Struggles You Face When You Don't Have a Common Pakistani Name

By Sarmad Amer | 8 Nov, 2015

If I was born an “Ahmed” instead of “Sarmad”, I wouldn’t have to deal with the stress of correcting people’s spelling of my name or the way say it. But then I would be one of thousands (or millions, even) of Ahmeds. Nothing unique or special in that, is it?

So I think I’ll stick with what my parents named me but here are some of the struggles anyone with a unique or a not-so-common name can relate to:


1. You have to deal with people spelling your name in whichever manner they prefer

All your life, even your teachers weren’t able to spell your name correctly. Spelling someone’s name correctly takes only 30 seconds to check how they spell it. If only people were as caring about others’ feelings.

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“Sarmed, Surmad, Sirmad, Sirmed” are some of the common alternatives that people use way more often  than they use the real version – Sarmad.


2. You always have to explain the “meaning of your name” to everyone you meet

No one understands that sometimes names are just words that don’t necessarily have to have a meaning.

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“Khirad or Kirat, or even if I call myself trashcan, it doesn’t have anything to do with you.”


3. You have to contend with people making up nicknames with shortened versions of your name

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“Hey, Sammy…”

Personally, I prefer ‘Sam’.


4. You are, most probably, the only person with your name that you know of

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In school, college, office, maybe even in your life, you may only come across one ‘Zaryan’, and that’s you!


5. Your name is memorable but then people keep fudging it up when speaking

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And you just can’t stand it! I mean, how difficult is it to say ‘Nihan’, with a noon ghunna.


6. You will NEVER EVER find merchandise with your name on it

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Good luck finding a key chain with your name on it, or a Coke bottle.


7. Computers will, without fail, underline your name with a red line

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Unlike “Ali” or “Ahmed”.


8. Your Urdu and English spelling can get very different pronunciations

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If someone knows how to spell it one way, it is a 100 percent guarantee they cannot spell it correctly the other way.


9. You dread saying your name at movie ticket booths, or restaurants

Basically for any kind of reservations, you have learned the art of saying your loud enough and with enough emphasis on the correct syllable to help people understand.

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But no, tickets will, more often than not say “Sarmat” than “Sarmad”. Like, is Sarmat even a name? It could be.


10. Saying your name over the phone and making people understand is a very intense struggle

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Sometimes, you just can’t deal with it and say you’re an “Umer”.


11. You debate in your head whether to correct how people call you or just let it be

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It usually depends on the whether you think a person will become a part of your life enough to be able to correctly call you by your actual name.


12. You get really angry when someone says “naam mein kya rakha hai

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Dude, literally everyone is known by their name. So naam mein hi sab kuch rakha hai!


13. You get so excited when someone actually spells or pronounces your name correctly

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14. You sometimes google your name just to find others like you so you don’t feel so alone

Maybe there is a famous Sarmad out there…


15. All said and done, you actually enjoy that you get to be special enough to be truly unique

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Celebrate, for there is no one in the world like you.



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Cover image via: A-Plus Entertainment / YouTube

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