‘What’s your name?’ is one question that all of us have had to answer ever since we came to this earth. Everybody irrespective of caste, creed or class
gets a name as soon as they are born. It is obvious that it’s difficult to differentiate one from the other without the identification of a name. As such, sometimes or let me say, most of the times the over enthusiastic parents would have raked their brain cells and found an apt name (or they think so), for their yet to be born child.
I know, it’s difficult to visualize how your just born child would be when it grows up. Hence, when the the parents name their babies by a certain name, they are for sure hitting a target in darkness unless they have zeroed in on a normal sounding name. Most of the time it doesnt go awry but in some cases it does. It all depends on how vivid (wierd?) is the imagination of the parents. Some examples that come to my mind – of the ‘gone wrong cases’ are-a girl named Lata growing up to be an obese girl or a Meenakshi or Sunaina ending up with elephant eyes or not so pretty eyes. Somebody who doesn’t know the ABCD of music living with a name like Sangita or a totally dry and humourless person with a name like Vinod. A girl named Shanti turning out to be everything but Shanth. For an ordinary looking child growing up with names like Sundar, Sundari or Roopa could prove to be demoralising.
An advertisement of Maggi noodles shows a school girl coming home depressed as her classmates at her new school are mocking at her because she is named Rajkumari by her parents. For maggi people it’s very simple–give her a bowl of maggi and she is happily smiling to her mother’s statement that special people have special names. But is it really that easy? Don’t we all know about Gogol, the hero of Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘Name Sake’- the ordeal that he went through because of his name. I think people who have similar funny names totally agree on this point. One of our friends named their daughter Iti which, as far as I know, means’ the end’ and some say it means -‘this’. I really wonder what made them name their beautiful girl like this!! In olden days people used to think that children are born because of God’s will and that it was not in their hands to control the number of children they can have. So in those days, in Karnataka, when the number of children went beyond a certain limit people used to name their girl child Sakamma which literally means Enough. Pl note that it was only for girls and I have not seen a boy named like that. Not that naming like this helped in anyway for I’ve seen many more after the one named Sakamma:) I don’t know if this was prevalent in other states also. And for couple who used to lose their new born babies for some reason or the other, the best solution seemed to be naming their child as Gundamma or Gundanna which actually means somebody who is as strong as a stone. Probably they hoped that by naming the child like this they can see the child survive and grow strong. Illogical and senseless definitely.
Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav (needs no introduction) named one of his daughters Misa as she was born on the day Smt Indira Gandhi introduced the Misa i.e. Maintainance Of Internal Security Act and another of his daughters is named Kursi (chair)?? The reason given was that she was born at the time when he occupied Bihar CM’s Kursi!! What brilliant thinking, I must say 🙂 Looks like Mr Laloo didn’t want to invest time and energy in looking for names for his daughters. That’s why we have Misa and Kursi. Misa sounds ok for a name as long as one doesn’t know it’s an abbreviation of something. But Kursi?? What must that girl’s plight be everytime her name is called out in the class room or elsewhere? As a grown up she must be feeling like hiding somewhere thanks to the wierd thinking of her father. But then, what’s Laloo’s fault when he’s spending his life with a wife named Rabdi Deevi who has sisters like Imarti Devi, Jalebi etc. Too sweet to be ignored:)
South Indians are often made fun of, for their long names which include father’s name and name of the place they belong to, along with one’s own name. For example Tumkur NarahariRao JagadishRao which is actually written as T N Jagadish Rao or just T N J Rao. When the name is expanded in passport or pan card it becomes a real long name. People from other parts of India find it difficult to pronounce the South Indian names. Most of them don’t understand that South India is not only Tamil Nadu but there are three other states and one union territory and Tamil is not the language of whole of South India.
That’s about South Indian names. Now there are some nick names that I’ve come across from the other side of India, mostly Punjabis, Bengalis and Sardars. If South Indian names are made fun of, there are these pet names or nicknames that most of us find funny (my due respects to the sentiments behind these nicknames). I have heard and seen people with nicknames like Happy, Joy,Prince,Shiny, Honey, Jolly, Mika,Harry, Lovely, Smiley, Silky etc.. Honey Singh, the singer is actually Hridesh Singh and another singer Mika ia Amrik Singh in actuality. Film maker Harry Baweja is actually Harjaspal Baweja and not to forget Hard Kaur whose real name is Taran Kaur. I think people from these places must be having a fancy for English names:) And then we have the Bengalis whose names are admiration worthy but nicknames are really really funny. Here are just some of them – Tuktuk, Tuktuki, Gulgul, Bhombol, Tumpa, Baapi, Babai, Bumba, Puchki, Mou, Khoka,Tutur, Piklu etc etc. I really have no idea if these have any meaning.
My own daughter’s nickname is Kunchi and when somebody asks me the meaning of Kunchi I really can’t give an explanation but my husband claims that it means a very small bird. Her name is Chaitra and on hearing this pat comes the question ‘was she born in the month of Chaitra’, which happens to be the first month of Hindu calender. Our reply is ‘No, she was born in September” and I can see the question in their eyes – then why Chaitra – and we have no answer:)
Now the latest news is that Jonty Rhodes, the South African cricketer has named his new born baby ‘India’ !! Just imagine we naming our child America or Japan or Africa – it sounds so funny as well as strange. While naming a child every parent has to keep in mind that it should not cause an embarassment for the child in her/his school, college or anywhere outsides the four walls of their homes. So parents, think ten times before giving a name or nickname to your child keeping the future in mind.