What’s in a Name?

“What is the meaning of your name?”

He asked me in front of the whole class.

“I don’t know”.

“When you go home today, ask your father and let me know tomorrow.”

This was the conversation I had with my Hindi teacher, Mr. Cyril Sunny when I was in seventh standard at St. Paul’s, Udaipur.

I asked my father the meaning of my name when he returned home in the evening after work. He told me the meaning in short and enquired why am I asking this question. I told him about what happened in the school that day. He smiled and then said ‘Wait, let me explain you in a better way then.’

He reached out to the bookshelf and pulled out a huge thick hard-cover book with brown coloured pages. He told me it was a ‘Sanskrit-to-English’ dictionary. And then, reading from it, he explained the meaning in detail. He told me the word is ‘Nirvana’ which in Noun means ‘enlightenment’. And in the adjective, it means ‘not glowing’. So, Anirvan means in noun ‘one who doesn’t need enlightenment, say someone like ‘Gautam Buddha’. And in the adjective, Anirvan would mean ‘Glowing’.

I went to school the next day and Sunny sir asked me the meaning again during the Hindi period. I explained to him what my father taught me. He smiled and wrote the word ‘Nirvana’ on the blackboard. He then addressed the whole class for the next fifteen minutes explaining the meaning on similar lines as what my father explained to me.

To this day, I remember this incident!

I was fortunate to have teachers like Sunny sir who had such passion for their subject and students alike.

On this teacher’s day, I bow to all my teachers and convey my gratitude for not only teaching us what was required as per the textbooks but for also teaching us about life and how to lead it meaningfully.  


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