In her growing-up years in Khar and Borivali, if little Annamma disliked anything intensely, it was her name. “The moment I would say Annamma, people would have this funny expression on their faces. Some would mispronounce it, others would ask all kinds of questions about it,” says Sharon Bokka, who changed her name over a decade ago.
Her schoolmates and teachers never made fun of her, yet the name gave her an inferiority complex. The desire for a new name started when she was in high school but her parents would have none of it. “It was my grandmother’s name and it was a good name, they said, so why change it,” recalls Sharon.
She lived with the name even though she felt it sounded very “South Indian and rural”. But when she got her first job as a receptionist, her colleagues used to pronounce her name in different ways and this irritated her greatly. “I became determined to get a ‘normal’ name. Though my family was still reluctant, they had to give in.”
How did she choose the new name? “I simply liked Sharon,” she says. “Once I changed my name, I became confident and that helped during my job interviews. Now, whenever I mention my name during phone conversations, it has a positive effect on people.”