A lot in a name !


By T S Sudhir

There was jubiliation in the hospital ward. Lisa Murphy had delivered a baby boy. It was Christmas and Lisa and her husband Philip looked at the little bundle, wrapped in pink and thought of him as a gift from Santa Claus.

“What shall we name him, Philip?” asked Lisa, looking fondly at her tiny possession.

“We waited eight years for him to be born. Let us thank God. So why not we name him `Thankyou’? I know it will be quite a unique sounding name,” said Philip.

Lisa agreed and so `Thankyou’ it was. The name was entered into the birth certificate and Thankyou Murphy became one of his kind in the world.

As he grew up, the first question that any stranger would ask after the initial cuddling would be, “What is your name, little boy?”

And Thankyou would say “Thankyou.”

“What good manners this sweet kid has,” they would exclaim, before repeating the question.

“But what is your name?” And Thankyou would say `Thankyou’. Again and again and again, till they understood.

Lisa and Philip soon realised they had committed a blunder and that Thankyou would grow up confusing everyone in the world. But with Thankyou already going to school, it was too late to change his name. So Thankyou it would have to be.

As the years went by, Thankyou grew up to be an exasperated kid. Tired of his name. Tired of everyone asking him his name again and again. Thankyou would get so angry that he hated the word `thankyou’ and would actually never thank anyone who helped him.

“He is growing up to be quite an ill-mannered child,” said Philip one day, when Thankyou was 7 years old. “Today when my friend Thomas complimented Thankyou on his new blue sweater, he just gave him a dirty look and walked past.”

“Oh, Philip, what to do. When our new neighbour asked him his name the other day, he grunted, `My name is Thankyou and please don’t ask it again’ and walked away in a huff. You know how he feels about his name,” said Lisa.

But all that changed the day the new Moral Science teacher Elizabeth Jones joined Thankyou’s school.

She began by introducing herself and then asked the students to do the same. Every student got up and said his or her name. Thankyou was sitting on the third bench. When his turn came, he in order to give a good impression, smiled and said, “My name is Thankyou. Thankyou Murphy.”

“That is such a delightful name,” said Elizabeth. “Why did your parents name you Thankyou?”

“They wanted to thank God by naming me Thankyou,” replied Thankyou.

“That is such a noble thought,” said Elizabeth. “Students, let us give a round of applause to Thankyou’s parents.”

After the introductions were over, Elizabeth began. “Thankyou’s name is such a perfect takeoff for my first lesson today. All of us tend to take so many things for granted in the world. That someone should keep our roads clean, our room clean, our bed clean without ever bothering to thank the people who actually take the effort to do that for us. For example, the cleaner who cleans the road, our mothers who clean our room and bed after we leave for school. Don’t they deserve a thankyou from us for what they do for us?” said Elizabeth.

“And here we have Thankyou’s parents who gave such an unusual name to their son so that everyday they thank God for giving them such a wonderful son.”

Thankyou was blushing. Only today he realised the true significance of his unique name. And he vowed he will never be ashamed of his name ever.

That evening, Thankyou went home and hugged Lisa and Philip and told them what his teacher had said. “Mom and Dad, thankyou for bringing me into the world and giving me such a meaningful name,” said Thankyou.

The next day, Thankyou’s parents went to the school to meet Elizabeth. To tell her what a big problem she had solved and of course, to say thankyou to her.

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About t s sudhir & uma sudhir

Uma Sudhir and T S Sudhir are senior journalists, based in Hyderabad. Both work for NDTV. Uma is a Tamilian, who was educated in
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