Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Labour of Delivering a Name

Triangles, symbols, numbers and the Sanskrit of astrological charts have been working in unison to present us with a Lucky Letter for our lucky babies since forever, thanks to the pandit's  correct interpretation of starry positions combined with his blessings, both directly proportional to the kilograms of moolah and meethai kept in his hands. This trend of auspicious letters and tasty motichoor laddoos is fast getting ancient - faster than it takes to untie an orange loin cloth or press the delete key. After the business of procreating, naming the procreation is the most important activity that parents increasingly want to do their own way (with Mr. Google proving to be the friend in need as the friend indeed).  

Parents of the newly born and those in the pipe line (no pun fun here) are sweating it out for their babies yet again, but this time to find the best name for him or her - where best stands for 2/3rds of all the superlative adjectives languages have to offer. Some begin early, soon as the home test shows the lines, while others anxiously wait for the scientifically auspicious day when the doctor pronounces - 'The baby is ready to come. Any day is a good day now!' – to start the hunt for the Kingfisher Calendar Name. And then there are always some who begin earlier that early, sitting on their thrones on the wedding day and having a nice little argument about it, perfectly caught on camera for posterity to see. Really speaking, any time is a good time, as long as consensus is amicably reached and finally agreed upon by the different types of family – immediate, extended and all other varieties of it.  

The modus operandi? 
Different strokes for different folks. Out goes family pandit ji. In come expensive books and inexpensive browsing. Some peek into their FB friends’ lists for striking ones, while others take suggestions from all and sundry. A tiny proportion goes original, for instance, combining their own names to produce a third (Trivia – Raveena Tandon was named after her mother Veena and her father Ravi. They were my mother's tenants. So I know.) An even tinier proportion leave it to the grandparents to debate it out. But whichever it is, the name is born after as much labour as its carrier was – give and take a few beads of sweat here and there, and maybe a few oo-ah-ouches too!

Interestingly, even in the selected names the boat is slowly but steadily sailing away from the “sacred” and into the sea of originality called World Wide Web + Imagination. After all, our epic heroes and heroines are at best mythological figures, and at their worst too. Moreover, the disconnect between a woman named Shrimati Sita looking like Lady Gaga and eventually getting a ‘See-Tha’ arrow tattoo somewhere down her spine is a nightmare parents are factoring in, way in advance. So what do we have? An interesting potpourri of reasons behind selecting names. Parents are picking anything from pretty looking to pretty sounding, new spelling to nice selling, difficult pronunciation to twisted traditional. Meaning? Why care, let’s just name her after the sound you made when you fell from bed, right after the deed itself. Or how about naming him after the 3rd Maharaja of Ram-Pam-Posh Dynasty? So manly he was! Oh wait wait! Love Jolie’s 13th adoption’s middle name from the right. Chalo, then it’s final! Congratulations! Time to remove ‘Baby’ from the Birth Certificate. They had any way spelled it ‘Babby’ those good-for-nothing clerks. 

One piece of advice, coming straight from the heart of my name, and it's head too. Do make sure that when your loving child’s lovingly finalized name is lovingly shortened to just the first half of the first name by her friends or foes, it does not lead to their red faces and embarrassed minds asking ‘Did not my parents see this coming?’ You don’t want to hear your own bone and blood being a part of a new-age conversation that goes - ‘Hey Poo, is Sush coming? Then let’s do Aish and Saks for dinner instead!’ after all the hard work, do you? 

Just by the way, what does the first half of your first name transform into? Lovingly, of course!         

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