What’s In The Name?
I am often asked why I have a number in my name! It’s a valid question, and a question I love to answer in my very animated story-telling ways. I have answered it so many times now that I have almost mastered the rhythm and all of its notes – the highs, the pauses, the works.
After postponing it for many years, I finally decided to jot down the story here. And although it suffers from the lack of the enthusiasm of an in-person, animated narration, I have tried to make it an interesting read for you! So here goes:
The story dates back to 2003 when I secured admission into one of the top universities in my country (India, in case you were wondering) to pursue a degree in engineering. As with most families, my parents and my little brother had excitedly come to drop me off at the university campus. I distinctly remember that first day – entering those big gates, driving past sign-boards, finding my room at the girls’ hostel, smiling at similar nervous faces, standing in long queues at the shops to buy essentials for my room, parents proudly greeting other parents, my little brother cheekily excited at the thought of me having to cycle around on-campus (it was a 300-acre campus, if you didn’t have a cycle, you didn’t get anywhere in time), and so on! Among those first-day activities was also ‘registration’ – where all new students needed to sign-in, register and collect their ID cards. And so I collected mine and the ID read – 2003A7PS152. It was the university’s way assigning a mnemonic to us, nothing out of the ordinary. But what was extraordinary was the combination of last 3 digits. I stared at the ID card for a good few seconds. There it was… at the end – One Five Two! And to this day, I cannot really explain what I felt! I came out of that registration room so elated that my parents thought I met a long lost friend or something. As I tried to explain it to them, I had started to feel like I was just destined to be there, in that moment, on that day and that it was the start of something wonderful (yes, that strong!).
But why, you ask. What was it about that number?
For that we need to rewind a little bit. That same summer (i.e. in 2003) before university, I was holidaying with my family in Kazakhstan. My father worked in Kaz. for a few years during that period and we’d visit him during vacations. One random night there, my mum and I happened to watch the movie “You’ve Got Mail” for the first time – you know that movie about emails and love over internet that turns real? We simply loved it! The Star Movies channel used to repeat the daily 11pm movie at 11am the next morning (with no ads!). So, kudos to my mum’s presence of mind and the VCR provided in that cute Kazakh apartment, we recorded the movie the next morning – ONLY with the intention of replaying it for my father and little brother as we thought thet missed out on this late-night binge we kept raving about! And well… that’s how I ended up watching this movie more than 200 times during my stay; knew all the scenes and dialogues by heart. Call it silly teen years, I even got a Meg Ryan haircut! (No, I am not going to publish those photos now – out of the question!)
Point to note: in the movie, Tom Hanks’ email handle is NY152. So, when I was handed in my ID card that day, I could not believe Tom Hanks and I were magically connected in that moment! Can you imagine my absolute delight when I got to activate f2003152@… (the uni. student email ID) later that day?! I have never since left the habit of writing long emails to friends and family! NEVER.
Cut to August 2016, while stuck on a call at work I was scribbling on post-it notes and thus was born a doodle version of myself. She wears glasses like me, has hair like Meg Ryan in that movie, believes in the power of words, and loves Tom Hanks! After some major encouragement from fellow university friends (who all knew about my obsession with the number and the movie!) & my now-not-so-little brother, it was decided to name my doodle version The152Girl.
When I migrated this old / dormant blog over to wordpress around the same time the doodle was coming alive, it was a more conscious choice then to call it by the same name, to lend voice to this little girl who captured my imagination as well as a dedication to the inter-connectedness of events that have shaped my life! For all of which I am truly grateful.
So, there you go – I hope this answers your question!
If you indeed reached this far, thank you for reading! I will leave you here with a doodle of one of my favourite quotes from a book. Tell me in comments if you know which book I’m referring to!
“Sometimes, to lose balance for love is part of leading a balanced life“Ketut Liyer – the Medicine Man