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April 10, 2010 / Shalini Ambastha

The Changed Name

Shakespeare once said, “What’s in a name?”. As it turns out, ‘nothing’ is not really the right answer to this. Few months back, I mentioned to some of my dear friends that I have had a change in my name (officially that is!) and the name that they know me by is not the one I have always had. To add to their surprise, I told them that ‘Neha Chanchal’ is the name I carried for the first ten years of my existence and boy! Some reaction they had!!

Ok, so the story goes like this: my dad and my uncle, upon my birth, decided to show their profound love for me by giving me the most beautiful name that they had in their respective minds. As a result, I was ‘Shalini’ in my dad’s official records and ‘Neha Chanchal ‘in my primary school records. After a lot of confusion and missed scholarships during my initial academic years, dad’s decision prevailed and my name was solemnly changed to ‘Shalini’ and ‘Neha Chanchal’ was lost somewhere in the sands of time.

I adapted to my new identity pretty smoothly since it was accompanied by a lot of other changes (change in location, change in school etc.). Not much thought was spared for the lost name in the last 13 years until a few months back. During a casual chitchat with my friends, it came to my mind out of nowhere and was blurted out before I realised it.

The reaction that followed made me regret my decision right away. A number of ‘EEEEWWWWs’ were heard in unison and everyone around could be seen clutching their bellies, laughing. According to one dear friend, the name brought to her the imagery of a scrawny, irritating young girl who could be seen talking incessantly. It was only when my dear roomie came to my rescue, saying she loved my old name more than my current one, that I could smile again.

Following that incident, the name comes to my mind pretty often, so much so that it has become the subject of my first blog post. On a recent visit to my best friend, I suppressed my urge to tell him the story of my changed name, unsure of his reaction. Nevertheless, I think of Neha, and it brings back to me the memories of a chirpy little girl, shortest in her class but with big dreams in her eyes, ready to take on the world.

Shakespeare once said, “What’s in a name?”. As it turns out, ‘nothing’ is not really the right answer to this. Few months back, I mentioned to some of my dear friends that I have had a change in my name (officially that is!) and the name that they know me by is not the one I have always had. To add to their surprise, I told them that ‘Neha Chanchal’ is the name I carried for the first ten years of my existence and boy! Some reaction they had!!

Ok, so the story goes like this: my dad and my uncle, upon my birth, decided to show their profound love for me by giving me the most beautiful name that they had in their respective minds. As a result, I was ‘Shalini’ in my dad’s official records and ‘Neha Chanchal ‘in my primary school records. After a lot of confusion and missed scholarships during my initial academic years, dad’s decision prevailed and my name was solemnly changed to ‘Shalini’ and ‘Neha Chanchal’ was lost somewhere in the sands of time.

I adapted to my new identity pretty smoothly since it was accompanied by a lot of other changes (change in location, change in school etc.). Not much thought was spared for the lost name in the last 13 years until a few months back. During a casual chitchat with my friends, it came to my mind out of nowhere and was blurted out before I realised it.

The reaction that followed made me regret my decision right away. A number of ‘EEEEWWWWs’ were heard in unison and everyone around could be seen clutching their bellies, laughing. According to one dear friend, the name brought to her the imagery of a scrawny, irritating young girl who could be seen talking incessantly. It was only when my dear roomie came to my rescue, saying she loved my old name more than my current one, that I could smile again.

Following that incident, the name comes to my mind pretty often, so much so that it has become the subject of my first blog post. On a recent visit to my best friend, I suppressed my urge to tell him the story of my changed name, unsure of his reaction. Nevertheless, I think of Neha, and it brings back to me the memories of a chirpy little girl, shortest in her class but with big dreams in her eyes, ready to take on the world.

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13 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. pensiveharsh / Apr 11 2010 12:14 pm

    True, there isn’t much in a name. I couldn’t agree more with you Neha 😛

  2. Ajay / Apr 11 2010 2:59 pm

    Nice Post Shalini 🙂

  3. Ritika / Apr 12 2010 5:44 am

    What’s in the Name ? I assure you sweets i can so relate with both Neha n Shalini as your names …Neha that too with Chanchal following it does sound lil strange but as you said speaks of youthful lively chirpy girl….which mind you – You Are ! well not always though …Shalini on other hand potrays a Modest lady …which you are …so sweets i feels both describe u pretty well although Shalini is more on longer term sorts ….love thy name ! ooops Namess

  4. Priya / Apr 12 2010 6:26 am

    im a part of this story, still remember rolling on the floor when i first heard “neha CHANCHAL” !! 😉 well actually, i know a lot of people have supported you that it doesn’t matter what your name is……well IT DOES! we still would have been as good frnds as we are today, bu i wud hav always thought of ur name as FUNNY! 🙂
    love u shalini, n if this helps to motivate you.. KEEP writing sweetheart!

    • Shalini Ambastha / Apr 13 2010 12:40 pm

      Even though this comment was forcibly extracted from you, it DOES motivate me Piriya…..Thankooooo 😉

  5. Suchitra / Apr 13 2010 8:12 am

    so my dear roomie, has nt forgotten dat incident yet 😛 😛 ……….. well as I sd earlier, I like both Neha n Chanclal more than I like Shalini. Infact ur personality to a large extent relates to wat Chanchal means. But ders 1 point dats worth noting, I like dem separately, and yes “Neha Chanchal” is funny 😛 😛 …….. and my dear, ders nothing much in name, I like YOU irrespective of u being shalini or neha chanchal. So i guess Shakespeare wins here. 🙂 🙂

  6. Kavita A / Apr 16 2010 12:04 pm

    welcome to the world of ramblings n rants!!
    I love u as shalu more..
    more than a chirpy lil girl, u are my confident and shaleen sweet girl, much stronger than what a lovable neha would have been.. so the decision was good.. change is welcome when its for the best 😉

    n bout the above allegations… the joke got dragged cos of ur reaction :* alas i have to EXPLAINNNN it 😛 hehehe

    miss u shalu.. n craving for a bear hug 😀

    • Shalini Ambastha / Apr 16 2010 12:12 pm

      Love you for such a lovely comment Daddu, woh bhi bina maange :p Ek sabse bada waala bhaaloo hug especially tere liye!! 😉

  7. ragini / Apr 16 2010 2:46 pm

    Oh Shali……….you are a lovable person and we all admire you alot! Just be the way you are………..muuuuuuha! Well I was already aware about ‘Khushboooooooooo’ so it was not a shocking story for me, but nice, keep writing! And don’t pay any mind to people who make fun of it cuz even they love you alot and probably it was exaggerated cuz you reacted, and we all know HOW YOU REACT……hahahahhahhahaha!
    Love you
    Kuuchi Poochi
    :*

  8. Purba / Apr 27 2010 12:02 pm

    it brings back to me the memories of a chirpy little girl, shortest in her class but with big dreams in her eyes, ready to take on the world.

    That’s me…that’s me…

    Btw I like Shalini better.

    • Shalini Ambastha / Apr 27 2010 2:30 pm

      Hey Purba,

      Thanks a ton for visiting, can’t tell you how happy n honoured I feel right now….I am a regular follower and have read all your posts, just that I am kind of a silent reader.

      btw, even I prefer Shalini 🙂

  9. Bharat / May 21 2010 3:28 am

    Hey Shalini, Just happend to come across your post and trust me I liked it. As for your name, Guess its the person that holds more importance than what he or she is called by. I feel both Neha Chanchal and Shalini personify you as your dad and uncle could sense in your behavior. Am sure you must be a pretty active girl in childhood as you are now.

    Keep writing, have’nt read too many blogs but liked your simple and down to earth style.

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