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Of nicknames.

by Bored Guest

Get back to the late fifties of the last century. The most notable unorganised organisation was perhaps the DCC. The short form for Devakottai* Cricket Club, If the name of such a great club has not rung in your ears yet. (*Devakottai is a small town in south Tamil Nadu)

At one point of time there were three Rajagopalan’s and two Venkatraman’s in the august body. There was an urgent need for an ID for each and a nickname was the natural answer to the need. Of the Rajagopalan’s the most important one, cricketingly was one R Rajagopal. An aggressive bat with almost all the strokes that the copy book can boast of, he stood well over 6 feet. He went by the name “Lamba” Rajagopal.

The next in the order is your bored guest. He was an opener with limited strokes and a sound defence. His ID came to be “Wills” Rajagopal. Of course he was a smoker at that time, but his chosen brands were Berkley or Scissors and not Wills. In fact, the origin of the nickname had nothing related to smoking. He was a student of mathematics with statistics as a subject of study in the UG level. The most sought after book for reference for theory of samples (large and small) was by an English author answering to the name S S Wilks. There was just one copy in the library and this sly fellow conspired with a class mate to keep perpetual possession of Wilks. (A person borrowing a book can renew it only once, 15+15 days. But two can manage to monopolise. Hence he was “Wilks” Rajagopal, which by the natural process of elision became Wills aided in the process by his intimacy with the smoking piece.

The third in the order, because he was a non-regular in the team, was one “Boring” Rajagopal. The name “Boring” has nothing to do with his personality. In fact the fellow had a fine sense of humour and never minded being laughed at at all. You would love to have him for company. Only, his father was a specialist in sinking borewells!!!

Of the two Venkatraman’s in the team, the one who didn’t endure for long went by the name “Nattukattai” Venkatraman. For those uninitiated in the ways of the DCC line of thinking the name might sound sensual, provided you know some Tamil. Nattukattai in our slang means a rustic woman and the name suggests lechery. In reality he earned the high accolade because he usually batted on and on ad infinitum without bothering to score a single run (Kattai is also the slang for just blocking). The other one who endured for more than a decade with the DCC , was fondly known as “Palkara” Venkatraman, “Palkaran” in our language means milk vendor. Of course he came from a family of vendors of milk.

Even when there was only one person by a particular name, the person had the luxury of a nickname.

“Savadal” Ganesan, “Savadal” in Tamil means high-sounding or a person who just keeps speaking. As the name would suggest, he spoke better cricket than he played.

“Tshombe” Baradan who had prominent neither lips, remember the rebel general of Congo. It was more to with the Sho of his lips than any relation of his to Congo or the original Tshombe. The names only meant endearment and no ill will was ever even remotely thought of.

It is fifty years since and I wish the team now comes back to relive the years and of course using the nicknames to address each other. Or, is the glory gone for ever?

by M Rajagopalan

November 17th: Happy Bored Day Professor Rajagopalan. It's a pleasure to have you on Bored, sir.


Gaurav Sethi said...

Prof, the glory is in this piece.

Wonderful piece, must admit I favour Boring, what a cracking name.

Homer said...

Happy Birthday Mr Rajagopalan!


Rohit said...

Great piece. Really liked it. Loved the writing style as well.

straight point said...

happy bored day 'wills' :)

Bhaskar Khaund said...

This is one of the best pieces i've read - hope to see more of you here , sir . Regards.
PS - and Happy Birthday of course !

Sujan Rao said...

Rumba nalla irukudu machi ! Sixer

Cheers :)