colloquial shambhaji and shamrao. I still remember the day I first visited my friend at her home in ‘Quepem’ (pronounced kepe ) to a dinner of authentic Goan chicken ‘Xacuti’. Gosh I felt like the anchors in travel guide shows as I road pillion on her scooty down the narrow lanes of ‘quepem’. In a land which starts with Q to eat a dish which starts with X ! the ‘Xacuti’ it turned out was a delicious but nevertheless simplistic dish of coconut based gravy, which was pronounced ‘shakuti’.
It reminds me of the time we used to play ‘name place animal thing’ where we had to write words beginning with a particular letter. I remember my brother and I making up names of places and people and quite militantly proclaiming ‘ yes it is a name/ place in Russia/Slovakia’ all sorts of tongue twisters and hotchpotch jumble of alphabets were promptly converted to members of the erstwhile Soviet Union. Now I can write ‘Quixor’ and inform all doubting spectators that it infact was the name of a man of portugese descent who lives in a place called Quepem (no not pronounced like Quebec).
I do believe that as a look at the gaping faces of my audience I will end with ‘BAZINGA !’
*Alphabet soup : is infact a soup made of alphabet shaped pasta.
*Bazinga : is a word popularized by the character Sheldon in the Big bang theory.