If you ask me why I respect my parents, this one would definitely figure in top five. The name they have given me. :)
Now, there are lots of trivia behind my name.
The tradition in our family is that the eldest son should have the name of Subrahmanya or of the Snake God. Fortunately, my parents did not settle for a Nagesha or a Nagaraja (No disrespect to anyone with those names, its just that they dont define me!) I would have preferred even obscure names like "Sakala Kalaa Vallabha" or "Bhaktha Jana Samrakshaka" to those Naga-prefixed names! ;) While discussing the alternatives, they bumped into the name 'Karthik', but it was dropped (probably feared being called 'Kar-thika' by people - as it does not sound too good in Kannada!)
I dont know who suggested this, but they opted for the name 'Vasuki'. If Vasuki was not unusual enough, my parents decided to name me 'Vasuki Raghavan'. There is an interesting story behind this too. My mother was approached by some woman who had prophesied (Oracle?) that a son would be born to her (she only forgot to mention that - a son who is crazy enough to watch more than 400 movies a year!) and that the child should be named after Raghavendraswamy. So not sure how to fit in Mr. Raghavendraswamy with the serpent God and also fully aware that their son would grow into a lazy person incapable of writing a very long name, my parents decided to truncate Raghavendraswamy to Raghavan (in the process, cheating the linguistically poor Raghavendraswamy - as Raghavan is the name of Rama!) Was it just this or did my parents anticipate the arrival of the Web and knew that people with very common names have to depend heavily on underscores, numbers and hyphens, to get a valid id - I dont know, I need to check with them.
I run into quite a few problems with my unusual name. "Are you a tamilian?", is the most common question I am faced with. No! "Are you Iyengar?" No sir! Then, I get that "why-in-the-hell-you-have-such-a name-then" stare. For a long time, I did not know that the great Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar's wife was named Vasuki (I dont know whats the meaning of the female version or if there is one) and I have had the privilege to disappoint a few new joinees in my company who expected to see a pretty tamil girl (when they'd heard my name, before seeing)
I know many people who have unusual names and quite a few of them have no idea of what their names mean. Not knowing is one thing, but the complete lack of curiosity and inquisitiveness about their own names is something that beats me. Here are a few interpretations I give to my name.
- Vasuki means the king of snakes ("Sarpanamasmi Vasuki-hi" as told in Shloka 28 of Adhyaya 10 in Bhagavad-geetha)
- In Indian mythology, Vasuki was the snake used to churn Ksheerasagara (ocean of milk) So, Vasuki is a symbolic representation of the thinking power (Mount Mandara represents the mind and Ksheerasagara represents the data) that makes humans superior to dogs and cats. :)
- Vasuki, means V(We) comes first and I comes last. So, its symbolic of team mindset, which helps humans improve as a group. :D
- Vasu means Krishna or Vishnu or 'the supreme lord', and "ki" in Japanese means energy (as in Rei-ki, which means soul-energy) So, Vasuki means the energy of the supreme lord (Okay, stop screaming now!)
I can go on and on, but even self-obsession should have some limits. I will stop!