Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Nomenclature Problem

We had been to IMSS - Instituto Mexicano Del Seguro Social (Mexican Institute of Social Security), the one which provides social security number. The lady had the toughest time of her life filling in the online application form, all because of my name.

Here in Mexico, the names contain four parts.
first name -- second name -- father's last name -- mother's last name
So your name would be combination of first and second and your surnames will be the combination of third and fourth.

E.g. Edith Izkalli Hernandez Cerdá
Name: Edith Izkalli
Surname: Hernandez Cerdá
Surname from father: Hernandez
Surname from mother: Cerdá

Now me being a foreigner here, obviously, my name does not follow that rule. But the system is designed for names which follow such rule. The lady at IMSS had the herculean task of manipulating my name to fit into the system which contained following fieds.

------------------------------Data of person----------------------------------------

Surname from father:
Surname from mother:
Date of Birth:

------------------------------Data of father-----------------------------------------

Surname from father:
Surname from mother:

-----------------------------Data of mother-----------------------------------------

Surname from father:
Surname from mother:


Now lets analyze my name (as per the passport):
Given name: Sachin Honnenhalli
Family name: Bharadwaj Ramachandra.
As a sideliner, an average Mexican or Chinese would take atleast 2 years, with daily practice of reciting and writing it 100 times, to say my full name without stammering.

Lady: Your surname from father?
Me: Bharadwaj Ramachandra.

Lady: Father's name.
Me: Ramachandra

Lady (confused): Surname from mother?
Me: I have none.

Lady: Mother's name?
Me: Vanamala.

Lady: Mother's surname from father and mother?
Me: She doesn't have one

Lady: I can't leave the field blank.
Me: You can fill the same as my father.

Lady: Your father's surname from father and mother?
Me: Don't know.

That would have been the most confusing moment of her life. Then she filled the fields with some subsets of my lengthy name until the system accepted that. And heaved a relaxing sigh after she was done. I gave her a smiling "muchas gracias" and left.

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