Say my name!

"Bubz, you know I'm with you because of your name?", asked Sid. Before I could open my mouth in indignation, he cut me off (characteristically!), "It was a rhetorical question".  I looked at him in disbelief. Cutting me to the quick again he continued, full steam ahead, "Well not only because of your name, I like that you celebrate Christmas!" I looked at him, beginning to regret that rather long wait at the Gurgaon District Court four years ago when a disinterested District Commissioner pronounced us woman and husband (I'll never regret the wedding ceremonies to follow, I looked rather splendid if I may say so!). I decided to wedge my way in when a disoriented fly caused him to lose his train of thought and brisk pace.  "What utter rubbish, are you drunk? Who in the world prioritizes a rather unisex sounding name and a fat man in red over beauty, virtue, love, friendship and all that jazz?"

His reaction was rather lazy. Swatting the confused fly into oblivion, he looked me straight in the eye and said, "I speak the truth".  I looked around and then back at him, "Who are you talking to you freak? What have you done with my husband, what's with the words like "rhetorical" and "truth"? We barely get past 'you shaddup, no you shaddup', then I smack you, you pretend to be mortally wounded and we giggle like children".  He smiled into the distance wisely, as if looking from afar at a fond memory.  "Well, I've been doing a lot of thinking, and there's a lot to a name. I think your's is very cool. It's different, it sounds like a nickname, but it's not and you can substitute it in so many songs". He went on to belt out a shocking version of "All I have to doooo is Ree-ee-eeem, reem, reem, reem", building up into what he thought was a Steven Tyler-esque "Reem onnnn, reem onnnn" and was cut short by me before he could crescendo into "Cream" by Prince.

"Though I find your extensive knowledge of songs that rhyme with my name commendable, albeit typical (the number of times the same songs have come up is phenomenal!) you do realize that you're often called Mrs. Khokhar because you supposedly have the less masculine sounding name out of the two of us? It's not just because you squeaked on the phone while talking to that hotel receptionist!". He brushed this minor inconvenience aside while I continued, "The number of times I've been called Mr. Khokhar or corrected by all-knowing strangers"

(Stupid stranger): "Miss Reema?"
(Me): "No, it's Reem."
(Increasingly stupid stranger): "You mean Dream, what a different name!"
(Me): "Yes, it's totally different. It's Reem"
(Good-grief-what-a-dumb-stranger): "Prem"
(Me): "Nope, still Reem"

"Who called you Prem?, he asked. "Well it was college, I had a rather desirable professor. He was taking roll call and said "Jennifer (present), Pratap (sleeping), Shayoni (doing the crossword), Prem (yes'suh!)" He looked at me in disbelief, "What?", I asked, "Did you not hear me say "dee-si-rable"? He could have called me anything he wanted I would have responded. Besides, 'Prem' meaning love and all of that, it really meant something to me coming from him"! He kept shaking his head, "What have I married?"

"Oh forget Prem-Shame, you mean to tell me if I was a Reem by any other name, I wouldn't smell as sweet"? He looked puzzled so I helped him out impatiently as always, "Any other name, you wouldn't have been with me?". He paused before getting back to me. "So Christmas is still on the table"? he asked hesitantly, resulting in a delicate explosion from my side. "Oh for god's sake man, keep Christmas"! He hastily added, "Well it depends what it was. I'm averse to the Sweeties, Lovelies, Shaheen's, Parveez's...". I cut him off before he could go any further with his black-listing, "You do realize that my sister is called Shaheen and you've thinly masked your dislike for my father's name 'Parvez' by adding an extra 'e'".  Caught like a deer in the headlights, he surrendered. "Ok, I don't not like 'Parvez', I just wouldn't like any variation of it on a girl. And Shaheen means 'big bird'. It's just wrong!"  I was hurt, "I think they're splendid names! Splendid! And Shaheen means 'royal falcon' not 'big bird. She's not some character of Sesame Street you know!". He obviously disagreed with this and continued. "It's confusing as well. Remember when Ritesh's dadi thought her name was 'Shine' and when someone asked the meaning of her name, Dadi chipped in helpfully with "Shine! Arrey Shine ka matlab chamak"!  She looked quite surprised that it wasn't Shine, and I would have been too. Helluva lot better than big bird"!

I was hurt. "I would be with you no matter what you were called.".  Sid patted my head indulgently, "There, there bubz, no need to pretend that you're the better man. We all know that if I weren't pretty, you wouldn't have looked at me. I got the looks and you got the smarts, it's all good"!  I slapped his hand away, resulting in lots of clutching and shrieking "My hand, my hand, you've broken it. Damn you and your freakish strength, I'll never wave again"! I ignored him while walking away before I was gripped by the recently crippled arm, "Aww bubz, just kidding. I'd also be with you even if you were Lovely"!  We hugged and made up, but it didn't last long. He pulled away as a flash of brilliance shone in his eyes. "Hey Reema, get your sister on the phone. I wanna sing her 'Shaheen on you Crazy Diamond'!  Tell the big bird to hold, she's in for a treat".


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