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The Naming Convention – Mandeep to Mike

I am an Indian. I love my country and I am proud to be an Indian. And I am proud of my Indian name.

I am even more proud of announcing the fact that I am Indian when I speak with my clients who are not in India – I don’t have an ‘American nickname’ and I will not be ‘Anny’ or ‘Alley’ – I am Avneet.

This may sound absurd to some of you, but I’m sure a lot of you get the point.

I have always been amused with this concept Call Centers brought to India, of having non-Indian names. What is even more sad is how its catching up with many India based companies who are dealing with foreign clients.

If you are asking me whats wrong with that, my question to you is why would Indians want to do that?

The world wants to do business with you because you ARE AN INDIAN! You are smart, intelligent, hardworking and good at what you do – these reasons should be enough! Why do we need to fool the client into thinking that the person they are dealing with is not an Indian who is sitting somewhere in Delhi/Bangalore/Gurgaon/Hyderbad or Chandigarh, sipping chai and Googling?!

Why are we ashamed of that!? Why do we need to have an accent? (which is horrible btw – its neither Indian nor American!)

Ok, maybe I am being too critical – maybe American or UK companies would like to give the impression to their customers that when someone calls up their customer support, they are being dealt by people from there own country. The names are changed, accents made heavy and impressions made.

I understand that sometimes the names are changed to make it easier for the client to remember it, pronounce it or spell it (Ex: Maharajapuram Santhanam = Sam).

But many companies are using it to hide the fact that they are based out of India.

Probably these companies might want to consider being more open and upfront with their customers that their technical support or customer care department or all departments are being handled well by a competent Indian company/call center.

Wouldn’t it be better to lose the fake accent, the fake name and become proud of who we are? To some extent, I would understand the professional need – what I don’t understand is why suddenly you don’t want to be called by your Indian name and why its ‘cool’ to be ‘Harry’ and not ‘Harish’.

Here we are being the Mikes, Sandys and Samanthas – carrying this out of office and into our lives and feeling proud of it! And then there’s Uma Thurman (who shared on Opera Winfrey show that its a very unique name and she hasn’t met anyone else with that name – bet she never came to India!) and Tom Cruise who is naming his child ‘Suri’.

Whats in a name…? Your identity!
Would you change your name and put on an accent to hide the fact that you are an Indian?