I know Bipulbabu for many years. He runs a tailoring shop down the street. In fact I still remember the day he delivered my first pair of trousers — a pleat-less drainpipe. I could not wait to get home to wear it and show off. Since then we have had a very amicable relationship. But the bonding was not strong enough to bring him to my sitting room. So, I was surprised to say the least when he did turn up. He could guess my discomfort and so he started with the explanation. He was opening a new tailoring shop in Behala, very near Chowrasta. He was looking for a name for his new shop. That brought him to my house.
He must have found my first response somewhat discouraging. I told him not to worry about names so much because there are very funny names, which over the years have acquired significant imagery because of the brand that they adorn. I gave him the examples of Horlicks, Pepsi and Dettol. As English words, they carry very little meaning but each has, over the years, acquired their character from brand advertising.
Bipulbabu was undaunted. He said that he understood what I was saying but his was not a big business, so advertising was out of the question. He explained that the name for a new shop was often the draw. Curiosity is aroused. Word-of-mouth is created. Indeed he felt that intrigue could also be created.
I was desperately looking for routes to start my search. I thought Bipulbabu himself would be a good starting point. He was more than willing. He started by saying “naam ta tailoring shop er moto hote hobe”. That was not of much help to me — appropriateness of the name for the product category is basic hygiene. It struck me then that what he may be looking for was a name that makes a promise on behalf of his shop. I thought I had found the answer and very original names like ‘Fashion Street’ and ‘Style Avenue’ came to mind. I shared them with Bipulbabu.
He was happier, but had a couple of worries. The first was whether the names were a bit khoto moto (tough). I realised that he was worried about whether his very Bengali customers would be able to pronounce the names.
His other problem was more serious. He said that when he opened the shop, he would start by stitching trousers and making dresses. So, words like Fashion and Style would be appropriate, but his future plan included getting into an arrangement with a few schools to stitch uniforms for their students. That, he said, was assured big business. Naming the shop Fashion Street, he felt, would restrict his business. He was not willing to sacrifice his long-term desires for the name to have a focus only on his current business.
He could see that I was getting a touch exasperated, so he quickly ended his explanation by saying that he simply needed a name that people like. That was very illuminating. I asked him whether he had any name in mind. I wanted to get his drift. He was prompt. He had obviously thought long and hard about the name of his shop. As a result he had come to me ready with a name. All he wanted from me, an expert in his view, was a reassurance.
His chosen name was Dona Tailors. After all, his new shop was going to be in Behala. And I know Bipulbabu is a diehard fan of the husband (a certain Sourav Ganguly, of course).
Who am I to object'