Thursday, April 21, 2011

What's in a name?

Mr. William Shakespeare had once said - "What's in a name?" I don't know whether he was shaken when he said it or whether it was some other reason which made him say these words. I too agree to this statement to a great extent. But there are times when the names make you think, especially when it is a name which contradicts the enterprise which it represents or when it is 'zara hatke'.

Some days ago, on my way back home, while travelling by bus, I saw you big signboard that read - 'Ram Bhavan' And there was some more text just below these words. These words were written on a board hung in front of an entrance of a structure by the side of the road. It was difficult to make out the additional text sideways. I waited for the bus to reach near the board or in front of the board so that I could figure out what it was. But that did not stop me from trying to guess what could the structure be. 'Ram Bhavan' - my first thought was that it was a temple. But then I quickly discarded that thought - the only reason being the structure was in a slum, the structure was a part of a line of shops or small enterprises and the board was too shabby & too un-temple like. The next thought what that it might be the signboard of a guest house or lodge... Quite possible, but then another thought intruded in my on-going chain of thoughts... A guest house - could it be one of those shady guest houses where all sorts of nefarious activities go on? Could be - but the name somehow does not fit the bill. My bus soon reached very close to 'Ram Bhavan' and I got a chance to read the words below it. I was surprised because all my guesses were wrong. The words were - Ram Bhavan Bar and Restaurant. :D The closest that I could reach to a contradiction was a lodge carrying out shady activities, and that too it was not a convincing thought. But a bar and a restaurant - well, I don't know what to say. Bhagwan ke naam pe log kya kuch karte hain... After this incident, I became a little more cautious in guessing enterprises by their name.

I was on an official visit to Bangalore and once I decided to go for lunch in the complex where I was working. There were a few restaurants and I was strolling around trying to figure out which one should I opt for. There were the usual Pizza Hut, KFC, CCD and some more restaurants like Civet, Route 19, Paramount, etc. But there was one name which was 'zara hatke'... And the name was 'The Geeky Dhaba' and its punchline was - 'Desi people, Desi pakwaan'. Now that's a strange name for a restaurant and the punchline somehow does not fit with the word 'Geeky' that the name carries. Besides, I can understand 'Dhaba', but 'Geeky' - am not very sure if a restaurant can be called 'Geeky'. Whatever it be, the name sounded interesting enough. My next thought was "Will it be good enough?" But that thought lasted only for a fraction of a second becuase I could see a lot of people inside. Almost all the tables were full. So I decided to experience the geeky side of this dhaba and walked in. This restaurant had glass walls and so the people outside could see inside and the people inside could see what was happening outside. I had noticed that people were eating rice, biryani, chapati and different varieties of food. I had also noticed large menu cards stuck to the 2 glass walls on different sides of the restaurant. And the only item that the menu listed belonged to the category - 'Dosa'. It had a wide variety of Dosas and Uttapams along with the prices. And the little that I know about cooking, I was sure that there is nothing 'GEEKY' about dosas. I was wondering if I would get a proper meal inside since the menu advertised only Dosas and I had seen people eating everything other than dosas. I decided to believe what I saw i.e. people eating rice, chapati, biryani, etc. rather than believe the menu. I decided to walk in. I thought may be the actual menu card will be placed on the table or put up on a board behind the cashier. There was nothing geeky about the restaurant - not a sample of some modern or fundu technology which would make me think that this restaurant is geeky indeed. When I reached the cashier's desk to buy my coupon, I saw a few menu cards lying on his table. The meal names were very different from what we normally see in any restaurant. And this is where the restaurant had tried to include geekiness. There were meals called 'Control A', 'Control C', 'Control S'. When I read these names, I was stumped. I was wondering if I am going through a menu card or is it some document highlighting PC shortcuts. I was wondering how would I be able to eat geeky stuff. But then I remembered seeing people eating 'normal' food. So I decided to read the contents of the dishes. Thankfully, the contents of the dishes were not written using geeky words. And they were dal, rice, chapati, sabzi and so on, which we are well aware of and also eat. I was wondering if I should move to another restaurant or continue with my lunch here. My stomach growled and I decided to eat my lunch in the 'Geeky Dhaba' itself. Thankfully, the food was normal and fine and there was nothing geeky about it. And the name kept me on tenterhooks till I took the first bite. After these 2 incidents, I have actually started wondering if the statement - "What's in a name????" should be taken seriously or not. What do you think?

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