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The unpredictability of Life

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Staying on the other side of the world and following the US elections was an interesting journey I should stay. Watching the primaries and then the conventions was an experience. What stood out for me was the day of results. Being about twelve hours ahead of Washington,  just as the day starts for us,  it is prime time in US. So just as polling was going on we had our sleep and was up well rested to see the much expected results. As I turned on the news the special coverage host was sharing with the available data how it would be easy for Hillary Clinton to become the next president and how it was almost impossible for Trump to become President. As results were being announced before we could realize, Trump was leading and it was becoming impossible for Hillary to win. Even as America was voting silently in my home country overnight the money was demonetized. Suddenly people had to go through the hassle of changing their money.  That’s how unpredictable life is.something-bad-happens-life-quotes-sayings-pictures

A casual visit to the doctor ends up in life changing diagnosis. We go to work to give our best, and we come home without a job because the company is not doing well or our project has no funds or just the changing market. We loose our house because there was an earthquake, floods or some natural disasters. The reality of terrorism is everywhere that no place on earth is safe any more. What you believe is recognized in some places but takes us into hiding in other places.

Life has moved from living safe predictable lives, to being able to live through the unpredictability and coming out victorious at the end of the day.

Some of the ways we can live this unpredictable life.

  • Choose to live life, face the unpredictabilityno-matter-how-good-or-bad-you-think-life-is-wakeup-each-day-and-be-thankful-for-life-someone-somewhere-else-is-fighting-to-survive-1 and still make our life  worthwhile.
  • Be sure of what you believe as what you believe will help you go through life.
  • Invest time with people who will help you go through these times.
  • Never wait for things to settle down as before an issue settles, another would have risen.
  • Learn to enjoy life in the midst of unpredictability.

 

Now that’s my Name

Sherene Ellen Sornamalar Rajaratnam was the name lovingly decided by Dr. Rajaratnam Abel and Dr. Jolly Rajaratnam for their daughter, me. When I was four, my dad got namean opportunity to study abroad, so off we went as a family and as protocol would have it, my name was added into my moms passport (those days kids did not have separate passports) in its full length.

After a year abroad we came back to India,  I joined school, I grew and before I knew, I was in my tenth grade. Our tenth grade mark sheet being an official document,to prove one’s identity, the school sent a form asking for our official names. Not realising the caios it would cause in my life, the form was submitted with the name ‘Sornamalar’ dropped. The wisdom of my parents at that time suggesting that I go by  “Sherene Rajaratnam’ was overruled by the love of my middle name. ‘Sherene Ellen Rajaratnam’ was my official name till my passport went for renewal a few years later.

‘This is not the same person, your passport cannot be issued’ was the verdict of the passport office, as the name on the application ‘Sherene Ellen Rajaratnam’ did not match the name in their records ‘Sherene Ellen Sornamalar Rajaratnam’. After all the legal hassels and a lot of running around to change my name, which included publishing in the government gazette and local newspaper, I finally got my passport to find that my name was still ‘Sherene Ellen Sornamalar Rajaratnam’.  All our efforts seemed wasted. Thankfully it did not cause trouble with my travels abroad.

The most annoying experience with my name happened when i started a joint account with my husband. By this time I was hoping to change my name to ‘Sherene John’ (once I had a passport with the name ‘Sherene Ellen Rajaratnam’). It was the time personalised ATM cards were launched. ‘Sherene John’ was the choice for the name on my ATM card (they assured me that it would not cause any problems). As time went by I realised that the checks I signed were not getting encashed. On probing we found that while the bank went digital they had entered my name  as “Sherene John” and had forgotten to store my signature. To add my signature, they just needed a document saying I was “Sherene John”. Now where will I go for that? This was needed even to close the account. So on advise from the bank we had to abandon and start a new bank account with the original name ‘Sherene Ellen Rajaratnam’. By this time I was getting annoyed with the filling of applications for colleges, banks and other government documents with my long name. There were times I did not have enough space to fit my long name.

Time went on…. our son was born and he needed a passport. The procedure included my passport being endorsed in my husband’s and my husband’s passport in mine after which both our passports were included in my son’s. Thankfully with the other documents the passport office put my name as ‘Sherene Ellen Rajaratnam’ in my husband’s and son’s passport. Finally my passport went for an address change and the passport office issued a passport  with the name “Sherene Ellen Rajaratnam”. Time for celebration and change!!!

Life went on and we moved countries – Indonesia and now Vietnam. Our passport has become our lifeline. Now to think of the nightmare of changing my name and have it reflect in my passport, my husband’s,my son’s, our residence permits etc, etc  we as a family have decided to stick with my maiden name for life.

After years of dropping my name “Sornamalar” I had an interesting experience. In Asian culture names carry a lot of significance. Somebody I met recently asked what my name was in my mother tongue? I thought that my parents did not give me one. It was then I was reminded of my name “Sornamalar” and found out it meant a golden flower.  I had never liked that name but realised the love with which my parents had given me that name. It was also from my grandma’s name “SornaKani”.

As much as it is cute and significant to have many names practically speaking its good to just have one name. There’s nothing in a name but this name helps us identify who we are and makes us unique. It isn’t worth having multiple names  My parents had realized this as my brother has only one name, our son too has only one name other than his surname.

This blog is the gazette of the social media to announce that I hear by will revert to my official name Sherene Ellen Rajaratnam. Moving countries and making new friends I need to stick to my official name never know where they will be looking for me!!!