Daily Prompt: Relish

via Daily Prompt: Relish

This happened many years ago in Chennai (at that time it was called Madras and  under British rule). A man was waiting for an interview for a job with a British company. He filled up a form provided to him. For the question, ‘Who do you want to see?’, he wrote ‘Mr. Bullock, Zonal Manager’. In a few minutes, an Englishman came hurtling down. “Who wrote this form?”, he shouted at the only man in the hall. The man waiting for the interview rose up startled. “You didn’t write my name correctly. You Indians do not know how to spell an English man’s name. Now, here is the paper. Write my name correctly. It is B-u-l-l-o-c-h. Write it twenty times and bring it to me. I’ll interview you only then”. The Englishman ran up the stairs. Obviously, the Englishman did not relish his name being written with incorrect spelling. I don’t find fault with him. In fact I share his views in matters of spelling or pronouncing a personal name. After all, people should remember that a name is only an extension of the person himself. Once I  mispronounced the name of an English man and incurred his wrath. I pronounced his name as Aabraham, the first syllable as in ‘arm’. He didn’t relish it. He asked me to repeat his name with him. “Say Eibraham”, rhyming with  the first syllable in ‘ailing’. I corrected myself. After that I didn’t take a chance. I bought a pronouncing dictionary. It was marvelous. I realized that I had mispronounced many English names – Einstein for example. If you are not an English man, I’ll advise you to buy a pronouncing dictionary. But what about English men mispronouncing Indian names? Why don’t they understand that we don’t relish our names being mispronounced? An English teacher of mine (an Englishman himself) mispronounced many Indian names and caused many hilarious situations in the class room !

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