Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April A To Z Challenge Day 14- N is for Name, My name is Prasanna and I'm a girl.

For 30 odd years of my life I have suffered with my identity, my name. And now, it almost seems like an old adversary, which I have grudgingly accepted as my own but still once in a while have a skirmish with.

I blame my paternal grandmother completely for the fiasco surrounding my name because she was the one to bestow my name without even seeing me. Yes, my grandmother died 4 years before I was born, but it was her death wish that her son’s next born should be named as Prasanna. Don’t ask me how my grandmother was privy to the information that her son would have another child after the first two. But I’m guessing that she was being extra-smart, if she was thinking of a name that was unisex or gender-neutral name.

Ever since I can remember the reaction that people have when they hear my name for the first time is –“Hey, but isn’t Prasanna a guy’s name?” And ever since I can remember I have always wanted to strangle the person and tell him/her that “Yes, but as you can see for yourself I’m a girl and that’s my name”.

What was I supposed to do? I couldn’t change my name as it was my grandmother’s last wish and even though I would have liked to have a word with her (in-fact lots of words) for butchering my identity, I still have to keep her last wish in regard.


It’s not that I don’t like my name, I guess it’s ok considering that my name has a Sanskrit origin and it means joyful. But all the joy is sucked out of my soul whenever I receive a call on my phone and the voice on the other end says –“Can I speak to Mr. Prasanna?”

And people don’t even have the courtesy to apologize after they hear my voice. After a pause of few microseconds they continue as if it doesn’t really matter. And the funny thing is I have kind of got used to it too. It doesn’t grate on my nerves as much as it used to before.

There have been incidents when my name has created more alarming confusions. Like the time when I received the 10th grade passing certificate and the delight of seeing 90% on the marks sheet was slightly marred on seeing the Mr. in front of my name. I had to run around for quite some days to correct this gender confusion and amend my name to Miss. Prasanna.

And then there was another time during my first working year, when the tax deducted at the end of the financial year was more than the calculated amount. Why? Because they thought I was a male and deducted the amount mentioned in the tax rebate for men! Phew!

So when I hear someone say “What’s in a name?”, I say everything. You have to place yourself in my shoes and then you would understand the importance of one’s name J


  1. Hi. Nice to meet you, Prasanna.
    My Internet name is Romi, but my real name is Hiromi, a very common name in Japanese.
    It is interesting that I have had similar problems with my name since my childhood. My real name is both for boys and girls. My father, who wanted a son, chose the boyish Japanese spelling of the name. Judging from the way it is written, most people thought that I was a boy. And those who know that I am a girl cannot spell my name correctly... I didn't like my name very much when I was young, but now I like its uniqueness.

  2. Really? I always thought Prasanna was a girl's name! Maybe coz I have known a couple of female Prasannas.

    Either way its pissing off when people assume things wrt your name or worse, get your name wrong. Ugh.

  3. Prasanna... this is odd.. We think alike..:D... My N post is also about Name... Thinks on similar line ..hehehe..

  4. By the way in malayalam, my language Prasanna is a happy the name is also for a girl. Be cool.. I like your name..

  5. Ha ha ha ha ha I can so well understand your feel.. I write my name as just Sri in registers and people think I am a boy :P

    Participant|AtoZ Challenge 2014
    Smile, it makes (y)our day!

  6. Ohh don't even get me started with my name...People in Gorakhpur where I did my engineering always made fun of my name...arghh....And Prasanna is a beautiful name ..I know another Prasanna from work..A she :) ..

    N for Nauseated-Random Thoughts Naba

  7. But in some parts, Prasanna is indeed a girls name!

  8. I totally understand this, because I know a lot of other Prasannas. Males and females both. But nothing like Punjabi names to confuse the hell outa you. Gurpreet, Jaspreet, Jagpreet, Kuljeet etc etc. You seriously have no idea what to think. When I think a gabru jawan is entering I see a fat aunty coming in and vice versa. I think the name confusion will linger on for a long time.

    My name means soft and calm. And I am anything but that! But I am blessed with a male's voice, so any body who calls me thinks I'm a guy. Apparently there are some guys out there who are called Soumya as well.

    Well, you just gotta live with it! :)

  9. The name 'Prasanna' always reminds me of the former test cricketer EAS Prasanna.

    About people who addressed you as Mr. Prasanna not apologizing after hearing your voice, quite a few men have voices that sound completely feminine, especially over phone.

    On a lighter note, if you think you have a problem, spare a thought for Navjot Singh Sidhu and his wife Navjot Kaur!

  10. As I am English I looked at your name and assumed that it was a girls name, because Anna is a UK girls name. I think it is a lovely name.

    And Nabanita your name is fab too. Anita is also an English name.

    I didn't want to be Jacqui as my middle name was Dale and I wanted something that was unusual.

    Who you are and your values are far more important.

  11. You are the only Prasanna I know...Actually noooo I get confused between you and another guy blogger who is Prasanna. Damn, Now I know what you are talking about. hehe
    But I like your name babe!

  12. Prasanna I empathise totally :) Most people in karnataka have always thought it's a Mr. Sunila coz Sunila as a girl's name is not heard usually :) Now I derive evil pleasure when I turn up and inform them that it is a woman they've addresses as a Mr. hitherto

  13. I wonder Prasanna can be both and can be pronounced as either Prasann or Prasann-aa. I read it as the latter one. There are so many names likewise like Gunjan, Anshul (that are uni-sex names) I know how bad you must have felt but after a time one gets habitual of those reactions. People even miss pronounce my name as Sheesha and not Shesha, and interpret their own meaning. But you see its good to be uncommon than having an extremely ubiquitous name ;)

  14. Great post. While living in India for many years I named many babies. :) It's definitely a sweet privilege but also kind of weird too. Getting stuck with a male name reminds me of a novel I loved as a child where two fairies got their names switched at birth so the girl's name was John and the boy's name was Joan. When they grew up they found each other because they were meant to me. ;) Visiting from A to Z.

  15. Your name has a very good meaning and I am sorry but I too thought that you were a man, glad that cleared up. Lovely name regardless.
    I get people shortening my name of their own accord all the time and then I am struck with something I don't like.
    I stick with Indy rather than anything else but for some people I am always going to be IP or Indu or something else.

  16. At a certain age we start loving our name, despite of the fact that somewhere in past we had never liked it....well I never knew that Prassana was a male name :)

  17. I'm in America and really would have had no idea of Prasanna was a male of female name. I've always wanted to change my name, but for entirely different reasons.

  18. that must have been irritating! wen i havent faced d same problem as urs, my name is very common. u wont believe me bt der r 4 girls by my name in our class alone! n every tym d lecturer calls one, all 4 stand up n d confusion!! aah i hate it. so i can imagine hw much more irked u were wen all d confusions happened

  19. I wish kids had the right to choose their names. I do wish I had it.

    Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2014, My Latest post

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  20. I think you have a beautiful feminine name - no idea it could be a boy's name. And these people bothering anyway... Argh:-(

  21. I can understand ur plight but Y shud prasanna be just a guy's name. That I am not understanding! It can be a girls name as well right ? I hav friends with Prasanna as name. Those who thot ur a man are idiots. It is like story of my life. People think I am a man only due to spelling which ends Afshan and doesnt open
    kya kare ye kahan har ghar ki - even prudhvi latha wrote a similar post :)

  22. Nice post. My topic is also about Name. I'm a bit neutral with mine. Your name sounds girl enough to me.

  23. Lovely post. I enjoy the history behind names because my first name is my grandmother's Last name and while it seems simple "Conlee" as a child it was too different and drew too much attention to me so I went by Connie, and as an adult since people don't expect it I am constantly correcting others from "Colleen" so thanks to grandmothers it's a lifetime of corrections! Conlee-

  24. I love unique names and I think Prasanna is a fairly cute name. ;) At least people will easily remember your name. :D

  25. I know people who've had unusual names.

    Guys - Sharon, Kirti, Kinjal, Nicole, Sheetal, Hiral

    Gals - Rahul (would you believe it?), Viral

  26. Haha I do understand. My family has all these unisex names too. The guys have a girly name and vice versa. Its maddening for them too. But it's cool, they're used to it too..kinda anyway!

  27. Prasanna - Personally, although I have never heard the name before, I would automatically think it was a girls name. It has a softness to it. I think it is lovely. Please take all these wonderful comments in this post and start applying them to thinking differently about your name. It is beautiful, just like you.
    Carol @ Battered Hope