The Odd Name - Vedang Sati


Vedang is an above average writer blogging about life in general.


Read below to amaze at his excellent writing skills:


People in India are gravely obsessed with a name's meaning and this I can tell from experience. Each person here is somehow motivated to find out the exact definition of your name. Here, names are important; some people are judged by their names; others made fun of and bullied.

There are unoriginal names such as Gaurav Pandey, Aakash Agarwal or Aakansha Sharma which are pretty self-explanatory to every common Indian. Nobody will bother asking question after question about such names; for they are simple. Gaurav is pride, Aakash, the sky and Aakansha is hope or desire.

But every once in a while will come a title that brings with it a feeling of discomfort to the one who's bearing it. Take mine for example, my name is a poor amalgamation of an unfamiliar first name and to add insult to injury, an infamous surname: vedang sati. Unheard of, misunderstood, because socially incorrect.

It does make me giggle at times though. Throughout my school years, I have tried hard to explain the meanings of the two words which were gifted to me by birth. Example, a new teacher would enter classroom and start taking introductions to kill time.

Each student would rise up at his/her place and speak out their names loud and clear. So it went; one after another; all the generic names, pronounced and understood effortlessly by everyone, and just about then…

"My name is Vedang Sati," I would say, and the teacher would instantly be taken by surprise upon hearing the sound of those two peculiar words. The class would silently giggle.

Why, first of all, because Vedang is an offbeat first name, how many do you know, and secondly because Sati was a shameful practice in ancient India whereby a widow threw herself on to her dead husband's funeral pyre. Do you even understand how I must have felt every single time?

I must point out that Sati as in my surname designates originally the goddess rather than the rite; the rite itself has other technical names such as anvarohana ("ascension to the pyre"), sahagamana ("going with") and sahamarana ("dying with")

However, the Indian Commission of Sati Prevention Act, 1987 defined sati as the act or rite itself. On the other hand, the term suttee was made popular by the Anglo-Indian writers who could not probably read or comprehend the other sanskrit terms. Therefore, the word sati was made use of frequently and extensively in the radio announcements, magazine articles and newspaper stories back in the day.

But just so you know, sati was originally a name only; according to the Hindu legend, she was infuriated when her husband received contempt by her own family. I don’t understand why but in the fit of rage she invoked her yogic powers and dissolved her body in a blazing fire.

Whatever that might be, I can very well understand as to why the difficult Sanskrit words namely, anvarohana, sahagamana or sahamarana were not used by anybody. Firstly, as I mentioned before, they are hard to pronounce by all. As a result, a transition from noun to verb seemed only logical because people here, in india, as I mentioned even before, get easily fazed by strange, difficult long names; they tend to ignore or forget them.

But if the common person is to remember this traditional practice of the worst kind, I must admit that the word sati was vilified for a good reason. The atrocities against women must not be forgotten so that such acts aren’t repeated like ever!

I must mention though the origin of sati people: we come from the Himalayan regions such as uttarakhand and himachal where goddess sati is greatly revered. So my surname is that, just the name; not the rite itself!

Why do I have to explain or write about this? Because their eyes pop out whenever they see my name on a form I filled or whenever they hear my name for first time; they judge me instantly as if I was somehow responsible for the thing which was merely handed down to me!

But thankfully, my ill-famed surname could also become a source of amusement for many. My supposed friends used to scream Sati Savitri quite openly; I did feel a little hurt due to it in the beginning because it was just that: name calling! But eventually I didn’t mind a lot; the phrase grew on me; I learned to grow with it.

There is also another advantage to having a distinctive name which I must mention. That I can set my custom username on social media or email without having to use numbers or underscores or other ugly characters.

Why, because think about this for a moment: there could be thousands of Aakash Agarwals or Gaurav Pandeys or Aakansha Sharmas in India but there is possibly and hopefully only one Vedang Sati.

If not, though, even then, I am the first Vedang Sati because that username people has been taken; hence, a happy ending, after all!



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