Its all in the Name

"Ramesh NLN", that was the name on one badge of one of my ex colleagues at Intel. "What does NLN stand for?", I asked him, perplexed that I have not heard of such a Last Name. "No Last Name", apt came his reply. I could do nothing but sigh.

Shakespeare quoted "What's in a name?", supporting himself by adding, "That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet". I don't deny a rose would smell as sweet even if it were to be called by an unpronounceable word "jshf" (Thank God nobody actually called it that.). But, I can't say the same about the human names, not atleast from my experience. A name is sufficient to tell a persons history and possibly trace his ancestry beyond imagination.

My interest in names and what a name conveys has a small story behind it. I was sixteen when I was with a friend of mine on a bus in the city of Hyderabad (India). Being as loud as I usually am, I was in deep conversation with my friend when a gentleman(referred to as G in the dialogue) asks "Meru Dravidula?" (Are you a dravidian). And the conversation goes as follows:
G: Medi East Godavara? (Are you from east godavari? ){A district in Andhra Pradesh}
Me: Yes
G: Amalapuram nuncha? (From Amalapuram?) {Another Place}
Me: Yes
G: Meeku Appanapalli lo yevara vunara (Do you know any one from Appanapalli?)
Me: Yes, my Grand Father.
That was the starting, in another five minutes and over ten questions he could exactly pinpoint my whole ancestry to my great great grand father, not only that he also managed to draw out a relationship of uncle and nephew between himself and me.
If you start wondering what made him ask that first question, it was his overhearing my last name.

This incident triggered my interest in names. It's already late in the night so I would not venture to write more on this, but will give some general observations.

1) In the North India, especially above Delhi people give their full name, and they take a lot of pride in giving their family name, eg. Prakash Singh Rawat (with an emphasis on Rawat).
2) The names that end in Mundra, Ajmera, agarwal, are mostly marwadi communities tracing back to Rajastan. (settled in parts all over India).

3)Last Names with Patel, Mehta, Zhaveri, etc. are Gujju's.

4) If a person just says his first name and initializes (Just mentions initial) his last name. He is from one of the four south Indian states.
i) If the name ends in a 'n' he's a tamilian.
ii) If the name has an 'e' where an 'a' is expected, definitely a mallu.
iii) If the last name is more than one initial, chances are of telugu origin.
iv) If the last name is either bangalore, mysore, bhatt, rai, or simply a name, its a kanadiga name.

5) Any name ending in kar is either a maharastrian or a bengali.
6) If you find a 'b' instead of 'v'. Roy, any kind of '+padyay', any kind of 'jee', 'orty' its bengali.
7) Some names are typically south India (though the trend is changing), srinivas and derivatives, padma, lata, etc.
8) The male and female first names are similar in punjabis, what distinguishes is the suffix sing and kaur respectively.

The above are just some snippets at what a name can tell about the person and his origins(I haven't even talked about outside India). May be some time later if I am triggered again, I will write more on this.
But be assured, any one can know a lot about you from your name, without even ever knowing you!.

For interesting links on names.