Last update: 18-Dec-2013 7:04 am
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Singh a song of India
As I walked through the gates at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) ground at Mohali, in India, I was pulled aside by one Bupinder Singh.
It was for a routine security check: India being the volatile place it is, they take no chances with security here.
Then, as I handed over my laptop bag, Bupinder started to take out stuff from it. He got assistance at the table from Akash Singh, Manpreet Singh, Arun Singh and Ashoda Singh.
They were fascinated with the fact that I had all those medications with me.
I was fascinated by the fact that they all had walked in at that moment.
I told them that if I had not taken along the meds, my wife would not have allowed me to come on this trip.
Well, this caused a stir. Men laugh too bad.
Sikander Singh joined in and started to inquire what all the noise was about. I told him I was singing the praises of my wife for getting me all this medication to come on this trip.
He then called out Ashvinder Singh and told him something in Hindi. All the while there is this little photographer resembling Dilip Singh behind me getting irritated by the long wait. As I left—mind you, with all my meds intact—I said, “Okay, Singh, thanks!”
Every man answered and we all had a hearty laugh.
On my way to the press box I got lost in the huge building, so I went the reception area, where I saw this young man behind a computer. I asked him directions to the print area and he guided me along. Before I walked off I asked very sheepishly, “Don’t tell me your name is Singh?”
He said: “My good name is Randiv Singh, sir.”
With that I went off not believing what I had just witnessed. But I decided to ask the media representative of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) about names in Punjab.
Shirin Sadikot explained: “Most people here are named Singh, so that they are differentiated by their first names. Sometimes Singh is the middle name, but most people just leave it as their last name, hence this unique situation.
She added: “Do you know that most names in Punjab are also unisex? Yes, most names are used for both boys and girls.
“Now, how you differentiate between boy and girl is by the following: if you name your son Harmeet and someone names his or her daughter Harmeet, then if Singh is used as the last name for both, they would have identical names, and if you don’t see them, you cannot say if it is a boy or girl.
“So what they do is put Singh as the boy’s surname and Kaur as the girl’s surname, so you know that Harmeet Singh is a boy and Harmeet Kaur is a girl.”
She added that former Indian batsman Navjot Singh Sidhu’s wife’s name is Navjot also.
Well, I gone. Paramjeet Singh is calling me.
The Punjab is the historical home of the Sikh religion, whose followers are known as Singh (lion) if they are male or Kaur (princess) if they are female. Hindus have also adopted the name Singh.
• Vinode Mamchan is in India covering the 2013 Karbonn Smart Champions League T20 Champions League tournament for the T&T Guardian.
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