Hi there, This is Aakash Ranison.

Notice anything odd about my second name? Well, it’s one of a kind and comes with a story too.

“August 2015” – Travelling North India – Cycling and Hitchhiking 

I was cycling from Chennai to Bengaluru. It was a beautiful path, in the midst of nature. My mind drifted from one question to another, about life, purpose, meaning and suddenly,

I wondered – “Why is my name what it is?”

I pedalled on, thinking, musing when suddenly a cool breeze swept past. I looked up and saw the open skies. It hit me instantly. The openness, freedom and tranquillity of the skies were my very attributes on this journey. That moment, I realized why ‘Aakash’  (it means ‘sky’ in Hindi).

But what did my second name ‘Mishra’ stand for?

Typically, second names or surnames are associated with our families, their histories, and origin. It’s something we are born into, something that symbolizes the achievement and social standing of our ancestors. Usually the father’s family. Mishra was my father’s family name.

Now, this is not a comment about social groups, communities, caste or religion. I have no ill will towards them. I neither understand them well enough nor get involved with them. The point is simply that I do not comment on what I do not understand. And for all the talk about fathers and forefathers…

I’ve spent only a brief period of my childhood with my father. I hardly have any vivid memories of that period. He left us many years ago and from then on, I’ve lived with my mother and maternal family. Then, what was the point in using his family name, something that I neither understood nor valued? So, at this point, I had scored out my patriarchal family name and was a person without a second name! Other questions surfaced.

“Why do we always use our father’s name as our second?”

Why should we be remembered only by the names of our fathers? Do mothers not play an equally important role in our lives and in most cases, prove to be comparatively more important parent?

I decided to use my mom’s name as my second name. My mother is ‘Rani Mishra’ and all my relatives know me as ‘Rani ka beta’ (Rani’s son). And this is my reality.

And hence along the route to Bangalore, I found myself. I found my identity, a name which gives me my real identity.

That was the story behind my surname. I’ve a gazillion other awesome stories to share with you guys. Stay tuned in and I will come back with more stories.


This is Aakash Ranison signing off!!
Be Curious, Keep Travelling !!