Being Pisapati

Train journeys are marked by experiences where you end up talking to a stranger like a long lost friend, often without even knowing their first name.

And I’m sure we all know that person in the office, or in college who we wave to and say ‘Hi!’ every time we see him/her, and later scratch our heads and think – “I really ought to find out his/her name”.

William Shakespeare once said, “What’s in a name?”. I think if his name was William Pisapati he would beg to differ.

Quite a few experiences throughout my life have been the result of carrying the surname Pisapati. For those who don’t know, the name doesn’t mean anything. It is said to be derived from a village’s name in Andhra Pradesh. No need to memorize – I think quizzers and interviewers have better things to ask. Unless, and that’s a BIG unless a) you are a Pisapati or b) you plan on getting married to me someday.

Here are the nominees for the fondest bittersweet memories of the name, ‘Pisapati’:

1. The Slap:  It is the year.. okay I don’t know the exact year. But I’m fairly sure it was either class 3 or 4. Those were the days when there was no Friends or Big Bang Theory to laugh about, and surnames like mine were just perfect.

We were standing in a queue in our first Art class, when our teacher was handing out sketch books. My turn came, and she asked, “Name?”. “Pisapati Kishore“. The girl standing directly behind me broke into a fit of giggles. The next thing she knew, the teacher had given her a sound slap. My somber face was enough to hide my satisfaction. 

Of course, we were all kids – so in the offhand chance she is reading this – I FORGIVE YOU, child. No hard feelings.

2. Scientific Unit: This is not a memory in particular, but when I studied science in school and came across names like Newton, Joule etc – I made a mental note to myself, that if ever I was to become a scientist, and somehow discover a new scientific quantity to be measured – I would make the unit ‘Pisapati’. Then the whole world would’ve to get used to it.

Don’t laugh. I’m not ruling out the possibility. I can make the future of generations of kids to come, a little less comfortable.

3. And the laughter died: I had just moved from Gujarat to Noida. It is my first day of 10th class in KV Noida. The roll call concludes, and the class teacher announces that there are two new students in the class: “Pisapati Kishore?” 

Yes Ma’am“, came a small voice from the last desk. Sniggers could be heard all over the class. I was quite obviously red-faced.
Kishore, you stood first in your school in 9th Class?
Yes Ma’am“. The voice came from a swelled chest this time.

The laughter had stopped.

Of course, the so called achievement seems insignificant now, but back then it was sufficient to wipe off the sneers.

4. Mathematics: Just when I thought I’d seen the end of jibes on my name, the new math teacher arrived. One day, he noticed my full name, and said, “Pisapati. Yeh kaisa naam hai bhai? Iska matlab hai – jo aadmi pisa hua hai !

Laughter. Smiling with the crowd, and suppressing the seething rage within, was a herculean task. I was on the verge of making fun of his name as well, which in all fairness was equally funny.

By the end of the year, he was telling other teachers proudly – “Yeh Kishore hai. Bohot hoshiyar ladka hai. Brilliant student”

I think I was the best.

Today I don’t feel any resentment towards the name, or the people who laugh at it. It has become a signature of my uniqueness, and it sticks to people’s memories.

Enough for now. Off to wipe a few more, and plant a lot more smiles.

Pisapati and proud.

8 thoughts on “Being Pisapati

  1. @Aravind: Yo!
    @Ira: I know Sidin Vadukut – have read the dork series, in which the protagonist is a south Indian. He is also a writer for cricinfo. I'm aware of his humor 😀


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