How far will you go for your baby’s name?

Apple. Imagine you named your baby Apple and put in all that hard work that Steve Jobs and team put in. All those working hours, man power and finally that investment and then they started calling your baby ‘Appu’ ‘Appee’ ‘ Apps’ and worse ‘A’.

Yes, that is just the way I feel every time my kids encounter a really over-enthusiastic relative, dying-to-be-family friend or explosively affectionate neighbour. This when we spent at least four months of my eight month pregnancy zeroing in on an ‘anti-pet-name’ name. Getting calls from Bubbly, Mintu, Mini, Nanu, Guglu nicknamed relatives way past their middle age only reaffirmed our decision. The only other affection-drooping activity equivalent to giving nicknames is an Indian mother feeding you. And that too sadly, can give you heartburn many a times.
So we decided to zero in on short tamper-proof names that had a beautiful meaning too. In other words 90% of names’ dictionary just erased itself.

Next came the global warning criteria; name should be easy to be pronounced by other countries’ inhabitants? Especially the ones on top of the NRI wish-list. Because you don’t want your child to be called ‘knee ya tee’ (Niyati), ‘Gay tree’ (Gaitri) and the best ‘Arya Man’ (Aryamaan). So no Indrani, no Annapurna, no Vanalika etc.
Then came the most common criteria, that of choosing an uncommon name (with a beautiful meaning, easily pronounced by the world). ‘How about Egaiarasu meaning king of charity?’ I said. My husband pretended to be busy working. ‘Well Sambaddha meaning wise?’ I coaxed. ‘Are you kidding me’ said his look. ‘ Zaafir meaning victorious?’ I pushed my luck. His silence was eerie and we were only talking about our kids’ name and not my credit card bill.
Some people fancy keeping names on the beautiful places they have been to or they intend to go to. Paris, Florence, Victoria, Orlando would be sheer compliments but imagine Paharganj, Rampur, Lucknow or Kullu. You know what I mean.

Miraculously we were still able to zero in on some names while we still had two months to go, and then parents walked all over them. ‘No no that was my driver’s name. That name was my neighbour who died poor. This name brought bad luck to the character in mythology. That was my grand mother-in-law’s name and she was (silence) not very pleasing to live with. This name sounds funny, that demeaning, this old, that difficult.
But sitting in the hospital, staring at the birth certificate form, a realisation dawned on us; the child breathes meaning and character into a name and not vice-a-versa. And that’s when we decided on the two names for our twins straight from our heart. And does not matter how and who pronounces their names, as long as they do it with love and respect.

Keep it short because Vikramaaditya will become Vikram or Aaditya.
Keep with the times. Anarkali or Siddheshwar, however exotic sounding, will teleport them to another era.
Say it aloud with your surname at least ten times, make sure they do not sound funny together.
Choose an easy on the tongue and ear name.

Do nots
Don’t have an open session on the short listed names, somebody will have some bad memory with one or the other name.

Don’t keep a name that has a beautiful meaning but sounds convoluted.

Don’t keep a name that sounds beautiful but has no meaning, remember how people ask you for the meaning of your name all the time.

Don’t worry about how who will pronounce the name, if we have learnt to say Aleksey, Dorofey, Liesebeth surely ‘Knee ya tee’ will sooner or later become ‘Niyati’.

Do let us know if you have a name-story too.

Comments (1)

ROBERT LEE Posted on Mar 27, 2016

When we were picking a name for our baby, and the second one that followed a year later, we decided to pick names based on what they mean. At the same time, we did not want their names to be incredibly long. I was also advised that their names should not be too common as that causes delays in processing some documents in the future.

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Charu Chhitwal

Charu Chhitwal, Founder KetchupMoms has daring tastebuds, a love for travel and an owl for her soul. It’s little wonder then that she loves to write and share her tips and tricks on traveling, food,

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