One of Many Names

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

A quote that is commonly used to mean it doesn’t really matter what name is used, what cropped-pinkroses3.jpgmatters is what something is. The original quote is from William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet is more telling:

 What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet

I have many names..well, different versions of two different names….

I was named by my maternal grandmother.

Being born into a bi-religious family (my dad a Roman Catholic and my mom a Hindu) and having only my maternal grandmother around, the rest of my grandparents having passed on way before my parent’s got married, the usual Hindu rites were done before I was named. Usual basically means date and time of birth were presented to the priest at a temple, who would then do some calculations and stuff before presenting the new parents with the recommended “sound of the first syllable” which the newborn will carry for the rest of it’s life. Well…that’s what I presume happened 😉

So having the sound of that first syllable to play around with my grandmother came up with the name that got stamped on my birth certificate and from then on all official documentation; and one that I should have been toting around for the rest of my life. The name was:


Then, for some unknown reason (I never have actually asked my mother why this happened) my grandmother started calling me by a completely different name. And you know, grandmothers rule! Well, in my family she did, so everyone followed suite. I can’t even say that it was a shortened version of my “official name” and neither was it a middle name. It’s like she plucked it out of thin air as she was sitting out on the verandah having her daily cheroot one morning.  That name was:


Then I had to go to school, and there Jeyashree became shortened to:


Then my dad took me, my birth date, time and chart to see a friend of his who was an awesome numerologist/ palmist and he suggested that to ensure his first born brought good fortune to herself career-wise she had to be called:


Some where in between the Jeya and the Shree, my sister grew up and had her own friends who called her Jeya. To differentiate the Jeya who was their friend and the Jeya who was her sister, they started using the name my sister used for me:


Once I finished with my studies and was forced into “adulthood”, I had a prefix attached to the “good fortune” name. So I became:

Dr. Shree.

Label Day _ Shree

Then I got married….and for some strange, unknown reason it never occurred that I needed to change my name like a “good” wife should. In fact, like a blessing from the heavens no one actually insisted that I have a name change. It was also easier when we got a divorce.

So there it is. To some I am Jeyashree, to others as Jeya, then others as Anita, another group as Ani, at work as Dr. Shree and over here as Shree. What I find quite cool is that when someone who has always called me by one name starts calling me by another I get confused. Otherwise I could be in a room with someone calling out “Ani!” and another calling out “Jeya!”; and no confusion ensues…on my part at least. As long as each calls me by the name they have always used.

Am I the same person or am I different depending on what name I’m “playing”? I feel I’m the same. It’s not so much the name as the role I play that makes me just a little “different” – if I’m the friend, the sister, the daughter , the blogger or the doctor. Does this mean that I’m not truly myself all of the time?I can honestly say that I actually think I’m not!

I’m not all of myself all of the time BUT like a cut jewel refracting light I am the sum of all those parts that I show and then some. And aren’t we all that way too? No matter what name, label or role we are, it is the sum of all the parts that make the whole.

Sometimes though I wonder. Does having too many different names or variations of a name have another side to it? Could it be a sign of a sort of fragmentation within myself , an escape to not totally own who I am? A sense of fear that makes me think that if the me who is named Anita isn’t “good enough” then Shree could be, so I had better keep both…or all ? Could it be that the reason why I introduce myself as either Anita, Jeya or Shree; and not stick to one, is because I fear that a part of me would be “lost” if  I have to choose? Or…could it just be that my mind has wandered off a little too far wondering about my many names?

How many names are you known by? Do you introduce yourself with different the different versions depending on whom it is you meet, or in what situation you first meet? I’m really curious to know!


This post is in conjunction with the International Label Day. Rara from rarasaur is “hosting” this on her blog.


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30 thoughts on “One of Many Names

  1. I love this post! I do not think you are fragmented but hope you have a foundation upon which to place your identity.
    I am 99% called Linda. One of my cousins briefly called me Lindsay and a former boyfriend called me Lindapie, which was kinda sweet. My dad called me cupcake or cookie as a small child – i forget which was for me and which was for my sister! ( or maybe brownie, something sweet 🙂

    Now I am really liking litebeing, but rarely am I referred to with this moniker.

    I get scattered when people ask me what I do, because the list keeps getting longer. In the final analysis, what matters is your being, not anything extraneous.

    hugs ” Mindy”
    from Linda litegoddess


  2. Loved reading all your names, I only have one name.. my full name Susan no middle name, My Dad would always call me Susan…I am mostly called Sue.. Hubby calls me Susan when he wants to get a point across, and an old aunt still calls me Susan… So I am quite dull in comparison Shree 🙂 And I can see I have lost of catching up to do 🙂


    1. No Sue…not dull at all! Like Diane…I think having one name makes you in a way complete…I don’t know. It’s just something I’ve been thinking about after reading Binky’s comment 😉

      Thank you for enjoying the post 😀


  3. I love the story of your grandmother just arbitrarily deciding to call you Anita! That’s too funny. Jeyashree is very pretty, though. Did you ever have numerology done for your other names? Maybe those names are perfect (numerology-wise) for your interactions with the people who use them.

    I’ve always been Diane Henders. I didn’t change my name when I got married, and there have only been two people in my life who ever called me “Di” – everybody else calls me Diane. One of my friends is a numerologist and when she did my numbers, it turns out I have a “1” destiny, so that probably explains my stubborn retention of the same old name. 🙂


    1. The uncle my dad took me to see…for the numerology thing did know that other than Jeyashree, I had Anita as a name too. He suggested Shree. I really don’t know the exact story of how my grandmother got the name..maybe it’s high time I ask my mother, huh? LOL.

      I think it’s awesome you have one name and stick by it. Like Binky’s asked in his comment….it’s quite weird that I didn’t have any decisions on my names…maybe it just means that it’s an opportunity for me to bring it all back to one? Maybe not…but in your case it’s like you own your name and are sure of it..and all that is totally awesome!


  4. That was pretty funny. And informative, too. The strange thing is it seems you had no part in changing your name; others did if for you. What that means,I’m not sure. Maybe everyone did/does see a different part of you, and felt they had to name/rename you accordingly.


    1. You know what? I honestly did not realise that until you pointed it out!! I don’t know what it means too..but I *do* know that from now on I’m going to own my name and confidently give it to the next new person I meet. I’m not going to be all namby pamby about it and give others an option as to what to call me. Maybe it means I need to learn to take ownership of me?! O.O


        1. Nope. When I read your comment I went “Oh wow! He’s right! It’s true! Wow!”. I always feel that there are a lot of things that we cannot see for ourselves because we are too close to it, it takes someone outside to see know what I mean? But thank you for pointing it out. I feel now I want to reclaim some control over my names! At least what people call me…you know?


          1. It’s true, we are often too close to see something that is readily apparent to others. Sometimes that can be a bit disconcerting because you wonder what flaws or quirks others might see in you that you’re totally blind to.


  5. Very interesting! That’s quite a lot of names! For the most part people call me Melissa, but for a while in college I was called MelZel and so college friends who see me will often still call me that. I always hated being called Mel before college, but it seemed once I was in college it was inevitable. Now only one of my close friends still calls me Mel, but for some reason it has never bothered me when she calls me that, even though it often does when other people do.

    And for one weekend in the 8th grade, my nickname was Taco. That was a very strange weekend.


    1. Hehe to Taco…must have been pretty strange. I was once called pumpkin by a school mate because well…I was round like one. I called her Garlic…because she was fair..hahahaha.


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