Being in a room with around 15 women, all called “Anita”, turned out to be quite a novel experience. Like we all joked, it was one occasion when we didn’t have to remember any names!
This happened in February 2010 during a trip to Delhi and Gurgaon. A rather diverse bunch, brought together by Delhi based photographer Anita Khemka who is working on a project called “Being Anita“.
I have never actually thought much about my name. I have, on a handful of occasions, wondered about how it would be like to have an exotic name instead of the plain vanilla “Anita”. But over the years, I’ve gotten used to it. Now, I quite like my name – I’ve made peace with it. And if you’ve noticed, the the trend of naming girl babies as Anita has declined rapidly over the years. Which means, the name will be quite a rarity soon. The advantage is that it’s hard to shorten the name so I don’t have too many nicknames. At the very worst, it could be called “Ann” or “Annie” – neither of which I like and thankfully no one calls me by those names. I have a few people who call me by my surname, which I don’t like either. I actually just prefer my name – it’s simple, easy to pronounce and just…”plain”.
The other advantage is that when you’re travelling, you don’t have to make much of an effort to pronounce your name and spell it out so people can comprehend it. It’s a name that seems to exist in many cultures and across geographies. I have a friend who uses my name to book tables at restaurants since her name is too exotic. So I’ve probably been at many dinners without actually being there in person.
So coming back to my tryst with the “Anitas” – it was well worth the effort of making it to the Maximum Store, our venue for the rendezvous – on a rather pleasant evening.
What I realised after the conversations with these diverse women was the passion that they had about whatever it is that they’re into. I met Anita Bhargava, who’s a passionate runner and is now equally passionate about cleaning Delhi in a day, the very articulate Anita Thapar Kathpalia of Fab India. Then there was Anita Vasudevan who wears many hats, including that of an entrepreneur and a writer. There was Anita Roy – British Indian – she had given up using a car many years ago and now gets around on her trusted steed – her bicycle!
Such interesting women – it’s no wonder that the evening flew by pretty quickly. Anita Khemka (who is documenting all the Anitas through photographs) shared some of her images in a slideshow and then we continued with a round of introductions over chai and snacks.
An evening well spent with my namesakes!