It's all in a name

It's all in a name

A birth in the family is a great blessing and, of course, a reason to rejoice. Naming the baby is another celebration in itself. In the generation just before us, a strong tradition of naming the child after his/her ancestors, grandparents or saints became the order of the day. Thus, the child ended up having even four names, with three or four initials preceding the surname. I must say they sounded trendy! To add to this, there was always a story to tell about how the names were thought of.

One of our classmates got married soon after college and had a baby a year later. I can’t tell you the excitement this whole event created. There were no smartphones, social media or Whats-App then, so we wrote long lists of names for her. She finally settled on Tanisha who, on her christening day itself, came to be known as “Tanu” among the elders and “Tanny” with the younger crowd.

We received an invite a couple years ago for Dinesh and Ashley’s wedding. A year later, an invite for the christening of baby “Dinley” came in. Poor thing, somebody said. Why couldn’t the parents have been more thoughtful? Would the child feel comfortable with a name like Dinley? Yes, poor thing.

What takes the cake are names of characters from English plays and novels that the person has portrayed, like “Blondie,” “Bumstead,” “Egghead,” “Hardcastle,” “Murdstone,” “Trueheart” and “Pigeonhead.” I guess it made it easy for people to relate to the character.

A friend recently opened a restaurant called “The Red Flower,” as the compo-und it was built in had a profusion of red cannas growing there. Further, he expl-ained, he did not want to call it “The Red Canna” because “canna” would then end up being “khaana,” “kanna” and maybe even “anna” (brother in Kannada).

My husband recently pointed out something that had never occurred to me – names on vehicles. This is unique, indeed, for nowhere in the world is there such a speciality. While one auto sported “Monty,” another had “Rinky and Tinky,” “Pinto and Sinto” – maybe the auto driver has twins! “Chinna, Munnu, Chintu” – three kids or grandkids? And one even had “Chikkamma is Great!”

We were ever used to “Horn OK Please” with a parrot on either side; but now it is “Don’t kiss my back,” “Drive to Live,” “Proud to be an Indian,” “Support our soldiers” etc. When we actually take a moment to decipher these messages, they mean a lot. So, being vocal does have its advantages, doesn’t it!

Giving our children names they can be proud of is the best we can do as parents/guardians. Adding a saint or an ancestor, or both, will not spoil the “fashion.” It would be an honour for them to carry with them the blessing the name brings with it. Hence, keeping up with traditions, values and prayer need to be followed. Surely, the need of the hour!

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