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Sunday, February 3, 2008

What's In A Name?

Sometimes, I feel like we give too much importance to names. Our names, their names, everyone's names. And we forget the personality that lies underneath that name.

When I was born, my mom wanted to pick one of these two: Samta and Sneha. My friends say, "Thank God she did not pick Samta". I wonder, if being Samta would have changed anything. I would still look the same, have the same friends, have the same grades, pick the same profession, still live where I do, and still write blogs.

Many of us have been blessed with modern, short, and sweet-sounding names. The kind that are in vogue now. Raj, Rahul, Rohit, Isha, Riya, and what not! And therefore, we take the liberty of saying "Yikes! What a name!" when we hear a peer having a name such as "Chandrakant" or "Balaji". But can you imagine the plight of these people who get teased incessantly about a name that their parents gave them and they have no control over. So many children have known to suffer from low self-esteem solely because they hate their name.

And then we have the parents of the groom, and the groom himself who pester the bride to change her last name as soon as possible. Have the men wondered how it would be to be Raj Malhotra one day and be Raj Patel within one hour of a ceremony just because they got married? We hear brides say, "I want to feel part of the family and so I will". I wonder if its nothing but learned helplessness or accepting what society has it out to be.

So what's in a name?

Technically, nothing! It's just a label to identify different people.

Societally, it is your self-esteem. So the next time you reject a friendship or an alliance based on someone's name, stop to think. If someone's name is Nirodh, it could be that they were born before the contraceptives were introduced in India!

68 Words of Wisdom:

Cinderella. said...

I have always pondered about this girl. Seriously, I have come across so many people who suffer from low-self esteem coz they have a really oldish name...
But you know names like Mahalaxmi-Chandrika-Narayani are considered hip these days !!
Personally I never really liked my name, but then gradually wisdom plus appreciation from peers made me like it.
Pallavini...its kinda unconventional, dont you think ?
Many have told me it sounds powerful...lol !!! Mereko koi dekhega toh zarur jaan jayega ki main kitni powerful houngi !!!
Btw, I loved your take on the 'Nirodh' wala name..ha ha..
Nice post again.

Ghost Particle said...

I live my name...but if i had any other name I would have probably lived around it and loved it as well...or probably created a hyperbole making it the greatest name ever :P

Pavi!!!! said...

Christ!..I'm outdated or really uninformed....i din know there were condoms by name Nirodh !!!

Hmm... ur sayin people decide on relationships based on the name ??? Not Fair...

n yeah..personally me thinks today's parents should have unique n short names for their children.... but no complaints abt wat the older generations named us.
My name is Pavithra....but i cant remember, the last time sum1 actually called me by full-name!

n yeah... Apple for a name???i think thts bad selection...

vEENs said...

Very Right. You know when I started going to school, my pet name was used in the name. So the "sisters" [convert] said that it was not good idea.. and my parents changed my name to Neha. Ya serious. By the time I was in 5th or 6th, I was the 4th Neha in the class.. ans as my name was ver common, my parents again got it changed to my current name.. which is even more commoner :)

But even with all this happening, I never did feel any low self-esteem... and well I dnt have any friends who have problem with their names.. :|


I agree that changing the last name after the marriage is something so idiotic.. but..today I don't think it is compulsory or anything.

If you want you can :)
OR there is a another way, like if yu were Aishwarya Rai before marriage.. u can become Aishwarya Rai Bachchan :D

b/w --> Nirodh?! HAHA!!

Solitaire said...

@ Cinderella, Pallavini is unconventional. And I remember friends whose name was Pallavi and started being teased as Pallo after Lamhe was released. Did you ever encounter that?

@ Ghost particle, And what is your name?

@ Pavi, I had a friend who would browse through shaadi.com and reject guys because their name was really old fashioned. I also know of people in my university who have really old-fashioned names and so decide to name themselves, Bob and other firangi names!

J E E V Y said...

nice post there!
I do have a friend named Bidaan! I seriously donno what that name means but never have i so far made fun of him using his name!
i mean whats in a name anyway! ;)
but if someone was named Nirodh, i wud have definitely made fun of him! i know its bad! but then Thats me!

-Jeevy

nik said...

a different perspective ... (one of my own posts)

http://www.nikhilzkingdom.com/articles.php/2004/09/20

badshah khan said...

Please everyone read this and especially Girls...None should reject me just on hearing my poora naam ....VIjay Dinnanath chauhan ....

Anurag said...

like u mentioned...its giving imp to the exterior while neglecting the interior

n nirodh??!! someone with that name has to be very very very old (by ur logic :o))

carolinagal said...

Nice read Solitaire.
Growing up, I always felt that my name was somewhat unusual. I always found people trying to shorten it to 'Darsh, or Darshu or DT' and what not. But I always loved my name BECAUSE it is so unusual.

Regarding women feeling that they have to change their last names after marriage...all I can say is that we now live in a world of 'hyphenators'. Women have found a clever alternative by putting a hyphen between their maiden name and married name. As for me personally, I don't believe in changing my last name. I wish everyones potential husbands were as understanding as mine.

anuj said...

well surely there is nothing is a name .. but for parents its quite a ceremony to name their children ..so its imp to them .. to friends I guess its not .. one of my frndz is named 'vishwa nath' and we dont really mock him for that .. but he himself at times says wat kinda name is tht .. lol .. so probably he might have been teased earlier in d school or somthing ..

and sincerely in friendship all that matters is the kind of person one is. . neither name, nor caste or color ..

about gals changing their sir names .. well its a gud practice these dyz that the gals take both the sirnames ;)

LOL @nirodh .. hehhe .. or may b someone liked the effect so much that thy dedicated their child to the cause :P

cheese

(PS: sry about not writing a thing on my page n u eventually getting bored visiting it :D)

Solitaire said...

@ Veens, Trust me it is compulsory in some families. I have a friend who was not even allowed to hyphenate her name after her marriage. She had to take on her husband's last name. Ok..so what is YOUR name, once and for all?

@ Jeevy, I will ask Nirodh to stay away from you.

@ Nik, will come back later for your perspective. Welcome back to my blog!

Solitaire said...

@ Badshah, I was about to reject you the day you came up with the name "Badshah Khan"!

@ Anurag, I dont know how old that person is but definitely in their 30's!

@ Carolinagal, I remember DT!! I don't think your name is unusual, is it? Hmm..

@ Anuj, Maybe we might not reject friends on the basis of their name. But how about rejecting a potential life partner? Or even having visions of someone being really old fashioned when you hear that their name is "Madhukant". That happens, does not it?

vEENs said...

My name is Veena.. thats final.. o changes no more :)

Anjuli said...

arrey wah arrey wah arrey wah....yeh to achha tha...

true we actually suffer from low self esteem because of names...I love my name Anjuli but hate my nick name so I never tell that to anyone (don't even try to ask that :-P)

LOL for Nirodh...tu bhi na...

Jeya Anand said...

I can sense it quite well...

Now out of the box...are u a psychologist??(pls dont mind, if the spelling is wrong...I have always got confused with that :D)

badshah khan said...

thanks for not rejecting How abt my real that ain't too common either ...

Deepti said...

Nice post.. Like the bard said " A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" but people with unique names have to face a lot of jibes...

Neetal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LostWeasley said...

seems like you'd agree with abishekh's character in that idea ad...

:: Clouds :: said...

My name's Deya and it means 'Clouds' in Bengali.
I think my name's really uncommon but some people get it so wrong. I'm often called 'Diya'. :(
And after my Physics Teacher in class VII thought my name was 'Deva',my friends have teased me with it all these years.

:(

Solitaire said...

@ Anjuli, please tell no tell no..ay tell no..

@ Jeya, yes I am! No brownie points for you, though. It is a well-known fact!

@ Badshah, why do you think you are still in my friends' list?

@ Deepti, I am sure you do too with some people spelling your name is Dipti.

@ Lostweasley, now what is that?????

@ Clouds, deva re deva! Tell you what! Find a new set of friends who don't know about this incident. :(

KPs View! said...

True.....
I agree...one shouldnt reject one friendship based on their name!!

you always make friends with people...due to the fact that....u get along and u r operating on same frequency! the criteria for making friend should be that u r like minded! not because of their name....I am sure there has to be someone who make friends with people based on their name(there are 6 billion people in this world. Nothing is Unimaginable..it must be happening somewhere!!)

I admit....I like my name Short and simple "Kevin" (no issues there)

Cosmic Joy said...

What you say is true .. society gives too much importance to names and people form opinions based on names.

Mansi Trivedi said...

I guess it does affect people a lot but I got teased a lot with my last name too. I guess I still joke about it. So its also how you take it. And look at Padmalakshmi, she redefined long traditional names are cool and authentic.
Pretty awesome.

Deepali said...

Hahaha Nirodh - was actually laughing out loud on that one.

Well before I moved to para 3, I was just thinking that she would have got teased as hell if is was called samta (where you ask what would have been different). First thought that came to me.

Well honestly I like names - It gives you an identity. What happens though when I hear someone with an odd is name is that I feel like cursing his/her parents. I mean you can't blame kids for being 'insensitive' - they may not even understand it. And yes I know that names shouldn't always be 'hip' and 'in' names - you know the name of Sharukh Khan in the latest Yash Raj film but I think parents (ESPECIALLY those that know that kids get teased) should keep better names for their kids. I mean someone goes and names their kid Google for crying out loud. That's just so brilliant isn't it?

Sorry but I don't think you can teach small kids about hurting someones self-esteems unless their is hurting (in which case that kids you need to teach about fighting back). It's too complicated at a kid level. When we are all grown up we can look back and say this was wrong and that was wrong but not when we are young.

(Sorry the comment got too long)

badshah khan said...

y ..because of uncommon namessss?????

Sunshine said...

This is an awesome post! I actually knew someone named "Aniruddh" and he was incessantly teased by his friends as "Nirodh". Was funny at that time when we were kids, but I am sure must have been so so embarrassing for him!

Neetal said...

sorry had to delete my comment due to political charged reasons... but loved your post... =D

c e e d y said...

Namesake - have you read it - wats in a name?

making friends based on that - well I had few friends back in college - names that are double entendre - hardik, fakhruddin, hawa, ismail fakhri....

and all these guys knew the problems and they used to joke about it themselves....so there was no hurt feeling....

d SINNER!!! said...

very right...

an imp issue which most of us dnt comprehend to and even ignore...

names represent us but they shudn't be given that much of heed.

anuj said...

well see .. we do make fun of people or names or whatever concepts to life there are .. but only when we dont know the person or we know them not so well .. but when it comes to friends I guess when we (or I) come across a person whom I like ..its not the name that matters ..

nd this might even be true in the case of a gals name .. and I guess we among frndz havent ever discussed such a thing .. other than making fun of a frndz whoes frnz name are like 'parinita'/'madhumita' but thn its only to make fun of my frnd and not the gals ..

so I guess its a personal choice .. I personally have no issues with names .. and see at times a lot of things matter like we even say that looks are the last thing tht matter but they do .. but not when u genuinely like someone .. so all this name thing is quite abstract ..might matter as long as u dont knw the person .. but later I doesnt. Atleast for me :)

ANd I personally think its also a matter of what kinda person one is .. for example another guy names anuj might prefer him being called 'nuzz or nuzzie' more like a hip hop name .. hehe ..but I .. I am cool with anuj ..

finally, there is this world and there are these biases, all one has to decide is for oneself what would he choose :)

Solitaire said...

@ KP, how did a gujarati guy land up with a name like Kevin?

@ Cosmic, yeah just like KP might get more phone calls for jobs when he sends out a name with his name as Kevin as opposed to Krishnakant.

@ Mansi, what's there to tease about in Trivedi??

@ Deepali, but then for how long can we categorize someone as a "kid". I have known people in their 20s too who don't stop teasing people. And you think Samta is a bad name? :(

Solitaire said...

@ Badshah, no because I don't laugh at your name.*chuckle*

@ Sunshine, I am sure he grew up hating his parents for it!

@ Neetal, political charged reasons? I thought it was a very good comment. And I am glad that all that it took was your name to get you over the guy!

@ Ceedy, I have seen the movie. And I know what you mean about those names. I have a friend named digvijay and people still like to call him dickvijay!!

Solitaire said...

@ D Sinner, Yes and sometimes people make too much of a big deal. So much so that they wait about 6 months to find the perfect name and the baby ends up being called Pinky or Baby or Pappu all of his or her life! And that is worse than an imperfect name!

@ Anuj, of course you will be cool with Anuj! Its hip and short and easy to pronounce! And making fun of madhumita is not nice. You may say you are making fun of her name and not her but her name is part of her! I am getting defensive here because I have a friend whose name is Madhumita and I do not think she will be too happy reading your comment.

wildflower said...

You gotta very important point...
A significant one!The name changing thing after marriage cant be justified..

I gotta long name ( i luv it tho') i use a nom de plume which sounds more mystic!

Mansi Trivedi said...

Yeah school hallways, people would start singing the title song of Tridev the movie..with echoing sounds. They would burst out into "oyeee oyeee, tridev tridev tridev" hehee....

trust me, there will always be people like that who will find fun in poking others. they will never change. I think some of the most beautiful names are made fun of in society. I have a friend Aural here, she gets teased as Oral 'um-u-know-what'.

but u have to take it the right way, get over it and totally rub it off your mind if its not funny.

wooster said...

heard of The Boy named Sue? :o)

carolinagal said...

@ Solitaire
Well, growing up I never knew anyone with the same name as mine. I finally met someone in high school with the same name, and have not met anyone else since. Even my parents have not known anyone else with the same name as mine...wonder how they came up with it.
As far as my last name goes, I now remember being teased the same way as Mansi. I find all this quite funny actually. As someone else commented here, a lot of the name-teasing happens with kids in schools, and that will never change. Its up to the parents to try their hardest to come up with names that are hard to be made fun of..but even then, kids will always find a way to tease other kids. My poor brother...his name is Malav, and even today, some of his friends call him 'My Love'. Its all good as long as it is fun and games.
But I agree with all here, when it comes to making important decisions, I hope people have the sense to not discriminate others because they have a funny-sounding name.

badshah khan said...

yeah i remember my college days when my frnds used to njoi teasing me......." Sowri to idhar hai baaki ke 2 kaha hai ". But I just love my name. except when I try to explain it to an american ..Not many people get it even close enough when they hear it the first time.

Ashu said...

Wonderful thoughtful post yet again Sneha :). Name doesnt matter besides a means to identify you. Does it more :)

Keshi said...

Actually a name means nothing...just that we seem to want to become what our names are.

Keshi.

Deepti said...

yeah u are write .. all my life I have been correcting people .. its not Dipti its Deepti :) ..
Just after I read your post yesterday, I read an article in Times of India about the troubles of a guy who is named "Hitler"...

RADhika said...

i've met many radhika's so far... yet, i feel my name is special...donno why...:))
But, A great post indeed!

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Hi Solitaire,
Names are not that important. What is important is the person himself. He can make his name stand out or be looked down upon depending on what he has done with his life. Thanks for the interesting post. God bless you and your family always.

Sam said...

Reminds me of Gogol, the central character of The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri....
btw, have u observed that most names are shortened to be soemthing else.. u might have guessed by nw. by name is not realy sam.. my name means.. "a good friend/partner"

Vandita said...

i laughed at the last line...but on a more serious note, i dont think i wud have been happy being Vimla instead of Vandita or Madhuri or Meena...the pandit had suggested M as the alphabet...i love my name.
maybe if i wud have been something else, i wud have learnt to love my name for a different reason.
i don't ppl should be judged coz of their name...but just coz they sometimes are...parents plz name ur kids carefully !

Sam said...

I guess a name is just for namesake.. one shouldn't read too much into it..
Btw, am blogrolling you!! :)

Solitaire said...

@ Wildflower, Everyone has been talking about using hyphenated names after one gets married. But they wont even fit on scantrons in the university.

@ Mansi, :(

@ Wooster, heard of the girl/boy named Hiral, Dipal, Jinal, etc?

@ Carolinagal, that sucks. Especially for your brother.

Solitaire said...

@ Badshah, sorry mujhe joke samjha hi nahi.

@ Ashu, thank you!

@ Keshi, speaking of that, what does your name mean?

@ Deepti, Hitler? I recently heard of a case which was taken to the judge because the parents wanted to name the child Sunday. Thankfully, the judge did not allow it!

Solitaire said...

@ Radhika, because you must be special in some way!

@ Mel, very true. Thanks for stopping by yet again.

@ Sam, so what is your name? I had a guy here in my university who shortened his name to Kevin.

@ Vandita, I hope to-be-parents are reading my blog and paying heed!!

Mez said...

Strangely i am like that. I associate a personz character/personality by the name they have. And then draw judgements from it. For eg. if i have 10 unknown bloggers infront of me n i have a choice to see blogs of only 5...i wud look at their names n then decide. Itz silly but you know old habits die hard.

Solitaire said...

@ Mez, I am surprised you decided to read "gujjuben's" blog!!!!!

Mez said...

Hehe...outta sheer curiosity to know abt gujjuben in US. Visit visa types...or BTM model ;) But u are opposite...lol

WHAT'S IN A NAME ? said...

Tht's me. Ur title. :)

KPs View! said...

well....abt my name...Its secret...if i tell ...i have to kill you.........lolz...just kidding...

let me put it this way...When I was born...the person who gave me the name was NRI.....:)

SO it worked in my favor.....

Pavi!!!! said...

Namesake - I loved the movies and i think there are plenty of moments of truth in the movie.

People who try to make their name sound phirangi - I honestly feel sad for them!

Changing name after marriage - well I din't change my name after marriage and now almost 1.5 yrs after marriage, I badly feel like hyphenating my name with Hubby's . Its just too many complexities , so I'm not sure if i'll change it LEGALLY! But i am going to change it for personal mail ids.
One should change their name after marriage if they feel like it and not do it coz its the "done thing" or a "tradition" or pressure from any1.

Abhay said...

have known ppl who got their names chngd before they wrote their class X boards....felt really bad for 'em.

Deepali said...

Samta is not a bad name - just different. Depending on where you might have been people might have called you Mamta, Jamta, etc or even other stuff.

Well I think there is a big difference between a kid making fun (not realizing the harassment being caused) and a 'malicious' attack on someone (no matter what age). But my point is that if someone wants to be nasty for the sake of being nasty, they will be. If they can't make fun of you because of your name, they will make fun of your looks, your job, your partner, your briefcase, your glasses...anything. I still think parents being a little more smarter should at least prevent the first type of harassment. I mean if a name has great meaning in Latin, great. But it should be the name of a kid where everyone understand the Latin meaning.

Cinderella. said...

He he...know what my frens call me 'Pallu' though...I'm used to it now !
Guess theu forgot about 'Lamhe' while they were christening me !!
(thankgod they did) !!!

divya said...

nice post sneha di :) You know what...my name's Lakshmi divya...and yikes i really dont like people calling me by that name :P i prefer Div,divvi,divya,divvu... :D

elusive said...

the last line sure made me laugh..have ya seen namesake? or for that matter khosla ka ghosla (cheeraunjeelal)?

well, i think in britian they have a provision for the child to pick his name once he's old enough. Till then they make do with a temporary appellation.

vEENs said...

maybe a name is verr significant hain na?
more significant than the relationship i have with my hubby.. may be it defines hw faithful i m to his family right?

HA!

Solitaire said...

@ Mez, is BTM ba turned mod??

@ What's in a name..haha! And how did you discover me?

@ Kps, MAJHA!

@ Pavi, I agree but sometimes even the husbands will not be supportive.

@ Abhay, wow! Such things do happen?

Solitaire said...

@ Deepali, I agree! I met twins this weekend whose names were luv and kush. I understand that their parents thought it would be apt and what not, but to name someone LUV in the United States!? I shudder to think what is going to happen to that child later on.

@ Cinderella, surely you were born before Lamhe was released?!

@ Divya, haha! My bhabhi's name is Lakshmi too!

Solitaire said...

@ Elusive, yes I have! Poor chaps!

@ Veens, rather than faithful, its a test of how much you have accepted him and his family. God knows!

buddy said...

u said 'yikes' to balaji...
ouch!

Solitaire said...

@ Buddy, is your name balaji?