Home Chennai Nailing the Name

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    TM Soundararajan is a household name in Tamil Nadu. A playback singer beyond compare, he was the trademark voice of Sivaji Ganesan and MGR in countless hits. A friend of a friend often poked fun at his a�?ganeer kurala�� (Tamil euphemism for being a�?high on decibelsa��) by labelling him as SOUNDararajan. That set me thinking. Does the name forebode your profession?
    Is it an uncanny coincidence that William Wordsworth turned out to be a poet, Margaret Court became a tennis player, and Usain Bolt chose to be a sprinter? Actually, many wise people have applied their mind to this hypothesis.
    Celebrated psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung saw a meaningful pattern in it. Chicago columnist Franklin Pierce Adams went a step further and coined the word a�?aptronyma�� to chronicle names that match the occupation of a person.
    From the evidence in hand, one can safely say that aptronyms are not as commonplace as the hair on Anil Kapoora��s chest or cuss words on Virat Kohlia��s lips. But they are not a rare commodity either.
    The New Scientist magazine was once famously flummoxed when they received an article on the polar regions from a Daniel Snowman and a piece on Subterranean London from one Richard Trench.
    There are many more chucklesome examples on the internet. Leta��s start with Sara Louise Blizzard. A weather presenter on BBC, shea��s apparently weathered many a storm with her surname. Then therea��s Dr Kevin De Cock, of the World Health Organisation. The genital man (oopsa�� gentleman), predictably heads their AIDS project. Journalist William Headline was often described by reputed anchor Wolf Blitzer as having the a�?best name in newsa�� as everything about him was headline material.
    The eeriest one Ia��ve heard is Dr Russell Brain. He grew up to be an authoritative neurologist. Another name thata��s likely to make you go a�?good heavensa�� is Alan Heavens. Hea��s a renowned professor at the Imperial College London teaching astrophysics.
    Everyonea��s perennial favourite is Sue Yoo. Shea��s currently the legal director at Verizon. From what one hears, the serial digs at her name made her consider turning a lawyer. At the other end of the crime spectrum is Christopher Coke. Hea��s a Jamaican drug lord with cocaine literally in his veins. They say his dad Lester Coke was an even bigger snorter. Ia��ll sign off with Thomas Crapper. True to his name, he founded a company that made the flushing toilet ubiquitous. If that didna��t unnerve you, nothing else will.

    Anantha Narayan


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