Has it been half a decade since Cybernag was born? (I am saying half a decade because it sounds more impressive than saying ‘five years’ 🙂 ) Considering there are veterans who have been blogging for close to a decade or more, I am but a novice. Even so, it has been an eventful five years when I have learnt a lot about blogging and the blogging world, discovered some wonderful blogs and made great friends.
I thought I should commemorate the event, but lazy that I am, I am just updating an old teaser post which tries to explain the oxymoron that my blog seems to be in terms of its names — Cybernag and Zephyr. And oh, there is one important addition to the post — no, I am not going to say what it is. Read and find out! The comment section had produced some very interesting responses, including a couple from my brother.
When I made contact on FB with an old friend whom I have not met for over two decades, the first thing she asked me was, ‘What’s with the pseudonym?’ I told her Zephyr was not a pseudonym, but my NAME. ‘So when did you change your name?’ she shot back.
It is a long story folks, so sit back…
I was named after my paternal grandmother, as is the custom with most Tamil families. (Read Sudha’s post on this hilarious custom) But my folks were seized with a sense of adventure perhaps and so added a suffix to her original name, and that proved my undoing in terms of a name.
Living in Nagpur during my school and college days, my name always stood out, or rather made me stand out. The north Indians could not pronounce it and often caused kolaveri in me to hear it being mispronounced. And when on the rare occasions I had to go to the stage to get some prize or the other, everyone craned their necks to see who the girl with the weird sounding name was.
If you thought it was hard for me in the north with that name, it was worse in the south. It was a girl’s name in Kerala and a boy’s in Tamil Nadu. This meant that when I lived for a few years in Tamil Nadu, I had to bear the snickers of fellow students. Added to that there was a politician by that name at that time and whenever he was in the news, the snickers increased in volume. So I had to bear the cross of my name in addition to the other insecurities and confusions of teenage. Poor me!
That was when I began dreaming of a name that no one would be able to stereotype or mock. And one day, I suddenly came across the word that would become my name — Zephyr. Mmmm…it was such a soft, lyrical and musical word. It carried no gender tag nor regional identification. And so I became Zephyr and soared in my own world. I didn’t talk about it to anyone but it gave me invisible wings to fly when my feet felt fettered. Unrestrained and free, I wafted through my teenage years, light as the breeze the word meant.
I used to toy with the idea of changing my name to Zephyr ever so often. But since changing one’s name back in the 70s was unheard of unless for professional reasons, I had to remain content with just fantasizing about it. How I wish I had had the courage to change it! But then, it wouldn’t have been too different an experience for me actually. People would still have wondered who the woman with the unusual name was and would have craned their necks in any public place where my name happened to be called out. The name would also have confounded anyone who wanted to place me vis-à-vis a geographical location, only this time I would have got questioned as to whether I was a foreigner.
So I remained Zephyr in my mind till emails came to India in the late 90s. That finally gave me the chance to actually become one. I assumed it as my default username in all the accounts I created and maintained. I had finally got a personality albeit a virtual one! And when my blog came into being, I decided to blog as Zephyr. But it was an oxymoron of sorts – a nag who was also a gentle breeze. I didn’t care,because finally the world would know me as Zephyr!
While my real name is not a secret nor do I want to be incognito, my assumed name has given me my ‘virtual’ identity and I cherish that. Many of my friends call me Zephyr even after coming to know my real world name, much to my delight. Others say, ‘I prefer calling you Zephyr!’, warming my cockles further. Sometimes I feel my virtual name is my real one and not vice versa!
If you feel I am not a Zephyr, you can always call me Cybernag! I am okay with both 🙂 Don’t you think the two names represent the yin and yang of my blog?
And just in case you are still curious, the name is Mani – Thangamani! But folks, please continue addressing me by my real name, won’t you?