Well, it was bound to happen eventually. It was, as I said on my Facebook wall — rather theatrically, I admit, but dammit, I’m allowed! — only a matter of time. Yes, gentle readers of my blog, the sheer infuriating common-ness of my name has finally collided with my career. No, it isn’t another reporter at the MetroPlus or the Hindu writing with the same byline — that would be bad enough. No, there’s now a young lady who’s joined NDTV-Hindu, the new Chennai TV channel (a joint venture between the Hindu and NDTV), and her name is — naturally — Divya Kumar. Why is this such a big deal, you might be asking yourself. There are many people out there with the same name, working in the same field. What’s all the drama about?
Well, it’s like this. See, this young lady (a perfectly nice and harmless person, I’m sure) does interviews with Chennai-based artistes on this channel. With musicians, etc. The sort of thing I might do myself. In fact, given the nature of the relationship between our paper and the channel, I’ve actually done an interview on NDTV Hindu once myself. A lot of my stories are featured as part of the MetroPlus Show that plays on Saturdays. So you couldn’t really blame anyone who doesn’t know what I look like and has only ever seen my byline for MISTAKING HER FOR ME.
After years and years of the nuisance of getting the wrong emails, those meant for all those thousands of other Divya Kumars or Divya Ks — their bank statements, avowals of love from their significant others, etc. — I will now have people putting the wrong face to my name. And the wrong voice. And the wrong body… you get the drift. I feel like I’m in some bizarre remake of The Body Snatchers.
Now those of you who’ve read my earlier pieces on the subject know the commonness of my name has long been a sore spot for me. So naturally I ranted and raved to my family and friends (the poor sods) when I first came across this young lady’s interview. But I told myself to put it in perspective. Be rational, I said. It’s not such a big deal. I was finally reaching the point when I could giggle about it (and I only flinched slightly when a colleague pointed out that it could be worse — the Divya Kumar on TV could have been a guy). Then it happened. I got an email from a well-intentioned professional contact saying she’d seen ‘my interview’ with a prominent music personality on the channel and liked it. And all that was left to say was –aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrgggghhh!
Because it finally hit me. I knew why this was happening. And it was all the worse because I’d brought it upon myself. It was all that gloating I did after I created this blog earlier this year. I thought I’d won, you see, because I got the domain name, divyakumar.com, snatched from the grasp of all those other Divya Kumars, and suddenly all those searches for the wrong ‘Divya Kumars’ and “Divya Ks’ were landing up on my blog! I thought I’d thumbed my nose at the universe when finally, after years of hanging around at the bottom of the search results list on my name (yes, yes, it’s pathetic, but you do it too) I was suddenly on the first page with my blog. I believe my precise words were ‘Bwahahaha’.
Well, Universe, you win. You get the last laugh. I eat humble pie. Now, just below my blog’s link at the top of the search results for “Divya Kumar” on Google, we have the link to the TV channel’s interview. And that ain’t my face you see. So yes, I give up. I realise now that I can’t fight it. I will always be one of many.
But at least my blog still comes first on the results page. I am resigned. To all the Divya Kumars out there — learn from my mistakes. From now on, we follow the path of Zen.
13 responses to “To all the Divya K(umar)s out there (Part III): The Downfall”
And I take the liberty to pass this on to my said colleague Divya-Kumar-the-other 😉
Stumbled on your blog when I was on one of random ‘googling’ trips – and glad I did! Speaking of common names, I don’t know any other Ragamalika Karthikeyan, but then Search engine optimisation is the only reason I’m Ragamalika Karthikeyan, not just Ragamalika. Slightly disconcerting when you get ads for apartments and addresses when you google your name. Or worse still, a TV show. Or music. That’s torture for a tone deaf person 😛
Hey there 🙂 I’m glad you stopped by too. You’ve opened my eyes to a whole other world of name-related issues! Here I’d have assumed you’d have no problems with an unusual name like Ragamalika, but now I feel your pain. Having links for apartment buildings and ragams and TV shows ranked higher by Google — definitely not fun :). You know, I think all parents in future should name their kids to ensure search engine optimisation. Too many others by that combo of first and last name? Ditch it. First name used too much to name inanimate objects such as buildings, shops, etc.? Ditch it. I know I’d do it for my kid… lol
Woahhh..! I am thoroughly shocked seeing this one..! Thanks Raga for spotting it. And Ms.Divya Kumar, I am seriously not stealing your thunder. You are much more experienced than me and I’ve been reading your articles every since i’ve been in school.. And even when I was in college people used to ask me if it were me who wrote them..! But it only got worse after i joined Ndtv hindu.. Well, I should say I have only got the best of wishes from people who thought I were you.. And I only hope you got a decent one from your friends who thought I were you. This is an identity crisis..! May be we should work on it..! L)
Hey there Divya Kumar! 🙂 Nice to hear from you. Of course I’m not worried about anything of that sort… was only talking (ok, ranting lol) about the identity crisis, as you rightly put it! I’ve heard only good things about the interviews you’ve done on NDTV too 🙂 I know! I think we should add a disclaimer at the end of all our interviews — Divya Kumar (not the one in NDTV Hindu / MetroPlus /etc) lol. Anyway, I’m really glad to hear from you and once again, no offense meant at all with all this ranting — just poking fun at my own neurosis about the silly common-ness of my (our!) name.
PS: You should search for ‘Divya Kumar’ on FB sometime… it’s quite staggering just how many of us there is out there!
Hehe… Names are a funny thing… AND, SEO-optimising names might just not work cos the future might hold some other, more potent problem than Google! (Bring on the Jetsons!)
This is true 😦 (on a sidenote… ooh Jetsons, fun! haven’t seen it in years!). Sigh. I suppose parents do the best they can given what they know at the time. For instance, my mother swears Divya wasn’t a common name at all when she named me lol. Would serve me right, I suppose, if I gave my kid what I think is a really cool, search engine optimised name and she whined to me about it for all her adult life!
Oh them damn kids whine all the time! 😉
Hey divya kumar!:) i came across ur blog during my first ever google search for myself( i swear, it was the first;)) and i was quite surprised… as all my life, although i’ve known innumerable ‘divyas’, i’ve never come across a divya kumar!Throughout my school days i had always been made to feel like i have a ‘male’ name..with so many people asking, “dont u mean kumari” (yeah, like i’d get my own name wrong! how stupid do u suppose i am?!)..and i just used to desperately wish for any other female classmate with the surname kumar to magically turn up..but that never happened:D, having said that i think i’d much rather have a common name rather than those rare ones, which everyone believes is their birthright to contort as per their convenience:D
Hey there Divya Kumar! So glad you dropped by 🙂 Oh my god, the Kumari thing! It’s happened to me so many, many times. I remember, I actually had a Hindi teacher in fifth or sixth standard to couldn’t bear it anymore and added a bright red ‘i’ to the end of my name on the label of my freshly covered notebook… I was so mad! lol
Never met one of us fellow sufferers before, huh? 🙂 Well, you just met two! (If you scroll up in the comments, the other Divya Kumar I talk about in my post has commented :)). And I’ll tell you what I told her… if you’re on Facebook, search for ‘Divya Kumar’. You’ll be shocked by how many of us there are!
Jokes apart though, I know what you mean. This is a very easy name to pronounce (I’ve seen friends with longer and more complicated names have a rough time in the U.S. lol) and virtually impossible to misspell (though here in Chennai, there is a tendency sometimes to add that extra ‘h’ and make it Dhivya sometimes lol). It’s short, sweet and smart. And there’s no ‘i’ at the end of it!
Haha Dhivya? Thats a new one..never heard that before..must be a Chennai thing :D…meanwhile for me, here in Delhi..the search for a fellow ‘Divya Kumar, female’ still continues :D(not counting facebook that is ;))
p.s. I just read the part 1 and 2 of the divya k series..wow i never know a divya k epidemic existed..and i’ve been so blissfully unaware 😉
Hahaha definitely a Tamil thing, the unnecessary addition of the ‘h’ 🙂 You should come down to Chennai! You’ll find many other female Divya Kumars, I promise you lol. I think that’s better, on the whole, than finding too many of the male persuasion 😉 (no offense to any Mr. Divya Kumars reading this, of course :)).
Yes! I can’t believe other Divya Ks don’t have this problem! I’m constantly getting other Divya K’s bank statements, airline ticket confirmations, emails from their colleagues, from their long lost friends, etc. And when that’s not happening, they’re signing up for various mailing lists with, apparently, my email address lol. You’re a lucky, lucky lady to have been untouched by this epidemic!
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