Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Name Factor



Most young couples will tell you the names of their future progeny, “If it’s a girl, we’ll call her X, if it’s a boy, Y”. But regardless of parent’s effort and imagination, children are rather bored with their names. It's human nature. I’ve often dreamt how my life would be different if I had a different name – something exotic, something contemporary. Something that would make folks sit up and say, “Oh what a lovely name!”

Growing up, I had two namesakes in my class. Since I’m not in touch with them, let me tell you that both were rather dumb. Nice, but dumb. So even if the meaning of my name has something to do with meteorite showers (Ulkas, I’m told), the brightness factor did not rub us the right way. Because, like the others, I was pretty average. 
 Then, when I grew up, my namesake was a sweet singing sensation until she crooned ‘Ek Do Teen’ and ‘Choli Ke Peeche’ to become synonymous with raunchy numbers. The trouble with having notorious namesakes is that your image gets linked to the famous name. It is hard to be called Arnab without wondering what the nation wants to know, or Mulayam without explaining your views on rape, or Sunny without, well, forget it. So lately, when I seek attention by feigning headaches, I am told, “Don’t do a Lamba.” Well, so much for Alka Lamba’s anti-drug crusade in Delhi.
Anyway, I am not complaining because my plight is nothing compared to the predicament of Hardik’s and Indrani’s. If you don’t believe me, look at the response to this tweet from Indrani Mukherjea’s namesake. 
Pic Courtesy: Twitter
So, while I was dreaming of a life with an exotic name, I read about the trend to arm babies with intimidating names that give a good start in this competitive cut-throat world. According to a US daily, “More children in the US are being given names related to guns, knives, historical warriors, dark goddesses and macho movie stars like ‘Danger', 'Arrow', 'Rebel', 'Pistol' and 'Arson'. Most popular of all is 'Gunner', which was given to more than 1,500 babies in the US last year. A nation which has seen significant gun violence this year, baby boys are named 'Trigger', 'Shooter', 'Caliber', 'Magnum' and 'Pistol'.”

Kindness and softness, it appears have paved way for aggression and boldness. Is it any surprise therefore, that 'Sugar' and 'Melody' have been replaced with ‘Kali’ - the Hindu goddess of power and destruction? Meanwhile, five boys were named 'Danger', eleven 'Arson' nine 'Chaos' and 'Rebel' was given to 47 babies.”

In the Indian context, I can imagine a generation of Toofans, Aflatoons and Khiladis, where every alphabet has a purpose, where every connotation plays on the psyche and where people go, “Kya solid name hai boss!” Many on Twitter are already playing with intimidating names like Gabbar, Bloodthirsty Vampire and rather interesting, KatDoMarDo.
In reality, however, I’m not sure if an intimidating name provides a great head start because look at Tiger Shroff! I am not even sure if names affect destinies because Uday Chopra is yet to rise, unless his birth in a privileged clan was already the ultimate Uday.

At the end of the day, naming trends follow fashion much like music and clothes do. A name really doesn’t matter as long as it doesn’t play with your self-esteem. As the realization dawned, I felt awful for wanting to change my name. In a fit of boredom, I typed my name on the Google bar. Google contradicted my parents to tell me that my name actually means a ‘long haired lass’. But, all I have is a few strands of dried devastated crop? 
Since it was too late to change the name, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could have long lustrous hair? The name would fit accordingly.”

39 comments:

  1. "few strands of dried devastated crop" ROFL ! :D And apparently, 'Anita' means Grace. Grace, and me? I don't think my neighbors will agree!

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    1. What a lovely meaning!!
      Avid you are kidding.

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  2. Haha... the intimidating names that people experiment with on Twitter reminds me of a tweet:

    Our Twitter handles are proof that we should be thankful to our parents because they didn't let us choose our own names. ;)

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  3. haha sometimes I wonder what do these Amrekans eat! Really naming children after guns! But then we aren't far behind are we...

    I don't know, I guess I never really thought much about whether I love my name or not...

    The story goes something like this..My mother was about to name me Naina but then suddenly thought of some weird joke that people might play if I'm named so...Hence, she chose Nabanita... I guess I'm more a Nabanita than a Naina...And honestly I didn't even know what my name means till the first year of engineering...apparently it means star in Bengali but 'm not too sure ...

    About people putting two and two together, well Twitter is full of such 'blessed souls', isn't it?

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    1. I've often wondered about your name, it sounds so exclusive and exotic.

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  4. Funny stuff, Alka, as always :) Can't imagine people naming their children Gunner, Dagger etc...Uff....Anyway, with my given name, I know a little something about the difficulty with meanings, questions and all! Thankfully there is no famous person with this name, at least none that I know of :D

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    1. Haven't heard Beloo before, lucky you.

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  5. with that theory the right wing will surly call their kids AK47 or AK56 or a bazooka :) or a DRONE :).. saying that three doors down my house , the little baby is called "INDIA" :) and she is beautiful little baby.. very APT I think..

    Now I dont see many "BIKRAMJIT'S".. loads of Vikrams.. so i feel my name is unique too :) hence no namesakes ..

    but the twitter handle says Indrani BASU.. how can one be SO STUPID to not read the BASU ..


    Bikram's

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    1. There is no dearth of morons on Twitter.
      Sitting in India, the name India sounds weird. I mean who calls a girl America or Japan. But then who am I to crib. Good luck to baby India.

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  6. Hey Bhagwan! Really they are keeping such names in the US? Sometimes, I really feel very sad for the kids because their parents keep such weird names for them and then they are picked on for life. In that department, I got lucky. Really grateful to my parents. :)

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    1. You should be, I can't think of any other name for you. Rachna is just so purrrrfect!

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  7. You could change your name to Al-Ka and adopt a burqa.

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    1. He he, Aika is good without the burqa.

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    2. ha ha ha NOW that is very Innovative.. AL KA ...

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  8. Thank goodness for Ricky Martin otherwise I was destined to forever be doomed as Vikkkkkeee in Punjabiland.

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    1. Oh ya, Livin La Vida Loca used to run in a loop at one time. Your name must have been a boon while you were in the US.

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  9. Gunner and Trigger? What's wrong with people... are they nuts? Itne gande naam kaun rakta hai apne bachhon ke?

    As for wishing your name away... I know what you mean. I have a first name that not only constantly misspelled but also features in a popular 60"s number. Even today I have people singing that song when I sighted.

    So I changed my name to Dagny... online and offline. Ha! :D

    *Yay! I made it to the comments section too today!*

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    1. Yay, glad to see you here.
      If folks are happy being called a son of a gun, who are we to complain!!

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  10. Ha ha:) Wonderfully written:) A deadly combo of imagination and facts:) Loved it..!

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  11. Haha!
    I'm not sure what my parents were thinking of when they named me Sidharth, but I'm nowhere close to leaving everything to seek enlightenment :)
    On that note though, I was talking to this couple expecting their first child and they let it slip out that it was a boy - they're based in London; and the wife said they'd originally toyed with the name Arnab. Obviously, due to certain namesake on TimesNow, well, let's say they've decided against it !

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    1. I wanted to name my son Sidhartha but ended up with Gautam.

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  12. Gunner? Seriously? What parent wodge do that to their child?? I always believed that names had some role in shaping personality/destiny but now that you mention it.. well Uday Chopra says it all. For the record I'm quite glad my parents named me what they did.

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    1. Scientists say, it does. Uday is perhaps an exception to the rule.
      G
      And Tulika is a beautiful name.

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  13. You might have read this on facebook--the worst name parents could give to their kid--Ashit--just put a space betweenA and the rest.

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  14. Some can be so mean with the dig to names like Indrayani, Shakti or Prem..Kapoor and Chopra. Guess, someone else with the name Alia may be thought as someone not knowing her GK. At some point, I was called Pappu aur main Pass ho gaya apne exams ko.

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    1. Alia is not so common now, maybe a decade later we will have a handful.

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  15. I too wish I had more stylish name like Lavisha ... haha raja maharaja k zamane ka naam rah diya. I pity the namesake of Himesh and Rakhi as well. Well Rebel Wilson is pretty famous now... so that's not too bad :) but Gunner !!

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    1. Welcome aboard. But I love the royal touch in your name.

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  16. Reminds me of Russell Peters and his take on Indian names. That bit about US fun names really is the limit. I mean, Apple and Blue Ivy were bad enough, weren't they?

    As for me, I always liked my name but had a tough time explaining my surname as a kid which was Thumbavanam, a town in South India. Outgrew the embarrassment and think of it with pride now. Perks of growing up :)

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    1. Yeah, Russell Peter plays with names a lot. And you have a lovely name Shailaja.

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  17. Reminds me of Russell Peters and his take on Indian names. That bit about US fun names really is the limit. I mean, Apple and Blue Ivy were bad enough, weren't they?

    As for me, I always liked my name but had a tough time explaining my surname as a kid which was Thumbavanam, a town in South India. Outgrew the embarrassment and think of it with pride now. Perks of growing up :)

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  18. Don't you start now :) Soon we will have a legislation on banned names :)

    How about 'Suresh' for a common name? Like you, I had three others in the class and, in the outside world, every other guy I tripped over was a 'Suresh'. It was, apparently, a very fashionable name around the time I was born. Yet, there are few who know what it means - even among those who were named 'Suresh' (To prove that I know - Suresh splits to 'Sur' (as in Sur-Asur and not the musical connotation) and 'Esh' as in Eshwar, thus connoting 'God of gods' :) THAT, for anyone who knows me, is a hoot :) )

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    1. Ha ha ha Suresh. I know a handful too. You are so right, not many know the meaning. Thanks for the explanation.
      All I know about Hindi names is from my Class ten Hindi grammar class.

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  19. Trigger', 'Shooter', 'Caliber', 'Magnum' and 'Pistol'.?!! Seriously?!! As if we need more reminders of gun violence!!

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  20. LOL ! I had been wanting to change my name for such a long and was rather miffed with my parents for choosing such a common name as Asha. Of course, I changed my opinion, once i heard that the next contender was Alamelu ! And Asha does have an pan-Indian flavor :)

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