Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mubaarak : Ho, Na Ho.....

An Egyptian family has named their first baby daughter Facebook in honor of the part played by it in the recent Revolution.

While folks out here are cracking jokes about what will happen if she marries Google Patel, possibly have children called Twitter and Orkut, have a pet Dog called Tumblr, and show a Flickring interest in Picasabhai, one wonders , what a name bonanza awaits us if we decide to name kids based on significant things happening in our country and those that make it happen.

This takes me back to how names have come about.

Two generations ago, at least in the area where I come from, Gods and Goddesses were the most popular.

I think my grandmother was the last generation to follow the custom of being named after goddesses. She and her sisters were named after the popular goddesses of learning, valour and the like. For every one's naming convenience , a single goddess in Hindu mythology may boast of several names, all having to do with her inherent great qualities, her ability to be a certain God's wife and so on. My grandma probably named her children (my father and uncle) after Gods, to be on the safe side; but after that, the names were all on the slightly abstract side for boys (undefeatbale, victorious), except mine, where I was supposed to be named after a highly fragrant flower that grows in our native place (which I have not spotted till now). Sigh.

The diversity of this country, the dialects and pronunciations can have the same name appear different depending on the place you come from. Some regions have a complete aversion to saying "sh", converting them to "s" and some areas pronounce every name with a distinct O-fication, as well as converting, with a vengeance , all ordinary "s's" into "sh's".

Today, the style seems to have zeroed in on having short names, for both girls and boys, at least in my state. These names often have some connection with Gods and Goddesses, given that some of the Gods have like 1008 names. But unlike our Egyptian friend, we have been singularly uninterested in naming kids after current country heroes.

Yes, folks earlier named their children Jawaharlal (after Nehru) , Indira (Gandhi) and so on.

But today there is a singular lack of heroes (in public life), after which people can name their children. The only exception one can think of is Sachin Tendulkar who is again, considered "Godlike " in Cricket, and so people happily name their children after him.

Today the situation in the country is such, that despite having great meanings and stuff, there probably exists a blacklist of names; names no one wants their children to have.

Like .

Raja, of the Telecom scam, a name that earlier bespoke grandeur and nobility, and generosity. In Arabic it means anticipation, and in Sanskrit , it means radiant (as in King). He certainly "anticipated" stuff well and cleverly too, and cannot be anything else but "radiant" with all the 2G/3G wireless Spectrum stuff. Of course it helped to have a political boss called Karunanidhi , which is supposed to mean "someone whose heart is full of kindness" . Must be kindness laced with a frill of deals with powerful ladies.

But today it means a crook and a cheat.

Nira Radia , again of the 2G/3G spectrum scam. For one thing, the origins of the name Nira are Hebrew, and Nira means plow or a loom. No wonder, she was able to weave the various industrialists and ministers together, as she endeavoured to plow back into her PR business, the tangible benefits of knowing the right phone numbers in Mumbai and Delhi. Maybe she should have spelt her name Neera. That's a name , which in India means ,"by oneself, or complete " , but also has origins in Greek and Spanish , where it means " young, devastating, and capable of great destruction"......

Anyway, Raja and Radia as a pair were destined to be.....

Suresh (as in Kalmadi) , of the Commonwealth Games Scam , is supposed to mean Lord of the Gods. Also another name for Lord Vishnu. Kalmadi certainly knew how to Lord it over people, but I think if Heaven has courts, Lord Vishnu would rush to file an affidavit to delete Suresh as a name from the list.

Of course , can Ashok , (Ashok Chavan, ex-CM of Maharashtra ) and lately of the Adarsh building scam lag behind ? In Sanskrit his name means "not causing sorrow". Maybe all those folks putting money in the building believed that. Maybe he himself believed that, and so did his ma-in-law, and assorted defence warrior types. But sometimes one tends to fool oneself......

And how can you forget Lalu Prasad Yadav, of the Fodder Scam. Making money off food meant for our four legged friends. A wide search on Google confirms the fact that this name has an unknown origin, but some enterprising types, used numerology to find out that the sum of alphabetical order of letters in LALU is 46 and this makes LALU arithmetic buddies with words like Amicable, Adept, Best, Fast, Magical, Frail. Don't know what happens if you spell him LALOO. But I dont see a rush anywhere to name the children after him.

We certainly cannot leave aside UP Chief Minister Mayawati . Supposed to mean "full of illusions" , she definitely creates many for the people she purports to represent. Any illusions of power that she creates certainly do not reach in her rural areas where her legislators continue to molest helpless women; and people have no illusions of what the police are likely to do, if you went there to complain. The Maya is on full display when she fights for the highest taxpayer title, and flaunts her real estate holdings and diamond jewellery, not to mention boot polishing security....

While the severe lack of public figures to uphold as examples and name children after, is something that is obvious and possibly worrisome, , it has always been safe to name kids after the 5 elements; you cannot go wrong naming children after Fire, Water, Earth, Air and so on.

Maybe it is time to abandon all these naming conventions and give modern names and initials to folks. Like GPRS Mahadevan, or S. S. Bluetoothay, or Sam Sung Tooji, Black Beri Threeji, GSM Sharma, or Kapil Croray. You could even have ROFL Amarsingh, or UMMV Gandhi.

But to getting back to Baby Facebook , one certainly wonders ....

When folks will come to attend the naming ceremony party in Egypt, for Baby Facebook, what do you think they will say to her delighted folks ?

Mubaarak ho ?


  1. awww, that pic of the baby is so cute :) with my obsession with Facebook, i am often teased that my kids would be called a poke or a status message too :D

    my sister, born in 1972 was named Priyadarshini after the Late PM Mrs. Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi's popularity post the 1971 war :)
    i am named after an ancient & holy river...
    My parents did have a healthy & balance view of life :D

    and i totally LOLed and agreed to this ".....Lord Vishnu would rush to file an affidavit to delete Suresh as a name from the list"


  2. LOLed thru the post, esp the last line!! Good one!

  3. hahahahaha! hubby is called Raja..should I ask him to change his name now..;) and my daughter is named after the hindi word for night..which also means queen in German..but being from the south of India..her name is shattered into something totally horrible...I wish I had thought about that when I was naming her :)

  4. Ha ha ha! U come up with some of the most amazing posts ;) Can't stop laughing at those names :D

    I lovve S. S. Bluetoothay and Black Beri Threeji! Awesome!

  5. Hilarious post. My mom was born on Aug. 15th and her father wanted to call her Swatantra. Her mother ended up naming her for a modern heroine in a magazine serial story - aspirational and all that.

    My next pup will be called Blackberry Three ji, in your honour! :-D

  6. a nice witty yet sarcastic post :) loved it!
    now a days , we have children being named after the actors and actresses, i thought u'd mention that somewhere too!
    and 'mayawati' means full of illusions? interesting!
    well written !


  7. NightWhisperers, Starry, R's Mom, Swaram, Sangi, Subtlescribbler

    Thank you. I guess, as of yesterday (march 3 ), we have a new name to look up to, "Sarosh"; thanks to the amazing Supreme Court judge in the CVC case....