Ravi. The first guest writer at Wordly Ties. Head, I-Osmosis, the premier Indian firm offering English language teaching services to ESL learners (http://www.i-osmosis.com). Has lived in close to a dozen cities around the world, including some before he was formally born. Anal about language. Fierce traditionalist, Bombay loyalist but compulsive introvert because he still cannot make the tsssssk sound. Upset at governments, to the point of ranting.
The world that I know of seems to have gotten city names right. They’re short, often with just two or three syllables. They can be pronounced differently – “shi-ca-go” for an American or “chi-ca-go” for an Indian who goes about his English-speaking life with spelling pronunciation – but they’re easy to spell and remember.
Strangely, here in India, Jingoistic government officials who should be given straight-jackets instead of policy-making authority have been sane enough to stick to short names when indulging in the contemptible act of changing the names of cities. Thus, Bombay did not become ‘Mumbadevimahanagar’. ‘Madras’ did not regress all the way to ‘Chennaipattinam’. Talk about Best Practices.
So although ‘Bengaluru’, which hopes to become an incurable pandemic of a name like ‘Mumbai’, may thwart any chance of the city underneath the name to develop the aura of history and allure that New York does, the Bangies – if that’s what they like to be called – should be thankful that they are not living in Bendakaalooru.