Wingadhium Leviosa

How I learned to pronounce my name.

November 19 2020

Gif of hermione saying It's LeviOsa, not LeviosAR

Yesterday I bought the domain thegadhian.com. This is my first ever legitimate .com domain, figured I should get in there before the bubble bursts.

I think I first came up with "The Gadhian" as a name in 2016, when I was walking by the canal to The Guardian offices to talk about some media stuff.

New aim in life: set up a newspaper and call it The Gadhian.

— arjun gadhia (@adgad) October 4, 2016

Like most things, I then took the joke too far, and created a logo and made it the name of my Medium blog at the time.

While I was setting up this domain however, it occurred to me that the joke is premised on an incorrect pronounciation of my name.

As many other "children of immigrants" can attest to, I have two names - one name for home, and one name for the playground. It was hard enough trying to fit in as a child without the audacity of correcting people, so eventually the playground name became the University name, and then the office name. It gets stranger when meeting someone in these environments who has a similar immigrant background. Do you reach for the home name, or the playground name, or do you panic and mangle both together?

How my name is pronounced has never really bothered me personally. But now the added weight of having a .com domain tickled my curiosity, and I started to wonder how others pronounced the name.

A quick google search of how to pronounce Gadhia led me to this page with no fewer than 108 computer generated pronounciations! I had to narrow it down, so I went to look at how some of the stalwarts of the Gadhia name approach it.

  1. Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia

The first Google result and most famous of the Gadhias is a hugely successful businesswoman, and - wait for it - WHITE. As someone who married into the Gadhia name, I figured she wouldn't have the baggage of a home name, and indeed most of her own pronounciations are consistent with my playground name. Often in thick Queen's English.

Guard-ear

Guard-ear Review

Ga-deia

  1. Sameer Gadhia

For a global outlook, I turned to perhaps the coolest person to flout my name: Sameer Gadhia. Sameer's pronounciation is quite similar to my panicked mangled pronounciation. However in the majority of the interviews I could find, he is referred to as "Sameer from Young the Giant" - which I suppose is a novel way of solving the problem.

Gaa-dia

Gaa-dia

  1. Lord Jitesh Gadhia

Somewhat closer to home, we have my very own cousin, Lord Jitesh Gadhia. While I knew he had the same home name as me, some of his other pronounciations threw a bit of a curve ball - particularly the one time he announced his own name.

Gaa-dia

Ga-deeya

Gaa-deer

Gaa-deer

After many minutes of trawling through video archives, I found one person - a fellow Gujarati - who did use his home name to introduce him - but only after incorrectly calling him Jitesh Radia. To make matters more confusing, despite being spelt almost identically, the surname Radia is pronounced the same way as the Gadhia playground name (Gar-deer).

Ga-dia

  1. Ravi Gadhia Unbeknownst to me, there are other Gadh-ii working in the field of Software Engineering. This was a Ravi Gadhia, talking about Github, and Ravi used his home name to introduce himself. Go Ravi!

Ga-dia


Someone at work recently asked me if they pronounced my name correctly. Usually it's the playground name, or some variant. And usually my answer is "yeah, sure, that'll do".

I think now it's going to have to be: "I pay £6.88 a year for this website, so can you please pronounce it like The Guardian, otherwise the joke doesn't work.".