Monday, March 26, 2007

A rose by any other name

...would smell as sweet, the Bard assured us.

But honestly, I'm not so sure. Just think about it - do you really believe you would be the same person you are today if you had spent your life answering to the name Sweetlove? Or Nebula? Or Godly? (In case you're wondering - I haven't made these names up. They're for REAL!)

There have been a lot of baby announcements recently in my circle - cousins, classmates, colleagues, and friends have all been queuing up for their bundles of joy at the stork's this past year. And while I have nothing against unique names (and unique spellings of regular names), some of the names I've heard have had me wondering what the parents were thinking.

Now I should clarify here that I have a high tolerance for what a normal person would consider strange names. I come from Kerala, a state famous for creating the silliest names in the country. Mallu kids either get freshly coined names based on a combination of sounds from their parents' names, or get named after a famous (usually political) figure.

So the average Aji, Biji, or Ciji doesn't even register as odd on my radar. Introduce me to Jaison and his younger brother Bison, and I won't miss a beat. Point out Abraham Lincoln Verghese and Lenin George Cherian hobnobbing at the local tea-shop and all you'll get is a bored shrug.

But there are names that have shaken even my Mallu immunity. Shabby Jacob. Lousy Thomas. I kid you not - these are REAL people! And anyone who's flown by a certain popular Indian domestic airline is bound to have encountered the lovely Nymphia.

My own name was picked out of a hat, since my mom, dad, and paternal grandmom simply could not agree on a name for me. So they finally each put their favourite name into a hat and had my granddad pick one out. The chosen chit was my grandmom's choice - an ordinary, even common, Indian name, with a sweet meaning.

If I ever needed a sign that the Big Guy up there is watching out for me, this is it, considering that I could have ended up being named after an exotic Russian literary heroine (courtesy my dad) or the 55 year old matronly doctor who delivered me (my mom's choice; a name that even my grandmom thought sounded old)!

In retrospect, my shortlist of names for Moppet has quite a few candidates for the 'what-was-I-smoking-when-I-picked-that-name' prize. Maybe it was the hormones. Or the excitement. Or the fatigue. I don't know. Anyway, she's lucky that whatever caused that lapse in judgement passed before we registered her name. I actually know parents who decided 3 years after their son was born that they didn't like his name and registered him at school with a completely different name, causing much confusion all round. They finally resolved it by turning the old name into a middle initial that got dropped a few years later.

Finally, check out this link . More kids who will be changing their names as soon as they can.


Anonymous said...

P- this was hilarious! :)Keep them coming. and the pics are simply awesomely cute- Anusha

Just like that said...

And finally I come to the post that set me off on this journey thru your blogs...

I have had a wonderful time reading all, and commenting on most of your blogs till now.

Am putting off the rest for tomorrow, cos its time to pack up and leave now for home and Sonny boy.

Do drop in on my blogs, when you have time. Would love the comments as well.

With love,
Jevaisbien Merci !!

Suki said...

Thou art inimitable!

I think I'll save up the hilarious archives for another night, and now try to sleep. :D

Hmm... wish there was chocolate in the house.