Clients, partners and potential job seekers are always stumped.
We’re often asked by clients, staff and partners, from San Francisco to
London and Mumbai, why we’re called Pigtail Pundits.
Well, the answer is simple.
Pundits is synonymous with learned, scholarly, wise. These are delightful connotations that we felt we could do with when we started out in the web business in 1997.
By itself, Pundits was rather limp, we felt. Then came the brilliant suggestion of Pigtail, the tuft of knotted hair that Hindu priests wear at the back of their head. Also known as the shikhã in Sanskrit, or Choti, in Hindi. We put the two words together. Pigtail Pundits was thus christened.
Over the years, our identity has evolved. The initial focus was on the shikhã, and now it has flowered to become the tilaka.
The mysterious effect Pigtail Pundits has on people.
When we christened ourselves, we did not anticipate all the salutary things that our name would hold, or surprise us with, over the years. We knew that it was not just another name which gave away what we do.
It’s a great conversation starter.
We found that to our delight over supper one evening in 2003. We were in Santa Rosa, at a quaint Italian restaurant.
We were the guests of Bill Thompson, our associate in San Francisco. Bill’s client, Sarah and Peter of Harrison Woodfield Architects, had arranged supper for us at Luigi’s.
While we got talking, Bill popped the question: Why are you called Pigtail Pundits? We regaled him, Sarah and Peter with our answer and its curious origins.
Again at a meeting with Hogg Robinson in London, in 2001, the MD had the question flagged on his agenda. Of the 3 points to be discussed, the last one was: Why are you called Pigtail Pundits?
We now know that our name involves everyone it touches.
We now know that it is also sufficiently and universally mysterious. It stumps folks who happen to hear it. It makes them overly and irresistibly curious, about us. It makes them question how we got our name.
Have the Pigtails arrived?
We remember a meeting with a client in Chennai to discuss design and UI help on international projects, a long time ago.
We arrived early and were ushered in quickly to meet with the Vice President. We were seated in front him when the receptionist rang to find out if the Pigtails had arrived. She asked the VP to alert her when we were leaving so that she could catch a glimpse of us, Martian creatures.
We thought that this was particularly hilarious.
A shake of the head, an occasional frown, and guffaws.
We often walk into business meetings only to get the folks there shaking their heads. Understandably, they see perfectly normal folks sporting the involving and curious appellation - Pigtail Pundits. What an anti-climax. Grins…Guffaws.
We think our name bespeaks of the creative and the spiritual in us.
The name announces these traits without us having to talk a word on anything. Isn't that a great intro?
Rajesh with Bill Thompson in front of Sargam, at Walnut Creek, circa 2003.
Unni with the venerable Bill Thompson in Walnut Creek.
Unni with John and Mark Olson and The Inn San Francisco.
Unni with the great Howard Bloom, at the author's Brooklyn bedroom.
Unni with Sandy Tapper at the New York Hilton on a chilly Sunday morning.
Unni with Lyle Polok, in blustery Las Vegas.
Unni with Lee Traupel on a cold, wet day in Healdsburg, CA.
Rajesh with Lyle Polok, in Las Vegas.
“I am the one, non-dual Brahman free from duality. May my eye of intuition open.”
The spiritual significance of the tilaka?
The U with a dot in it represents the tilaka, a mark of auspiciousness. It is worn on the forehead with sandal paste, sacred ashes or kumkum (red tumeric). While there are many forms of tilaka, the one we have in our logo is traditionally the mark of Vaishnavites, the followers of Vishnu.
The tilaka is applied at the Ajna Chakra [the pineal gland is said to be behind this spot], the space between the two eyebrows.
It has a very cooling effect. Application of sandal paste has great medicinal value and spiritual influence. Application of sandal paste nullifies the heat generated when you concentrate and meditate on the pineal gland.
When you apply the tilaka, you mentally imagine:
I am the one, non-dual Brahman free from duality. May my eye of intuition open.
The spiritual significance of the shikhã?
The shikhã is a tuft of hair on the head. It is also known as choti (Hindi) and chotli (Gujarati).
According to the Vedic scriptures, the shikhã helps one attain self-discipline since it keeps the buddhi (intellect) under control.
The shikhã helps a person: control his desires, generate noble thoughts, observe dharma, attain wisdom and gain ãtmic strength.
That sort of sums up all the noble virtues that bless our craft.