“And that would be, which Soma?”
“Soma Sen, IX A”
“Which Soma Sen from IX A?”
The irate cashier looked up from his cash register. I knew this was coming.
“Soma Sen II !”
“Spell your surname for me, please” …. (‘People and surnames’, I almost heard him thinking aloud)
“Its S-E-N and a Roman II “
Then I pardoned him for not knowing. He was the school’s new cashier. The other old man had kicked the bucket a couple of months ago and being in a Catholic convent school, we dutifully had to attend a prayer meeting with a rare picture of him smiling back at us. It’s elementary. I was Soma number 5 in the motley population of that year’s ninth standard. And Soma Sen II in IX A.
Things seemed to be a little better in College, when I found to my respite that the whole English department belonged to me. No surplus ‘Somas’.
Loved it, till a batch mate smiled sweetly at me at the freshers’ party, “Hi I’m Soma, from Geography. Didn’t quite get your name?”
“Soma, what else!”, I grinned….. what did she expect? A Bonolata Sen or better still Monomohini Sen? But that day, I could have traded my name for anything as inane….
Cut to a later date. A couple of days into a whirlwind courtship, Adonis announced, “Would you mind if I called you something else? Something but Soma?”
I almost melted. Story book romances are supposed to be made of stuff like this. I swooned. My heart skipped a beat.
Finally, my knight in shining armour was going to rid me of my curse.
“Choose a name you like”, he said.
What? Wait! Wasn’t he supposed to do that? As in already have a name ready? Being so enamoured and all that?
And then, very matter of factly he dropped the clanger, “You see, I didn’t exactly plan to meet, fall in love and marry a girl who shares her name with my brother’s wife.”
The ceaseless exercise of acceding to nomenclature and being one Soma among a multitude gives rise to a frantic desire…. not to be Soma. Be anything, but Soma.
Yet I continue to be Soma…