image courtesy Rajith Mohan
The tale started with my receiving of my IATA flight ticket where it was printed that I'm travelling from Dublin to Thiruvananthapu... Yes, to Thiruvananthapu, ending in a 'pu' as in Pappu. I think there was also a hyphen (-) after the 'pu', possibly to indicate that the name extends furthur into the outer space.
The name grew a tad more to 'Thiruvananthapura' on my printed ticket I received through e-mail. Not so bad, 'pura' more or less deploys the same meaning. But something tells me that I'm missing something again.
After landing on the swanky new Terminal in Abu Dhabi I started scanning the information screens to locate my Gate for the Trivandrum flight. And here goes! Gate 11 for the 2245 flight to Thiruvananthapu... Again! Anyway the boarding pass was not so irritating as they chose the easier method, AUH to TRV. Simple enough. No torture there.
The real ill-treatment occured in the air when the First Officer was briefing about the flight details. The apparently Eastern European gentleman had no idea where he was flying and was consistently addressing Trivandrum in as many ways as he liked. During the flight the Captain took over and it was even more hilarious, the suave lady carried on announcing that they had now initiated descent into Trivandrapuram! Classical Anglo-mallu name for my city and the first time I'm coming across this.
Whatever, I dont intend to ridicule her. She knew what she was saying better than the lad beside her who was absolutely in the middle of the Pacific. Still both would fail the Std I fill-in-the-blank test for "Capital of Kerala" question.
I don't know who is to blame here but lets for easy-sake blame it on the Karunakaran Govt who decided to do away with the anglicized names for Kerala locales. A sudden upsurge of patriotism I believe, but is the Govt recognizing the way the world is screwing our place-names? At least the Brits saved the slaughter of my hometown for half-a-century from these travel personnel and tourists.
Leave the foreigners, our own Northie countrymen have their own ways when dealing with Trivandrum. I've seen it spelled Trivendrum many many times and pronounced Thrivendhrum. So those who have a compulsive habit of making mistakes will find a way to commit them, either way.
official website. In TIA or Trivandrum Int'l Airport you can easily find both names inside and outside the Terminal. The Indian Railways too indulge in this name-hop. They have huge boards screaming Thiruvananthapuram Central while their LCD Display TVs welcome you to Trivandrum. Many trains also carry the Trivandrum (and sometimes Trivendrum)tags on coaches in an as-when-comfortable basis.
I'm one among the many millions of Keralaites who think Trivandrum is much more suited for the recognition of our city on a global platform. It may appear childish and trivial, but these small things do count. Even our MP Dr. Shashi Tharoor thinks so, look at the snapshot of his Tweet a few months back. Personally I don't gel with Ananthapuri, but Dr. Tharoor's idea is right on track. We don't want to see our city screwed left, right, center and on the air by every passing Dick, do we?
I did a bit of research about the longest placenames in the world and voila! Look whoz appearing! Our own Thiruvananthapuram, right up there among the 13 elite places in the world with a hyper-extended nameboard! You happy, or?
Check out this Wikipedia link if you don't believe me.
Still T-h-i-r-u-v-a-n-a-n-t-h-a-p-u-r-a-m stands pretty when compared to some of the tongue-freezing Polish place names I came acorss. How about Krzeczkowo Szepielaki? A village in Ostrow Mazowiecki district in Poland! You think it's the worst? Then try Szczedrohoszcze and Zienowszczyzna.
But thank heavens my home is not in Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu, the official record holder for such interminable names. Hold on, the name above is actually a shorter version for the original name
Well oh well, lets go home now...