Amusing Nick Names
by Vaman Acharya
After retirement from the bank’s service, Vasu decided to utilize the spare time for some good purposes like reading, writing and sharing his views with others and getting feedback from them. One day after lunch, as usual, he took a round near his house. His attention was diverted towards some children who were playing a game of hide & seek. The unbearable afternoon heat did not stop the children. The kids were feeling comfortable under the shadow of big trees. The day being a Sunday, these kids were enjoying the holiday.
The kids were calling each other by nick names. Vasu knows names of all the children. Out of curiosity, he called all the children and offered toffees. Children became happy and expressed their thanks. He asked Rohan, “Why do you call Abhay Doremon? Why does Abhay call you Chota Bheem? Why has Raghu’s name been changed to Right Raghu? “Uncle, Abhay’s favorite TV show is Doremon. He never misses watching the serial. My pet TV show is Chota Bheem. I never allow others to disturb me when I’m watching it. Raghu has this peculiar habit of using the word ‘right ‘for everything irrespective of the situation,” replied Rohan with a smile.
Vasu told all the children to go back and continue their play. He immediately recollected the memory of about three decades back with his colleagues in the bank. It was about amusing nick names and its subsequent jolly events. By the time he started recollecting the past events; he was in the balcony of his house. It was the place where he could get ideas continuously.
In those days, it was a common practice in the bank to call colleagues by nick names instead of their real name. These nick names were used in their absence by some other colleagues. Nicknames are a substitute of a name given to a person for the purpose of fun. They can also be used to shorten a person’s name, like Monya for Mohan, Srini for Srinivas Pammi for Parimala and Nagu for Nagamani. Nick names may give positive or negative meaning. Hurtful nick names can certainly lower a person’s reputation and self-esteem. Funny nick names give the person a sense of pride.
In the bank, nick names were usually funny to suggest about a person. Virtually, there were two groups among the staff. One group belonged to self-proclaimed intelligent guys. Another group belongs to silent workers who went about without making a tom ‘tom of things. The latter group decided to teach a lesson to the former. The sole purpose of the second group was to stop their undesirable boasting. Why nick names were given to selected few colleagues?
The staff members, whose nature was simple, formed a group. They met in the canteen regularly to chat about other group members. One member would start with the interesting events about the so called brilliant members’ group’s attitude and day-to-day work in the bank. Vasu would narrate stories about them. Rest of the members would then add or explain fresh happenings to make it more humorous. The participants, over a sip of coffee, were cutting humorous jokes about them. If the matter was really interesting, they would order coffee a second time. They were laughing so loudly that other customers in the canteen would eagerly watch them. The proprietor of the canteen encouraged such type of activity. Most of the staff and customers of the canteen knew the bank staff. But they didn’t know what nick names were given to whom. Even the proprietor of the canteen was unaware of the nick names. By the time the consumption of coffee was over, they would finish chatting. The members of the first group were of the view that they were best in all respects. These staff members preferred to keep a distance from the other group.
The sole purpose of such talk from the latter group was to spend some time have a little fun. There was no ill intention behind this. The only intention was to curb their pride. Vasu was working in a bank’s branch with twenty five staff members. All were in the age group of 35 to 40 years. The funny names like Baldie, Teasie, Tallie, Shortie, Fatie and Slimmie were given to the so called brilliant colleagues.
Due to their undesirable attitude, other staff members decided to counter attack them. These members thought of giving a befitting reply to mend their nature. At the time of discussion, they selected the above mentioned nick names with the consent of the other members who were present. The purpose of keeping the amusing nick names was only enjoyment.
There are funny stories behind each of these nick names. Surender was a bald person and so his nick name was Baldie. He had a peculiar habit of saying ‘impossible can be turned in to possible only when you have dedication and determination’, for everything. He thought using big words would enhance his knowledge and others would respect him as a learned man. His statements would sound good but he would have no answer if anybody asked him questions about the statements. On another occasion, he had said that one shouldn’t underestimate or neglect bald people. Bald people always exhibit boldness was his view. He further said that most of the bald people are adventurous. Vasu immediately asked him why he ran away when the fire had broken out in the bank, about a month back; although the lady staff members were present at that crucial time. Surender was unable to answer. He was in the habit of standing before the mirror and trimming the little amount of hair he had with the help of a comb. On these topics, there was a discussion among the colleagues attended by Vasu. One of the participants in the discussion asked whether Surender can turn his scalp from bald to a scalp full of hair by dedication and determination? How does he become bold being bald? Everybody was laughing at these questions.
Ramesh, another member of the self-styled intelligent group had an excellent skill of disposing off work very fast irrespective of the nature of work. He was one of the prominent members of the group. It was true that he enjoyed respect from co-workers and superiors. His only drawback was whoever was slow at work, he would tease them by quoting his own example. Sometimes, he was in the bad habit of insulting others. Teasie was the best suited nick name for him. He used to tease others without giving scope for others to tease him. A colleague belonging to another group was insulted by Ramesh. He could not tolerate his insult and asked Ramesh, “How many mistakes do you commit when in a hurry to furnish the figures to the Head Office?” He showed the statement prepared by him without a single mistake. Ramesh had no option except to say sorry.
Tallie’s real name was Rajasekhar. He was proud of his height. There was a record room in the bank. The height of the room’s door was less and a caution, ‘Mind your head’ was written in bold letters above the door. Rajasekhar forgot to see the caution and got his head hit several times. On the other hand, Amarnath was short and he could enter the same room without any problem. So, he was nick named ‘Shortie’. Nobody thought of entrusting the record room duty to Amaranath.
Another staff member, Makarand was fat. Mrudula, a lady staff was also fat. In the absence of both, one of the other group members said Makarand and Mrudula would be suitable pairs to become life partners. Made for each other was perfectly suited for them. Makarand was nick named as Fattie.
Bahubali was a current account ledger keeper. In those days, the current account ledgers were heavy and impossible to lift from the counter. He being slim and weak, could not move the ledgers. The staff and customers were laughing at him, when he was attempting to move the ledger. He was given the nick name ‘Slimie’. His parents named him Bahubali with the desire of making him a wrestler. But his fate was different. He became slim and weak. The nick names given to all these members matched exactly with their personality.
The calling of nicknames was stopped for ever only after three years when all the staff members were transferred to different places. There was a send-off function for Ramesh on the eve of his transfer. He told in his brief speech about the nick names given to him and other few members. He took it in good sense and expressed thanks on behalf of the other members. He further told, as long as the intention was good, there was no harm in calling people by their nick names.
By the time Vasu came out of the memories of the past, inside another room, the telephone was ringing continuously. He went to the room to attend the call. *****