“By Any Other Name” by Santha Rama Rau begins with Santha and her older sister Premila attending their first day at the Anglo-Indian school in Zorinabad. Santha is five and a half and Premila is eight years old. The headmistress changes the sisters’ names to Pamela and Cynthia, as she feels their Indian names are too difficult for her.
Santha recalls that they have been sent to that particular Anglo-Indian school because of the proximity of their father’s job. Up until then, the girls’ mother refused to send Premila to an Anglo-Indian school out of her distaste for the British ways. However, because their mother got ill and was not able to teach them anymore, the girls were sent to an Anglo-Indian school.
On the first day of school, Santha feels like she has a double personality and feels detached from the actions of her British self, Cynthia. Santha remembers being bored because her mother had already taught her how to read and write. During recess, Santha approaches Premila and notices that they are the only children who brought Indian food to school. After lunch, Santha is taken aback by the system of playing games. As her family always allows her to win because she is the youngest, Santha does not understand why the other children do not do the same with her.
When the girls return home, Santha tells their mothe...