Dear Mama / Papa,
Firstly, Congratulations on becoming parents and starting a new chapter of your lives. Also,Thank you for giving birth to me. That was your choice. Indeed a great one. Trust me, you are lucky and blessed to have me as your child.
Now that I’m here, I also acknowledge, accept and recognize that till the time I really start speaking in a language that you understand, you’d have made very many choices for me. Sigh!
One of the most important choices you’ll make for me in my life is that of my NAME. Just because I can’t speak, you assume I have no views / desires / thoughts on the choice and selection of my name. Actually I DO! So please hear me out!
Now I don’t mean to get philosophical here but if there’s one thing which will stay with me till I take the last breath, it is my NAME. Yes! That very name which you will endow on me and in which I really have no say (Unless I officially decide to go for a name change – which again comes with its own share of hassle and paper-work). My name will be with me – in life and beyond! (In some cases, even long after those who endowed me with the name are long gone and in some cases, even long after I’m gone)
Here’s the thing | My name is indeed a key part of my identity. It will define me in more than one way. It usually determines where I will sit / stand in school. It can influence (to some extent) and determine who my friends / foes are. It can influence how many extra minutes I get to submit my answer sheet in an exam. It can change who my partners in crime are. It can influence my own love for myself. It can also impact my own self-confidence. It can determine my identification number (ID) – at school, at work, anywhere else. It can even influence the choice / selection of my lover / partner. It can influence my luck and destiny too (I’m told). My name can also influence what I eventually make of myself; and my success in life. My name will ultimately determine the happiness quotient of my life.
Bottom-line, my name will stay with me F-O-R-E-V-E-R and does impact my life in more than one way!
Now that we have established that “It’s ALL in the NAME”, please let’s get into specifics. I am sharing below some guidelines for you when you decide and finalize the name. Please read below slowly and carefully (Bigg Boss / FaceBook / Twitter / Katrina Kaif / Angelina Jolie and even Arnab Goswami can wait!) This is IMPORTANT stuff, and has the potential to change my life.
1) Let the name be short (6 – 8 alphabets is ideal). Too short and sometimes you can miss it or wonder if it’s even a name (For e.g.: Ra, Da, Re, Pi, etc.). Too long and you get unnecessary attention or become the trigger for many a joke (For e.g.: VenkataramaNarayanaSubramanyam Prasad, etc.)
2) Let the name have some meaning in some language (Hindi, Sanskrit, French, Italian, Urdu, Spanish, etc.). I mean who wants a “name without any meaning?” How would it be when someone asks me “What does your name mean?” and I have to say “Hmm… Well Nothing!” – You may argue, what’s wrong with a name without a meaning. Well! That’s your choice, really! Not mine 🙁
3) Let the name have some relevance / significance to your own life as parents or my life. For e.g.: If I have a dimple, then you can look at a name related to a dimple. Or if I brought luck / wealth / prosperity / success in your life, then a name which reflects this impact in your life as parents? I mean, who does not like to be the cause and reason for someone’s name?
4) Let the name be unique (if possible) – I mean who does not like to have a unique name. I really don’t want to be one among the many Raju’s, Kiran’s, Ramu’s , Preeti’s, Priya’s, etc. of the world?
5) If there is a specific recommendation (religious / otherwise) that my name should start with a specific alphabet and you believe in this recommendation, and then choose a name accordingly. You can still follow the points (1) to (4) listed above
6) Please be clear on what is the First name, Middle Name and Last Name, and tell me clearly as well. The First Name and Last Name are easy. The Middle Name is tricky. For e.g.: People use the family deity as the middle name, a grandparents name as the middle name, and the latest trend is the mother’s first name is the baby’s middle name (Personally, I think that’s awesome. After all that my mother has just endured for the 9 months of pregnancy, it would be absolutely wonderful. And Papa – My deepest respect and admiration for you if you support this!).
Whatever name you decide, please ensure it is consistent in all my paper-work and documentation – Birth Certificate, School records, Passport, etc. Life in the future will be easier for all of us.
7) Please keep just one name and not two / three names (For e.g: One birth name and one name which is publicly used and one secret name due to religious significance / otherwise) as is the common practice in many homes. Unless there is a compelling reason for more than one name, please stick with one good name. It becomes just too confusing for me!
8) Some DONT’s
a. Please DON’T ever keep my name after a food item – either in English or in your vernacular language. For e.g.: I heard of someone whose name in Oothappa (A type of dosa) and someone’s name is Anda (Means egg in Hindi)! I really don’t know what their parents were thinking (May be they really loved these dishes!), but such names are not meant for me! I don’t know if I will like any specific food as I grow up or the expertise of your culinary skills to say what I’ll eventually eat, but for now – No “foody names” please!
b. Please don’t name me after a place (At least not the first name). I know of people with names like Bangalore, Udupi, Mysore.. Huh! Just Why? There’s already a place in the map, and most people know it.
c. Please don’t name me after a body part (In English or a vernacular language). Again, it can be so very embarrassing during childhood and way into adulthood.
d. Please don’t name me after an animal. For e.g.: I know of someone whose name is Kitten. It’s cute – some say! But please, Kitten?
e. Please don’t name me after a “curse-word” / “bad-word” or even a name which sounds like a “curse-word” / “bad-word” – either in English or in a vernacular language.
f. Let the abbreviation of the name not be a funny / embarrassing word. For e.g.: Many times we tend to shorten a name with the first letter of the word. So Shah Rukh Khan is SRK. And Amitabh Bachchan is AB. Now, if you name me as Arjun Sampath Sharma – That would read as A**. And that’s no fun! I may just be one as I grow up, but please let my name not say it. Let my deeds speak for themselves 🙂
9) Let the first name reflect my gender (boy / girl) – at least as per popular trends / common knowledge. Trust me, being called Mr when you’re a girl / woman, and being called Ms. / Mrs when you’re a boy / man is no fun! For e.g.: Kiran can be a boy or a girl. Similarly Sunny can be a boy or a girl (Sunny Deol / Sunny Leone?)
10) Let the name match my appearance and personality – at least at birth. I mean once you see me and say the name loud, it should sound right. I can’t explain this in words, but you’ll know as the parent
11) If you can avoid it, don’t keep a name which is controversial – in your community, in your state, in your country or in the world or in world history! It does more harm than good in the long run
12) And last but not least, please choose a name which you really like and hopefully, I will like too!(Not a FaceBook like, I mean *REALLY* Like). After all, if there’s one word that you’ll use abundantly in your journey as a parent, it is my name [Apart from NO! – which will give tough competition to the name at home, I’m told :)] – So might as well choose a name which you like right?
In simple words | One of my Birth Request / Right: A “GREAT NAME”. I am sure you can do this. After all, you have passed in flying colors in one of the most important exams of life – That of “Human Creation”. So this should be child’s play.Right?
Now coming to the How? – Whether you read the Bhagvad Gita, Google it, Ask your FaceBook friends, Create a survey on SurveyMonkey, Do a blog poll, use a TweetChat or initiate a crowd sourcing project, I don’t really mind. As long as you endow me with a befitting name, I’m good. And yes! I will support you by staying quiet for the next few hours. So please get to work.
(PS: I will love you JUST A LITTLE MORE if I really like my name)
As parents, one of the BEST things you can do for your children is to give them a great name. Now I know there is no universal definition of a great name – It is personal / subjective. And yet! I think the baby’s note above says it all.
What’s your view? Leave a comment to let me know
Nischala Murthy Kaushik is mother and philosopher rolled into one (the philosophical streak emerged after she became a mother – essential for balance, she believes). She is an Engineer and Management Graduate (IIMB Alumni) by Education, IT/Innovation/Marketing Professional by Employment, Google/Blog/Twitter/Social Media Lover by Era, Writer by Passion, Dreamer by Compulsion, Student of Life by Choice, Eternal Optimist by Necessity and Chief Happiness Officer of LIFE by Realization. She blogs @ Nischala’s Space, Thoughts and Expressions AND VERVE : The Quintessence of my Life . In addition, she is also as a guest blogger in several sites of global repute; and her blogs have been featured in several Best-Of lists and on the Directory of Top Indian blogs. She tweets @nimu9 and is also listed among the 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter.