July 29, 2009

What's in a Name?

What's common between Tharangambadi, Kozhikode, Vishakapatnam, Vandavasi, Mangalavaram?? Well, as you might have guessed it, these are the original names of places in India but they are often known by their British/Danish/French names than their old, traditional names. Queer, isn't it?? My dad used to tell me this story of the Hamilton bridge in Chennai alias Madras:-) Apparently, the locals couldn't pronounce the word 'Hamilton' correctly and it got corrupted to Ambattan (means barber) bridge. Later, the English named it Barber's bridge:); its still called Barber's bridge even today!
Similarly, politicians rename streets... its some activity for them! But if you take Chennai for example, people still say Mount Road for Anna Salai, its still Lloyds Road instead of Avvai Shunmugam Salai, definitely Chamiers Road for Pasumpon Muthuramalingam Salai, still Lattice Bridge Road instead of Kalki Krishnamoorthy Road and nobody ever says Uthamar Gandhi Salai for Nungambakkam High Road!!!!!! Most recently, we have an IT corridor that is called Rajiv Gandhi Salai officially but everyone either says IT corridor or OMR, the official name is just a board on the Street beginning.
So, what makes a name tick??

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