Rhymes with 'rush'

NOVEMBER 11, 2023  ·  623 WORDS

"Yash" is one of the most common names in India in my generation. "Agrawal" is a fairly common last name as well. In fact, I personally know two other people who share the same first and last name as me. More explicitly, if you run a quick search on any social network for "Yash Agrawal", you are bound to find overwhelimg results and you'd need an additional filter to narrow it down to the "Yash Agrawal" you are looking for like the company they work for, something they were involved with, etc.

Other people with common names would relate to not being able to find @name handles on any popular service. For most cases, I end up using a misspelling of my first and last name so that it is unique and same across all platforms. "yash.works" (where this post is hosted as of November 2023) is certainly not my first preference as the TLD is not commonly recongnized, but the common ones are all taken. The worst part is, they are not even being used! I don't expect to ever own yash.com as there is a whole company that would make better use of it, but if you own yash.io, please reach out to me! I'm willing to pay an unreasonable (for a personal domain) amount for it.

I've joked many times about how my parents weren't creative enough while naming me. When I heard the alternatives they were considering, I was very glad they decided to go with Yash. I don't mean to offend anyone, it's just that I wouldn't have been able to pull it off. Some people have a very deep connection to their name while I don't feel the same way, I can see where they are coming from. Most people in my life don't even use my name to refer to me and instead use versions of son, friend, nicknames, etc.

"Yash" means prosperity and success. I guess that is what any parent would want for their child. When I moved to the US, I was very explicit about pronouncing my name right but I did not expect anyone to be able to say it the right way. I definitely appreciate best efforts at it. I've seen people either shorten their names, opt for a western-friendly name, call themselves as the wrong pronunciation, or get outright offended when someone else is not able to say it the way it is pronounced in their local language. For close to a decade, I got used to people calling me "Yaa-sh". I honestly don't understand why that happens. It isn't like there are no sounds for a single "a". Where did the extra "a" even come from? Even more bizzare was the situation when I worked with another person from India and their name's pronunciation had an "a" that would be right if it was pronounced "aa". What ended up happening was that I was called with "aa" and he was called with "a". It was just a matter of flipping it! Since I don't feel so strongly about it, I never bothered to do anything about it.

Recently, I was filling out my Slack profile for a new job and it asked for any pronunciation help. I decided to look up some suggestions as I am not well versed with phonetics. Someone mentioned that the name rhymes with 'rush' and I thought it was genius! What a simple way to convey this information! I've only started using this, but a couple of interactions I've had so far got it right without any prompting from me. I can't even explain it to myself but I felt at ease the moment I heard it pronounced the way it was intended.