“I’am a Whosoever!” - A Humor Story

gasper crasto, goa, Kuwait Goans, Goa Stories

A humor story...08.10.2016

How do you spell your name?” asked the girl at Air India's ticketing office.

“It’s G like Goa, A like Apple, S like Sex, P as a Parrot, E like Elephant and R like Ronaldo.

“GASPER!” exclaimed the girl, giggling, “Where did you learn your phonetic codes?”

I was glad she pronounced my name perfect. Though dressed in a sari, her accent was neither Indian nor Asian; she spoke 'flowing' English like an American.

“Probably born and brushed up in the West,” I thought.

“I can relate your name to Gas,” she giggled again, typing into the computer.

“How?” I was curious to know.

She giggled yet again which embarrassed me no ends.

For as long as I can remember, my ‘name’ gave me prickly blushes all through; I felt it was not really up to modern times -- not striking enough for my glory.


If history be told, I was named Gasper after the name of a close friend on my father’s side, known to me only as my ‘Godfather.’

“You are the last czar,” I remember my ‘godma’ telling me, “yours is probably the luckiest name in Goan history, the tradition of having godfather names or of saints does not exist anymore...”

“Whatever, the name is nothing to crow about..!” I wanted to tell her, but she was long gone – forever delighted about her husband’s name, and perhaps secretly adoring me for that.

Gasper’ isn't a cotton candy name, soft or sweet,” that’s what I presumed. 

Initially when I grew up, it was a topic of neighborhood jokes, pretty girls laughed and boys rolled. Rub salt to embarrassment, the local ponk ponk 'poder’ had the same name as mine which sort of 'blew' it even further.

Nonetheless, I lived up to it, ready to argue if someone breathed on me the wrong way. I always wished I had the kind of name that danced on the tip of everyone’s tongue like honey.

“My name should have been a bit heavy – ‘pezzad’ you know.” I told my wife once.

“Heavy..?” she showed keen interest, “Simple. Change your name to Kilo Crasto... Let me know if you want it more heavier..!”

I was stumped. I tried to cover up quick. “What would you name me if I was not ‘Gasper’?” I asked.

She did not bother to answer back. In fact if truth be told, ever since we met she has never ‘called me’ by name even once which only proved how much she despised my name.


One day I ‘googled’ my name and to my reality this is what I discovered:

‘Gasper’ is one of the 3 kings who made up the Biblical Magi that attended the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a name centuries old that has evolved all throughout the world.

“All these years I had lived in darkness about my name,” I consoled myself, “a name I doubted meant anything other than ugly...? Why?”

“Your name means ‘Treasure Keeper’, a name pulled out from history to bless your life,” I recalled our village priest say to me when I was a kid.

“But if I had the choice I wouldn’t want myself named ‘Gasper’.. It sounds so pre-historic!” I reflected over.

“I wanted an unforgettable name, perhaps a famous one in chronological alphabets like A.B - Amitabh Bachchan, C.D – Charles Darwin, L.M – Lionel Messi, etc; or S.S. – Sylvester Stallone, P.P - Pablo Picasso, B.B – Benazir Bhutto....”

“Shhh, Benazir is a woman and Pakistani, it can’t be me..” I quickly corrected my thoughts.


Hearing my own name is a catastrophe sometimes. Over the years I’ve noted, most people made a mess saying it.

“Meet my friend Gospal,” said one Gujarati friend, introducing me to his father-in-law.

“...Hmm?” the old man looked at me as if I had been pulled out from a fish pond, “Your name Gospal reminds me of a computer program called Pascal that came into prominence early 70's with other programs like Fortran and Cobol, I am wondering if there's any connection between your name and the Pascal program.”

I felt like pulling a hair out from his nose.

“You pronounce it wrong, sir,” I protested, “It is spelt G.A.S.P.E.R – and pronounced Guess-per!”

“Why, why, why!” I was infuriated, Why can’t they say it right?” 

When I get to hear wonderful and awesome names, I immediately fall in love with them, only to rue my silly conclusions later.

“Hey Shu!!! I said to a Chinese friend sometime back, What a nice name you have, short and cute – Shu!!!” 

“Shu is only a nickname,” he replied. “My real name is Shunzhiguanyu, which is too long and difficult to pronounce even for my own family and countrymen leave alone ‘Goanese’. I was forced to shorten it. Now, even my own mother doesn’t remember my real name.”

“That’s something,” I thought.


Since childhood, my name has always been ‘butchered’ with ill pronunciation, and even more after I landed abroad.

As a 10-year-old I would correct everyone if they said it wrong - new friends, teachers, and everyone in-between. I always wished I was named something easier and smooth.

Growing up I never thought of the name as anything but a victim of autocorrect like it is in google and facebook.

Initially I blamed it on my parents for being too ‘local’ in naming me. It hurt a little to have the name kicked around but as I grew up I began to love the name -- it was beautiful and independent. I realized I should have been proud of it all along no matter how it sounded.”

“Infact I should be proud of the person I am,” I began to think and vowed, “Now, if someone mispronounces my name, I will say it loud and proud, and scream it in their ears..”

However, there came a day when I stopped correcting anyone as I felt it was rude to interrupt. I just answered to whatever they decided my name should be.

While nicknames never hurt or broke my bones, some of the variations in the name from Mercury to Jupiter sounded anything but me:

• Gas (most certainly just a short form)

• Gaspy (many of my close buddies fondly call me that)

• Gasparov (I hear this called out everytime there is an International Chess game which usually involves Russians)

• Gasperovski (Same goes during Tennis Grand Slams especially when there is any ‘ski’ playing)

• Gaas-paar (a number of diocesan-schooled Goans call me that)

• Gos-par (Localized pronunciation by Goans who must have only heard it from their ancestors)

• Gasparini (inspired by Italian football players)

• Gasfer (the Bangladeshi pronunciation and they add ‘bhai’ to it)

• Jasbar (my Egyptian colleagues)

• Jester (the Nepalese courtesy)

• Gas-pair (the Filipino fantasy. I asked one Filipino why the ‘pair’; he said, “aktulee, we say it like how we say Sheikhs-pair, the Romeo-Juliet writer.”)

• Gasper-ji (the Pakistanis; initially I thought they were calling Gasper-G and I promptly seconded saying Crasto-C)

• Casper (The Kuwaitis, and Westerners say it; sure it is picked up from the animated cartoon series ‘Casper the Friendly Ghost’)

• Yaspal (North Indian friends)

• Gopal (perhaps derived by some from their neighborhood deity)

• Gospal / Goshpar (most of my Goan Hindu friends)

• Gospel (These guys must be very ‘religious’ to call me that)

• Gasper bab (Feel blessed to hear the suffix 'bab' added to my name; hear it only from some of my respected Goan Tiatrists friends)

• Gazza (a popular nick-name during my footballing days, christened after English footballer Paul Gasgoigne known to many only as Gazza. Am not sure whether friends related me to his looks, game or drinks. Probably nothing but the G-factor).


My ‘family’ name never escapes being called or written ‘Castro’ instead of ‘Crasto’. The Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro is behind this conspiracy, no doubt about it.

“Well, we Goans are not bothered about family names much,” I often tell my Arab, Western and ‘Varghese’ colleagues, “We call everyone on first-name basis, which is what matters.”

“I heard Goans join the father’s and mother’s names to name their kids.” said one Keralite friend once.

“That may be true,” I answered,  “We feel a unique name is more memorable and respected than a common Portuguese one.”

“Can you tell me some modern names formed by Goans and their meanings,” the friend asked, I could recommend to friends..”

“Well,” I hesitated to answer, our effort to fit into the 21st century nomenclature has been a novel idea but am sure rest of the world has no clue behind the names we invent.”

“Were you named same-same? With your father and mother’s initials?” the Malayali he was, my friend wanted to know.

“I would be a Hindu if they had to name me that...” I said smiling.

“What say you. How come?”

“My father is Rafael and mother is Mariani. I would be Ra-ma!”


Probably each one’s name is etched to one’s soul.

Right from childhood, it has not been unusual for me to suddenly hear my name called out in a quiet situation when there is absolutely no one around, or in a crowded place where there is noise unlimited. 

In school I often dozed off, but during roll call, I was alert enough to still hear my name and call back 'Present!'

Strange indeed. Perhaps it happens to everyone?

We know a person’s name and its value has long been esteemed in prose and poetry. Yet, Shakespeare’s words of, “What’s in a name? A rose with any other name will smell the same,” warrants us to contradict ourselves by what God has made us.

One night I tried to contemplate on the great writer’s beliefs, and on the immortal Bible verse of Jeremiah 1:5 - “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

“Hey, God knew me well before I was born,” my mind lit up, “He surely had His own ‘special’ name for me than my ‘given’ one.”

I thought and thought and thought about the verse that night.

“Who am I?” I prayed intently before sleeping, “Lord, reveal me my ‘real name’ before the day breaks tomorrow. I am sure You will...”

Perhaps I dreamed all night but no genie appeared with a name-tag to my genes. Early next morning I heard a familiar voice.

“Hey donkey, get up..! it was my wife waking me up, Aren’t you going to work today?”

I woke up with a bounce musing over my expectations of the night before.

Donkey? Is that my real name!” I let out a screamer as I yawned.

“WHOSOEVER..!” my wife said giving me a fulminating look.


I am a Whosoever
John 3:16

The word ‘whosoever’ is a Holy Spirit inspired word found 183 times in the King James version of the Bible.

The word forms part of the greatest text in the Bible:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." -John 3:16

WHOSOEVER is a word that embraces us all. Becoming a WHOSOEVER is an opportunity, a privilege and a promise.

Do share the story. Be honored to be a ‘WHOSOEVER’.

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