Name is all about identity.
A lot I would say. More than a lot. Today on 5th Sept 2020 I strongly announce it.
What is in a name ?
This phrase is from Shakespeare’s famous Romeo & Juliet. I have not read it. Of course none of Shakespeare’s works I read.
Today It is like end of the road, hitting the wall, a stubborn wall.
You might wonder what happened to MBL, so far everything was good. What is he writing ????
How MBL is evolved:
What is MBL ? A lot people asked this question. When they see this three letter word they do not get it. Is it a name ? what kind of name is this ?
Invariably a name gets it short form. It is universal. Since school days to professional life I am familiar with many abbreviated names – MGH, HKS, NGH, BPS, BRD, NSG were great teachers, GNH, BRM, were friends, BDK, VAW, SMK, RVE, RV, RN, RNS, RD were colleagues ………..list is almost endless.
So am I as MBL.
Not many know my real name. Through out of my professional life I am known as MBL only. I also pushed it just to make it easy for colleagues.
My name is too long. It is not just a name. It is my address as well. It has my name, my fathers name, my village name. My village has one road, and 30 , 40 houses in a row and no body else is named as MBL. (One was there but no more)
Ok full form is Mahabaleshwara Beleyur Laxminarayana. First letter of each word forms MBL.
Well, what is wrong with it. Bit too long, so what ? It is not unusual to have long names in India specially from southern part. Much more longer names come from Andhra Pradesh area.
Am I ashamed of my name ? Nooooo. I am proud of my name. I am named after deity of Gokarna.
Troubles with my long name :
I was in trouble at many places because of my long name.
In my SSL certificate my name is B L Mahabaleshwara. Hence I got my first abbreviation as BLM. I do not remember when I changed my name to Mahabaleshwara B L. BL which is supposed to be be “initials” came in front. Thereafter it became MBL.
As the time progressed, I got into profession, I had to fill many forms like any body else. It is normal. Forms asks for First name, Surname, Middle name. So I expanded my name in to full fledged three words. Ever since Trouble started.
Some forms did not have enough space to write my fully expanded name. My first passport did not have enough space to write my full name. Look at it.
As the time passed, computers landed in public life. Pre windows era – there used to be limitation on length of field. My name got truncated in many places. Thanks to 32 bit, 64 bit now there are enough spaces to enter my name.
Hotels had difficulty with my name.
The hotels had difficulty with my name. At many hotels I had to spend more time to get the room key since the lady at the the counter could not find name. Then I had to tell all three words and she would search one by one to finally find my name.
At one hotel I had to explain :
Lady at the counter : Name please …
Me : Mahabaleshwara
Lady at the counter : Name, name please
Me : Mahabaleshwara
Lady at the counter (A little exasperated) : Sir I am asking your name, not the place.
It then flashed to me. She mistook my name to a famous hill station in Maharashtra called Mahabaleshwara. She thought I belonged to that place. I had to explain that my name was Mahabaleshwara. By then, few guests behind me getting irritated, that i was taking more time.
With my colleagues at workplace.
Many visitors used to ask me looking at my visiting card- are you from Mahabaleshwara ? I again had to explain.
Many people, specially from Northern part of India (Recall Rahul trying to pronounce Vishveshwaraiah) have difficulty in pronouncing my name. They get it completely wrong. They tend to ask what is my first name out of three.
No need to explain what happens with my name in Germany.
Saga continued……it almost cost me the flight !!!!
By the time I had to apply for my second passport it was computerised hence they managed to enter my full name. Now Passport has my full name.
Name on my credit card Mahabaleshwara B L. I must have written this by ignorance or bank did not have enough space.
This year January I had to travel from Frankfurt to Delhi and back. I booked a flight ticket and you know what – I entered my name as Mahabaleshwara B L promptly looking at my card.
I approached the flight counter on time and produced my ticket and passport. The lady took the papers, took a deep look at it, spoke to some one and then told me – you can not fly, not allowed.
I was perturbed and asked the reason. She promptly showed me the ticket and the passport – name does not match. I was blank for a while, while other waiting travellers were looking over my shoulder. I side stepped but stood there begging the lady to consider, showing my card, cursing myself to have done the mistake. She looking at my pale face she spoke to some one and gave the boarding pass. she said she spoke to Indian authorities who accepted this discrepancy, but not before cautioning me that I might get stuck at German immigration counter. I sighed, grabbed the boarding pass and ran to immigration. Immigration officer was probably in good mood and just stamped my passport and let me out. I flew home.
My name almost cost my flight. The name in the ticket and passport must match to board international flights. Desk officials may be a little lenient for domestic flights. Once ticket is booked, there is no way to change the name.
What is a name ? A lot – If you do not believe, read on. My wife joined me in story of my name.
Things moved on, I got married. Changed the job, moved to different locations. By now we were in Gurgaon. I had passport, PAN card, DL.
But a valid address proof was not going to be so easy. Even having all these cards is of no use if you changed your house. You need to renew everything all over again. It is a cumbersome activity.
Coming back to my marriage – My wife’s name is Geetha. Very common and simple ( I thought)
I said, we apply for her passport, thinking one day we would visit some other country. I started collecting the forms and documents. This was in 2004 – 2005. Main document is address proof and the other key document is birth certificate. Our birth certificate is our SSL Certificate. She had SSL Certificate. I then needed one address proof. I realised my wife and son had no address proof. Forget address proof, she did not have a name proof even.
Story unfolds now.
She had a surname – Hegade. Her father’s name is Narayana G (Ganapathy) Hegade. Naturally her name would be Geetha N Hegade. (Geetha N H)
To my horror I found that her name in SSL certificate is written as Geetha N G, instead of Geetha N.H. She did not have her birth certificate right.
She did not have any card then. No PAN, No voter ID, No bank account, Aaadhar card was not yet in. Only one document she had as her ID was her SSL certificate, with a wrong name. Kya Kare ab ? Even the house agreement nor gas card would not help, since these are in my name.
I had to do something. With out address proof and birth certificate, one can not get any card – (PAN, Voter ID, ….nothing). To get the address proof you need one of these cards. It is an impossible interlock.
Ration card to passport, marriage certificate in between:
I then thought of ration card which I thought bit easier. Plan was to get the ration card and use it as base card for subsequent cards. Since all family member’s names would be in ration card.
I had ration card when I started my career way back in 1983 (Goa) , but never used, never renewed after I moved out of Goa. To apply for ration card you need to get an NOC from your existing place. It is another Herculean task then.
I had seen many ugly looking hand bills pasted on all the poles, walls in Gurgaon. I got hold of one such agent. He said his charges and the asked for necessary documents. I again explained him the whole story – at the end my wife and son did not have any required documents. He then suggested, my marriage certificate would do.
Well, It dawned onto me that we never registered our marriage but blissfully continued our life for 15 years.
The agent also washed off his hands.
My marriage was in 1990 in my village. I called my father and asked his help in getting this done. We had to provide an affidavit with some marriage related document. Document being marriage invitation card. Who on earth would keep the marriage invitation card after 15 years. I had to get the cards printed again.
Finally we got our marriage certificate. Fortunately in India the wife’s name gets the surname of husband. No one asked for her birth certificate for marriage certificate. So she became Geetha Mahabaleshwara.
With this, I called up the agent and paid him the money and document copies, got our ration card too. With this We applied for passport of my wife and son and we got it too.
Though the agent lost our ration card in the process. Anyway we had our passports. I did not bother about it much.
No, the story did not end here. It only continued, climax is yet to come.
I moved in and out of Gurgaon on Job and changed the houses. We were in the third house for about 9 years. Wife and son also had their PAN, Voter ID, Aadhar card. Passports were still valid hence no problem. Everything looked good. Me and wife visited one two countries in Europe too. After all with great difficulty we had our passports.
Then came the time to renew the passport.
My son’s and wife’s passport were due for renewal in 2019. I knew this and had applied for renewal and police verification was due and alas, I had to change the house. Renewal did not take place. Both Son and wife were now with out passports.
We wanted the passport. To apply for passport renewal she needed the address proof which she did not have again. All her other cards had the earlier house address.
I had then moved to Germany and I have been trying get her moved too to Germany.
It seemed that the tape only got rewound and restarted.
By now all these cards were digitalised. No agent could get you the cards with out documents. I have no idea how on earth people get voter ID or Aadhar cards. If every one were like me, there is no need for CAA or NRC.
She now needs an address proof. How to get it ?
A benevolent friend of mine is a bank manager and helped us to get the bank account open on house agreement document and Aadhar card. My self and my wife got the bank account, where in we mentioned new house address. We got our address proof. With this passbook she got her Aadhar card address corrected to our new residence.
She, with great confidence and enthusiasm, applied for her passport. All the standard online filling, and printout, appointment at the passport office etc went off well so far. Passport process is quite good and systematic nowadays.
Drama at Passport office :
She went to passport office and submitted the documents. (Aadhar card as address proof and old passport book) Passport guy looked at the documents and promptly rejected the application. The name in the old passport and Aadhaar card does not match. I felt like crying. What else I could do. I realised her name in Aadhaar is mentioned as Geeta Mahabaleshwara instead of Geetha Mahabaleshwara.
We are back to square one.
Corona entered on earth in the meantime. All these activities came to a halt. We were also not keen to move around.
I still need her to get the passport.
You need to go to Aadhar card booths in any bank or shops to get the aadhar card data changed. Not everything can be changed in aadhar online.
Things did not end here. Name has a lot to do.
Aadhar card booths are now reopened. She went to the same bank again today (5th Sept 2020) to meet Aadhaar card agent to change the name. (from Geeta to Geetha) He again asked for ID proof in which her name is Geetha. She produced her PAN card (Fortunately it is Geetha) but address in PAN card is old. So he said name would be corrected in aadhaar as Geetha but it will have old address. No option but to accept it. Now she has aadhaar card with right name wrong address. To correct the address we have to produce the ID with correct name and correct address. She does not have one. Since Bank passbook is with name Geeta (wrong name ) and correct address.
Now she has to change the name in the pass book. Hopefully she will be able to change the name with out any other problems.
I still need her to get the passport.
I am undaunted. I wont give up so easily.
I will now have to get the passbook corrected. Effort is on.
What is in a name ? A lot.
Any body has any doubt ?
Icing on the cake :
Icing on the cake is my own driving licence. Since one and half year i did not drive. (I use public transport and my bicycle here in Germany).
I just realised today that my driving licence is expired in Jan 2020 itself. I do not have any address proof of the current house. May be I can use house agreement copy. Generally they accept it provided the agreement is registered. Our agreement is not registered !!
Hara Hara !!!! Neene gati.
I am undaunted.
I will apply for my DL in January 2021 (If I am allowed to travel back and forth from India)