“A rose by any other name will smell just as sweet.” Will it? Not for Indian parents I guess? These days I am regularly coming across names of kids that sometimes border on plain weird. For the sake of not antagonizing some people close to me, I name no names :).
In the olden days of my parents’ generation, kids were named after the umpteen Hindu Gods in the hope that the child would imbibe some pious qualities of the deities. Considering the kind of corruption we see around us, it seems like this strategy did not work very well. Of course, rashi or your horoscope was consulted to arrive at that magic letter that is the first letter of your child’s name. Well, lots of people do it and there is nothing wrong in that except sometimes weird letters like Vy, Hu may come up that might only give you option of choosing Chinese names for your children.
Then came our generation where luckily for us, our names were a bit more modern because I cannot imagine myself being happy with a Sita or a Lakshmi for my name (no offense to those being named so). And, now in my kids generation, there is an absolute obsession with naming kids in a manner where the unusual and the weird takes a place of pride. And, what is with the spellings too these days?
In general, Hindu names are beautiful because they have a lyrical quality and a meaning attached to the names. But now with the help of websites, books and even baby name consultants to help us out with this onerous task, names are dug out from the Upanishads, Purans and what have you. Research has proven that names really do not contribute to your success. You might end up taking on names that are more glamorous or acceptable if you are in showbiz but otherwise they really do not reflect your personality. Just one request before you choose a name for your child — remember that it should not be a source of embarrassment and teasing for your child when he/she grows up.
BTW, why do Indians choose English names for their pets always?



39 Thoughts on “Names!

  1. Before we named our new born,we looked at a name which would mean “gift of God”.And we named him DAIWIK

  2. I feel that our names must have a meaning, believe that it affects personalities, I value intelligence and kindness,and I chose my children’s name accordingly and they are true to their names.

  3. When we were choosing names, we wanted a short meaningful name. And then we got to know that in mythology what was the name of my husband’s namesake’s son’s name, we liked that name and followed likewise. Now go do some research. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜›

  4. I guess, we Indians haven’t come out with the trauma of overruled by the Britishers for almost 200 years and so we end up having English names for our pets. πŸ˜›

  5. I have observed in several families, that kids are named after the grandparents. And then given a different name coz you cannot take the name of the grandparent (out of respect)! Am totally puzzled by this. Why give the kid that name in the first place if you’re not going to call it by that name? Weird.

    About the pet naming – so right!! Common dog names: Tommy, Jimmy, Roger :))) Ours was called Sheru.

  6. @BKC Well, that sounds like a nice name.

    @Renu Well, that is good. But, most likely your kids turned out good because you taught them good values.

    @Bhagyashree haha question for me is it? As long as you got the name right, that’s all that matters :).

    @Rachit So, now we wish to traumatize them. Another logic could be that we would not wish to offend someone lest he turns out to be our dog’s namesake :).

    @deepa That’s so correct. Why name them after grandparents in the first place? And, I do like your dog’s name Sheru.

  7. It has been fashionable here for a while … I prefer traditional names myself – as for naming pets English names, we’ve been doing that for years too :0)

  8. Yes, i think the nomenclature method of humans is a good topic fr a thesis

  9. Names must be meaning full and should be such that anyone can pronounce that name properly, other wise if some one pronounce name wrongly it entirely changes the meaning of the name…..

  10. I remember one of our house help’s name was Mobil ,his two brothers were Diesel and Petrol.Strange world of names.
    Happy Sunday Rachna.

  11. Interesting point. Names should have meaning and different families have diff. customs.

    Personally, I don’t see anything wrong in naming a child after grandparents – its one of the best ways to honor them, isn’t it? Of course, it depends on whether we have a good relationship with them in the first place or if we feel the grandparent’s name is outdated.

  12. @jane Tongue in cheek, of course your pets will have English names ;-).

    @Tomz It is interesting definitely.

    @Irfan Yes getting the correct pronunciation is important too.

    @Kavita That’s seriously strange.

    @Swapna I don’t see anything wrong there myself. But, we somehow don’t have the tradition of taking our grandparents names that way so sometimes the naming defeats the purpose.

  13. Very valid question at the end..Today everyone wants to be unique. Remember there used to be several Sanjays, Sandeeps, Ajays and Anitas in the class.

  14. mobil, diesel & petrol..baapre…

  15. Names these days are indeed weird. About keeping English names ,my daughter kept both our dog’s name , and she seems to keep it right for it just suits them, as if the names are just made for them, our first dog that died had been named Cookie, no thinking on her part she just kept it.
    The second came and again i asked her only, for I am very undecided when it comes to names, she just came out with the name Toffee, and it really suits our dog, for she sweet as a toffee.
    We had many dogs and cats in my parents house , with names, like,Ramu, Balu, Cheenu, Namu,Honey,Bobby, and a cat named Rani and so on.
    But even weird names are okay, for one gets used to the sound soon.

  16. Alll my life…school college even in the last company…there would be some other in the same name…and i had to liv on nicknames…

    Me and my cousins all had Indian names(we r chrstians and my real name is nt Jon)…but when it came to namin my cousins kids…they acquired totally English Biblical name like Jonathan, Henry…It would sound cool as a kid…but in schools it would stand out

  17. People start looking for names long before the child is born. Like Hindus,most Christians would choose the name of some saints as the christening name,but then would find another name for common use.
    Most of the names we hear these days have no meanings.But then,is it necessary that names should have meanings?
    The trend is to find some uncommon names and in the process, they find very weird sounding names.

  18. @Alka Yes, I remember. Names getting trendier is good but weird is well really weird :).

    @Ramesh I know, baap re!

    @rama I like the names Cookie and Toffee — sound cute :). One might get used to weird names, and I wonder if the child is okay when persistently quizzed about why his/her name is this way. I have seen children making fun of weird names, and we certainly do not want to provide one more avenue to bully kids.

  19. @Jon I didn’t know that Christian names stood out. I have studied in missionary schools and all my Christian friends had Christian names which we found quite normal. It was only when I came down South that I found it confusing that Christians had Hindu names. Did you face any bullying because of that?

    @dr. anthony No absolutely, it is not necessary to have names with meanings. It is just that Hindu names have had meanings so I’ve got used to that. And, you’re right, in the quest to be different, sometimes the weird becomes commonplace.

  20. well I know it doesnot help in luck etc but i do feel a name says a lot about people..

    what i hate is the nick or the small name given which has no resemblance to the proper name .. chothu , motu , Bitu this and that..

    And My name was kept after a lot of coniderations as Vikram was quite a common name wheras with a B was good and it comes after A .. so if you are standing in a que the number came sooner then the one who has to wait till V.

    and pet names well i never thoguht of that way .. hmm true we name then after english though mine are mix and match.. my favourite was called Jenny.. I have had Rambo, Sheru and Banto too πŸ™‚


  21. Names shall have a meaning and simple. My name is awesome :)))

  22. It does get amusing when people have ‘interestin’ names. – Faith Pandey, Sweety Singh are few I have come across.

    Then there is ‘rain’, ‘apple’ and such names as well.

    But yeah whats in a name? πŸ™‚

  23. True “a name would not reflect a person’s charecter and identity or personality.Infact I have come across a lot of people with names like “maheswari,lingamurthy,gangamma etc ,but have a vivacious and dynamic persona.Names can someitmes be so decieving!Well ,even I have a very old name “rajashree”and it was converted for the older”rajeshwari’and nicknamed as “raji”…:))

  24. lol @ choosing English names for pets! : )

  25. @Bikram And Biharis and Bengalis regularly say Bikram, Bineet etc. πŸ™‚ Valid point about nicknames too. They are especially bothersome when one grows up.

    @A Good that you like your name :).

    @Insignia Perhaps, in an attempt to stand out, people go for such names.

    @raji Very true.

    @Falaxy Thank you for visiting my space.

  26. Glad it is not the pets and not the kids too. πŸ™‚

  27. @Zeba Thanks for visiting! I am glad too.

  28. such a informative article….thanks keep writing….i follow you !!and plz visiting on my blog its http://yomantra.blogspot.com i hope you like it !!

    Jai HO Mangalmay HO

  29. “remember that it should not be a source of embarrassment and teasing for your child when he/she grows up.” Glad to know someone understands that lol. Kids used to teast me about m name all the time.. “Taithree” they would rhyme it with something embarassing! Thank god I never took it to heart and break down because of it.

  30. …nice interesting post…I had read your comments before in other blogs but never happened to be here..
    ..I guess name theory is different for everyone…I named both my sons in American way ..so that ..there are no short forms or keeping fake names like most of indian community in US…rahul becomes Ray,sunaina becomes Sue, lalita becomes Lori ..vinay becomes Van so on and so forth..
    I value intelligence and family values more then names.

  31. I believe the worst thing parents can do to their children is name them weirdly. They must be doing it out of love, but it’s the poor child who has to bear the embarrassment for the rest of his/her life.

    I’m a Mallu, and mallus are notorious for weird names. Most popular trend is to concoct a name by using the parents’ names. For eg:- The kid of Leela and Balakrishnan would be named Leeba. :/ And this is one of the better ones. Mallu’s have the most embarrassing names in history.

    I’m so glad my parents weren’t too adventurous and experimental while naming me and my sis. I would rather have an ordinary, common name than one that would invite sniggers behind my back. Not to mention even more embarrassing nicknames!

    To all those who say, “What’s in a name?”, you’ll know what’s in a a name when you have a bad one. πŸ˜‰

  32. And naming pets with English names.. Well, that may be to avoid embarrassment again. Imagine, if your dog is named Rahul, and when you call out the name, along with your dog, your neighbour’s kid also answers. :p

  33. Lol @ Spaceman Spiff!

    I wonder why parents do this to their children. The wierdest I have come across is ‘Little Flower’ :O

    Jhumpa Lahiri explores this subject beautifully in her book ‘The namesake’.

  34. @vivek call me vish Thanks so much for visiting. Yes, I will visit your blog soon. Have been busy of late.

    @Emmy I wonder why parents don’t think about how the name they give can affect someone so negatively. I hope you gave it back nicely to those who teased you.

    @Harman And that is the normal thing to do. Most names become Americanized to fit in and also not to be murdered by the locals. Thanks for your visit :). Hope to see you here more often.

    @Spaceman Spiff Loved your comment. Thanks for visiting here. I have a few Mallu friends too. And, sometimes the names are beyond weird.But it is only now that I understood from your tale why that happens :). Yes, only the one who has a weird name knows where that pinches.

    @Destiny’s child Long time! I hope you are well. I know, I read the book and loved the movie as well. Gogol was a constant source of embarrassment for the poor boy!

  35. Nowadays parents have gone a step ahead. They are naming children after Greek Gods and African tribes. For example, the name Nyasa (which Kajol gave to her daughter)is taken from a lake in Africa.
    I am fine with a name as long as it sounds good. I like Arjun and Karan as names although they are done to death. Aaryan is another favourite. I wish I had such a name. πŸ™

    • And I thought Kajol had named her daughter Neesa with a weird spelling to distinguish from the rice of the same name. Yeah, I like Arjun and Kabir, even though they are done to death.

  36. Completely agree with you Rachna! The kind of names parents are digging out for their kids for the sake of being unique is amazing! Some of the names are so hard to pronounce for even grown-ups, I cant imagine the plight of the children themselves who might go through a struggle while learning to speak their own names.

    Thank you for leaving a link at Amit’s, else would have missed reading such an interesting post πŸ™‚

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