BERKELEY, Calif.— “Oh God, oh fuck,” were the only words sophomore Tirunavukkarasar Thamilselvan could muster last Wednesday when he was suddenly asked to pronounce his own name during class attendance in his Tamil 1B section.

“One moment I’m just vibin’, doing my own thing, and the next, my life is flashing before my eyes,” Thamilselvan told reporters after the harrowing experience. “Like, ‘how do I pronounce my name?’ I don’t fucking know!!! The last time I heard anyone pronounce my full name correctly was fifteen years ago, in India, when I was sitting on my great-grandma’s lap and nodding along to a bunch of Tamil words I didn’t understand. My parents usually just call me ‘pannadei’ or ‘useless fellow,’ and my friends call me ‘Triple T,’ which I guess is kinda weird because there are only two ‘T’s’ in my name. Anyway, this is fucking bullshit. I’m 100% certain my name wasn’t on the course syllabus.”

Thamilselvan went on to articulate his general frustrations with the course syllabus and the lack of instructional clarity.

“Okay, so first of all, nobody seems to know how to pronounce ‘Tamil,’ which is literally the title of the course,” Thamilselvan explained. “Professor Rajulu seems to pronounce it ‘Thum-ill,’ with an ‘l,’ but I swear I’ve also heard it pronounced ‘Thum-urrrr,’ with an ‘r.’ I looked it up on Wikipedia and apparently it’s supposed to be pronounced ‘Tamizh?’ Like, with a ‘z’??? Someone please tell me what the fuck is going on because that can’t possibly be right.”

Thamilselvan has indicated that he has considered legally changing his name.

“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to be Punjabi,” said Thamilselvan. “Having a name like ‘Rajveer’ or ‘Adith’ or ‘Jasdeep’ would honestly make my life SO much easier. Hell, I’d even take ‘Gurvinder!’ Too bad I don’t know any courts that can legally change my ethnicity.”

At press time, Thamilselvan was sheepishly nodding his head after his professor pronounced his name in a way that may or may not have been completely correct.

 

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