I am Bharat
My parents graced me with the name: Bharat. But when I was a child I truly despised my name. It was the source of much fun for others. The problem is that the dreaded Bh letter pairing is impossible for English-speaking people to pronounce.
Growing up in an inner-city state school at the arsehole end of London, I was called all mannerisms of mispronounced names such as: Brat, Bagarat, Beaky even Borat! (I claim first dibs, Sacha). It seems for the length of recorded history some children consistently demonstrate that they can be so very cruel. That is perfectly fine as they have not yet gained maturity. However, that even applies to fully fledged adult members of the human race where some should know better, but they don’t …Yes, I am looking at you, POTUS!
Throughout my ultrasensitive early teenage years, the deputy head teacher tried ever so hard to get my name right, but Bharat defeated him and he failed miserably by often calling me: Parrot. It was all so awkward. I concluded that a degree and qualification can’t buy you proper motor neurone control of the Mouth. Being a smart academic doesn’t make you right. At least my classmates were highly amused greeting me with salacious delights like Arrrrrriiiight, Parrot? and the timeless classic of Monty Pythonesque nature: Who’s a pretty boy, then?
I was fortunate enough to gain a place at university, I realised I had the opportunity to give myself a new Western-Friendly nickname, something that would not leave a sense of awkwardness in the air, like a silent nauseous release of the flatulent kind. I thought for a long hard five, six….no, seven seconds! I settled on: Barry. But to be honest, it was a one horse race.
After an initial quizzical face due to the anglicised nomenclature of my non-caucasian being, my newly acquainted college friends accepted Barry as one of their own. However, to my mild horrific amusement nearly every new friend without fail, almost immediately promoted Barry to his alter ego: Bazza. What form of independent skullduggery was this? (Yes, Parrot the Pirate was still part of my private persona). But what unwritten rule governed this transformation?
So let’s see the progression went: Bharat — Barry — Bazza
It seemed that “rry” went to “zza”. Hmm, let’s try a few:
Gary becomes Gazza: Cool!
Harry becomes Hazza: Err, ok!?
Lester becomes Lezza: I think we have pushed the envelope too much that it has ripped; causing a massive spillage and the Postal service are going to charge us a clean-up fee.
So where does that leave me and my original name? Well, I used to be on the Mr Blobby side of life so my German techno-crazy friends monikered me: Bigga-B. Who ever says Germans do not have a sense of humour ought to be shot.
I then went all My Body is Thou Temple and became a Fookin’ Skinny Whippet as they say in the mild-mannered parts of Oop Norf. I took great delight when my German Techno Buddies renamed me: nrg-b. Please note, the lowercase letters as I loved how they understated me.
How do I feel now? Well, my name comes from the old ancient name for India. It’s also the name of an Indian Prince who sacrificed materialism and to correct the wrongdoings of others.
For all the emotional stress my name gave me, I am grateful for the knowledge and I love my name.
I am Bharat.