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My Name and its story

I spell my name as SANJAY SUBRAHMANYAN. While the Sanjay is commonly spelt this way by most there have been case of it being spelt as ‘SANJAI”. But Subrahmanyan has been known to be spelt as Subrahmanyam, Subrahmaniyam, Subrahmaniam, Subhramaniam, Subramaniam, Subramanian, Subramoneyam, Subramoniam etc etc etc..

Now why do I spell this way? Is it numerology? No. It is the way my grandfather spelt his name. And he just passed it on to me. Apparently if the name were to be correctly transliterated from its Sanskrit original then that would be it. My grandfather was a retired GM in the UCO bank and was quite insistent that his name be spelt exactly. He had a reputation for returning letters that had his name misspelt. He even once wrote a letter to my 2nd standard class teacher asking her to change the spelling of my name in my report card!

I spell my name as I have indicated above. But I really cannot insist on it the way my grandfather did. Imagine if I just rejected the concert invitations that came my way because my name was misspelt. I’d be better off in another profession! Interestigly though I do find that people do try and retain my original spelling in several places and I am thankful to all of them. In fact even the Wikipedia page on me has my original spelling.

Now the story of my name. I was given the ‘sharman’ Subrahmanyan and all my academic life I was known as S.Subrahmanyan with Sankaran the name of my father being my initial. Sanjay was what I was called by at home. Most of my school and college friends still address me as “Subra”. My first concert back in 1986 was advertised as S.Subrahmanyan – Vocal. Then sometime in 1988 I was invited by late Mr SV Krishnan of the famous Ragasudha Hall to give a concert in Coimbatore. He was just in the process of shifting to Chennai but still ran his Ragasudha sabha at Coimbatore. I don’t know who told him but the invitation came with the name Sanjay Subrahmanyan – Vocal printed on it. The name just stuck! So when people come up to me and ask me if my father is Mr Subrahmanyan I have to go off on this story.


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