If you have stared at the name Seetharaman Narayanan as the Adobe Photoshop credits roll by when Photoshop starts up, and wondered who this guy could be, you are not alone. I found this interview with the guy at Ironic Sans. By the way, you pronounce the name as “Sita-Raman Naaraa-yanan”. The last “n” in the name has a nasal, twangy sound, probably impossible for many westerners to reproduce. I wish I had a microphone so I could record the sound for you. I am glad I read the interview, quite serendipitously (I don’t even remember how I got to that page, or why). It turns out that there are quite a few pages on the web where he’s mentioned – even a couple of fan clubs.
The reasons for the name getting stuck in your head might be because the name is so long, and “exotic”. For me, however, I used to wonder how an Indian, from the same community as me (South Indian, probably (90%) Tamil, and (75%)Iyer/Iyengar), got into the credits of Photoshop.
My father(Appa)’s name is, after all, V. Narayan. Before he changed his name to what it is now, his name was V. Lakshminarayana Sarma. The “V” stands for Vydianath, which is also my grandfather’s given name.
So Mr. Seetharaman Narayanan studied at the Regional Engineering College, Trichy. I note this with pride, since I studied at another REC – the Regional Engineering College, Warangal. He’s called “Seetha” – which, though a handy name, also happens to be a feminine name – that of Lord Rama’s consort. My dad’s old name would be shortened to “Lakshmi” (yeah, just like the Lakshmi Singh you hear on NPR’s news). Maybe that is one of the reasons he chose to rename himself. I don’t want to get started on naming procedures in our community – that would make for an interesting post all by itself, and so I will save it for the future.