Computer Art: Ghanshyam Thakkar
If you are a cricket fan, you must have heard the name Cheteshvar Pujara. Recently, in two consecutive matches against England, he scored one century and one double century. Also previous good record. Some call him new Rahul Dravid, some call him ‘The Wall.’
But what about this, “My name is Pujata?” No, it is not a new Bollywood film. My name is really Pujara. You know me by name Ghanshyam Thakkar. Or Oasis Thacker! What is going on with my name?
Here is the truth. Thakkar or Lohana is a broad caste name, mostly populated in Gujarat, or rather Saurastra and Kuchchh area of Gujarat State. But like most castes, there are many sub-castes under the umbrella of a main caste name. Brahmins have last names like Chaturvedi, Desai, Pathak etc. Thakkars also have similar sub-castes or Gotra or family names like Pujara, Mirani, Mulani, Tanna etc. In Saurastra and Kuchchh area, where there are too many Thakkars, they like to use the sub-caste names like Pujara, to differentiate from other Thakkars. But elsewhere, where Thakkars are in minority, they use ‘Thakkar’ as surname. My family could have chosen surname Pujara. So….my name is Pujara, really .
Traditionally, Thakkars don’t have too many sport hero. There are some Thakkars famous in performing arts, literature, public leaders roles, etc. It is said that we are direct descendents of Lord Rama’s son Lava . If that is true, Rama was the first sport hero of our caste who participated in the Swayamvar competition to marry Sita. The challenge was to lift the very heavy bow that belonged to lord Shiva. Ravana who also participated in the contest, and could not even lift the heavy bow of Shiva. Rama not only lifted it, but also aimed with it, and even broke it in the process.
Later on, Thakkars , abandoned sword and traded it with weighting scales; and became merchants and bankers like Baniya. Well, at one point they were voyaging in ships for trade with Africa, and fought with pirates. But in recent years, they are known to be soft skin, big belly merchants and bankers.
Besides Rama, there are hardly any sport hero’s in Thakkar caste. For long time I could not play any sports. In childhood, I was put on stage at the age of five by elders and teachers. But as far as the sports are concerned, even girls used to ‘out’ me in Kabaddi game. Over the years, I have made my self athletic looking by going to gym, and I have even learned little bit Tennis for fun.
So the world had to wait till another Pujara (Thakkar), Cheteshvar became a cricket hero.
Have I confused you enough with my name? You already know me by two names, Ghanshyam Thakkar and Oasis Thacker. Now I am aslo Ghanshyam Pujara. If you think that is confusing, here is the full story about my names.
I was born with the name ‘Ghanshyam Ramlal Thakkar. During the high school and college days, before I became literary poet, I used to write poetry-like verses with rhymes and rhythms, called ‘Shayari’, to entertain my friends in school functions. I even had my nom de plume, like famous poets, ‘Saki’ Dethalvi. Saki is an Urdu language word for a bartender. Dethalvi means from the village Dethali. I dropped that nom de plume, when I became a real literary poet, and wrote poetry with name Ghanshyam Thakkar.
After I migrated to USA, I realized that it was difficult for Americans to pronounce my first name Ghanshyam. So I let them call me with my initials, ‘G.R.’ Later I thought ‘G.R.’ was a boring name, so I cut my first name ‘Ghanshyam’ in half, and introduced a new nick name ‘Shyam’.
When I went to become a citizen of USA, I got a surprise question: ‘Would you like to add another first name to your present name? Many who become US citizen add one American name. Normally one has to pay almost $200 for a name change. Today you can do it for free.’ Well, I thought I was earning $200 by changing my name. So I did. I added another first name ‘Oasis’ and even changed the spelling of my last name from ‘Thakkar’ to ‘Thacker’ So I became Oasis Ghanshyam Ramlal Thacker.
And….when the dust was about to settle…..I come up with ‘My name is Pujara’ Oh me! So ‘What is there in a name?…….As far as I am concerned…….a lot. Ha ha.
This Pujara may not be able to play cricket like Cheteshvar Pujara; but like the commercial says, as a music artist, ‘Angrejon kaa Baja Baja Sakataa Hun.’
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