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Friday, June 29, 2007

The Name Game

The clichéd quote says a rose is a rose by any other name. How do we wonders whether streams, trees and rivers really care about being named so. That triggered a thought in my mind on how we humans live with our given names for the rest of our life (unless we are one among those who decide to rename themselves for various reasons, numerology being one cited reason apart from marriage wherein the surname is changed).
I have heard of a girl changing her name from Sushmita to Sumi because she believed it to be short and sweet but I strongly suspect that the Mom wanted to change it because her MIL had named the daughter Sushmita- she used to lament that fact very often that she inherited such a weird name- and this was before a Sushmita Sen went on to become Ms Universe.
Has to be me talked of a strange name she heard of.
I have heard of weird names like Nirasha meaning disappointment. She was the 4th baby girl and hence so named.
For naming my kids, I referred to the numerous websites on Indian names, Indian mythological names, Names of Lord Siva/ Vishnu/ Parvati/ Ganesh/ Laxmi/Saraswati / Durga etc. Since we did not know the sex of the babies we had to select a minimum of 2 girl names and 2 boy names. Also we looked at combinations of boy & girl. I was not very particular about having rhyming names but wanted to have names which would complement each other by some logic- either names of same God or both names culminating into a single meaning. Example Rudra & Akshat culminates into a Rudraksha by my logic. Or if I were to name the boy after the Sun, I would name the girl after the rays of the Sun. My line of thought went like this.
For every name I came across I evaluated it on the following lines-
1. Does it mean something good
2. Do I know someone by that name already and if it is some old classmate of mine or my siblings', how that person has fared in life- Believe me I checked with my brother whether the girl Arushi from his class was good in studies! It should not evoke memories of how she used to always fail subjects!
3. Is it too done-to-death sort of name
4. Is it negative in terms of personality depicted- I love the name Rudra- it evokes a lot of Power but since it connotes the “anger” in Lord Siva, I was hesitant in naming my son so
5. Can it be shortened to something unpleasant which the peers could use to make fun of them- children can be extremely cruel at times
6. Neither typically south Indian nor typically Bollywood names like Vijay, Ravi, Puja, Nisha etc nor too Ekta Kapoor-ised or TV-ised like a Mihir or a Vedika- both names which I love but have become household names. Example Vanshika is nice sounding name and only a side character in a serial so not so famous. I didn’t want someone to point out that the name was picked up from a serial. Really, TV has made Common Nouns of Proper Nouns like Names
7. Most important- my children have to live with that name for the rest of their life, I have to evaluate whether it is likeable, modern enough, pleasant and call-able and sort of think-in-their shoes.
8. My husband added a numerology dimension to it before the final selection
The choices become very limited when you have so many clauses.
Out of at least 5000 names, I picked up about 10 names (with definition) of boys and girls which were acceptable to me, hubby, parents, grand parents (checking the religious aspects). I also made a contingency list. Meanwhile hubby managed to download the entire website of names too.
Post birth the task was easier. Now we had only the set of boy names to consider and pair. I lamented for a while on the good baby girl names that I could not use and then filed them away for passing on to siblings and cousins if and when the time came.
The numerology clause that hubby added forced us to shortlist 2 names out of the entire not-so-big list. He first created the program that calculated automatically the numeric result for a name. That itself took at least a week though why he took the trouble I do not know as there were only about 5-6 names to choose from and another short-list of not-so-favoured back ups. There came some really weird suggestions from a few quarters which I summarily discarded as they did not fit clause no 7 above. Only the name Eshan (starting with E & not I) fitted the numerology dimension. We force-fitted Aryamman by adding another m and made it numerologically cool. And since I was very hot on Tejas & Ojas, we decided to use that as nick names.
Aryamman means Sun. Eshan means Lord Siva and some websites say it also means Sun. I cling on to that fact and tell people that both names mean the same thing- Sun and Ojas & Tejas mean brilliance which is logical from the point of view of their official names and also since they were born on Diwali morning. And now we can actually boast that we did a lot of logical thinking before naming the double trouble.
Is there a story behind your name? Would you prefer or like to be called by any other name? How did you go about naming your kids?
Waiting to hear from all you bloggers.

Meanwhile have a look at the legalities across continents in changing names.


artnavy said...

Intersting- will do my take at my place next week

The Inquisitive Akka said...

That was interesting!My mother kept telling me she loved the name Eshan. After she passed away,I suddenly realised that I had forgotten the name she liked so much. I am so glad I read your blog today, it brought the name back to me immediately.

~nm said...

ITW : I guess its the story of all! Because we i.e me and DH both wanted a girl, and lot of others were telling me that I will have a girl using those old wives methods, we had thought of the name "Sneha" for our girl. "Why?" you may ask. Because DH decided since his name means love/affection, our girl will have a name meaning same as him :D Although I wanted "Ananya" but I gave in.

Anyhow, tables were turned over us when we had our dear son. So it took us almsot 3 weeks to decide his name despite the fact that I had made a list for boy names too.

We settles for "Udbhav" but in laws wanted somethign with "A" since DH and all his siblings names are with "A". SO to continue the tradition, our in laws said only with A. Although Anirudh was on the top of the list, we took time to select it. Once my Dad, said ANirudh has 4 letters from both mine and DHs name, my FIL agreed instantly. So basically we had very little choice in selecting the name of our first child. But for our next, whenever we have, I'm not going to listen to anyone :P

Lets see if I'm able to stand by my verdict as I say it now :D hahaha...

SM said...

Oh so their names are Eshan and Aryamman? I love all four.
Will do a post on how we settled for Ananya!

Lavs said...

Hey,Sorry could not get backto you on the header file....but looks like you managed well...good header image and the flower in the place of arrow is also cool....

Kodi's Mom said...

oh I didnt know O & T weren't their real names! and I've been following you for a year now! the things you learn...

anyway, K's real name is also spelled somewhat odd - but we didnt follow numerology at all. we listed out all A names for boys and girls, I short listed my selections, DH short-short listed from that selection and that was it!

Cinamon said...

You have been tagged and no it canot be about the twins :P

Usha said...

Now I know why they named the kids after the grandparents and great grand parents - this is a lot of effort!

Asha said...

I was named Asha 'coz I was born after a long waiting period of 6 years.
We haven't decided on a name for our baby yet. But I am sure that I won't go the traditional way of naming baby after grandmother/grandfather.

Suki said...

Hey, nice post!
- Sukhaloka(="Sukh"+"alok"=light of happiness)

Trishna said...

Hi Itchy,Its my first time at your some of your old posts too..its interesting..:)
Great post on names!
I am adding you to my blogroll!all the four names are brilliant..I love Eshan and Aryaman too..they were both on my list for boys:)but finally we have Aadya :)

Moppet's Mom said...

Hellooo! I'm back... looks like lots of blog makeovers have been happening while i was gone! Nice new look!

Moppet's Papa and I started searching for names as soon as I found out I was pregnant - and the day before I went into labour, we had managed to FINALLY agree on a single girl name. If Moppet had been a boy, I have no doubt we'd still be calling him 'Baby boy' or 'little man' to this day! :-)

I've done a post on silly names quite a while ago too. Check it out at:

lumi said...

Nothing too complex in typical American culture for naming kids. I was looking for something that was easy to spell, not too popular, and something that would fit a child throughout her life that she would be proud of. Her name is Emily. It wasn't even on the top 20 list of baby names in 1993, now it's number one for the past few years running. Ah well.

I did have the privelege and honor of selecting the name of my best friend's son who happens to be Indian. It was an interesting thing to learn about and all the considerations that needed to be taken into account based on the astrological chart of the child among other things. The goal was to find a name starting with an S or a G that was associated with Ganesh. I strived for something that was easy to spell and say to non-Indians and didn't sound like a girl's name. His name is Soham :)

Lekhni said...

If only everyone put as much thought into naming their kids :) And Ojas and Tejas are nice, unique names!