There is nothing in a name, Shakespeare wanted us to believe. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.That was several hundred years ago. Even at that time, names did matter. Otherwise, why would Shakespeare talk about this? In today’s world when people attach more value to appearances than to innate qualities,names matter much more.
Often, we know the name of a person before meeting him or her. We immediately form an image in our mind about the age and attitude of the person.If it is an old-fashioned name, the image is that of an old and obstinate person – a person difficult to deal with.If the name sounds modern, the image is that of a young person with forward-looking attitude.The image may not match the reality, but it prevents us from looking at the person with an open mind.Even before meeting us, the person has lost the benefit of our unbiased or objective approach.
In another sense also, names do matter.If one has a pleasing first name, others would like to call one by that name.This will pave the way for a warm personal relationship.If the first name is odd, difficult or tongue-twisting, others would avoid using it and call the person by his or her surname.This will bring in a formal touch to the relationship.If both the name and surname are difficult, it would be a completely hopeless case.
People try to hide their odd-sounding names more than they try to hide their vices. Some try to modernise their old-fashioned names in innovative ways. Some take legal recourse to change their names. The last option is like cosmetic surgery with one striking difference. After cosmetic surgery, one cannot see what it corrected, but after change of name, many would continue to call one by one’s previous name out of ignorance or mischief.