Sunday, November 29, 2009

Indian & Tamil Baby Names

When we were in the US, the prime job of expat (or the more lowly "immigrant") wife was to get impregnated. Before rebutting this as a cacophonic rattle from a male chauvanist, check the (anecdotal) research done by me and my wife.

-- Wal-marts carry more pregnancy wear in immigrant-dominated neighborhoods

-- Immigrant Ph.D. scholars who are married understood the concept of normal distribution better than others (by remembering the sight of his pregnant wife lying on her bed)

-- Immigrant middle aged men carry prams for shopping while others don't(which points to the recent past behavior of having been "creative")

I can go on with such ground-breaking "anecdotal" research findings. The point is, more immigrants and particularly Indians, were busy in generating the "Gen-next" in the US. Its a moot point that, smart ones do it to get citizenship. As we 'The Ramasamys' are outliers, we obstained from the typecast.

With the economic crisis hitting the world, I decided to contribute my new found free time (from not having clients to sell to) to creating something new. With no easy money found in VC's and no garage to start a business, I decided to create a succession plan for myself.

The point of going down the path of having a kid is, apart from being a result of productivity, it keeps the creative part in you, engaged.

Think about naming a kid. Its both exasperating and creatively indulging. I somehow loathe names like Ananya, Pranav or Rohan. They are on the verge of becoming so common place or too pseudo-cosmic or downright bollywood-ish, in that order.

Another issue with such names, say like "Akanksha", is that when someone asks what it means, I have to churn out a receipe like answer which may go like " means also means self-respect and peace". The sarcastic guy in me would extend the conversation to imaginery extremes like "It's actually 30% conquest, 29.3% self respect and the rest is peace..If you reduce conquest to 12% and increase self-respect to 52% or heat it with little more butter and cilantro, what you get is "Akshaya"!"

Well, then what is "Akshadha"?

Oh..oh..Akshadha is what you get when you bake the same combination instead of frying it.

The rationalist in me thinks that such "meaningful" names may lose their relevance after the first round of letting people know what it means. Beyond that the kid will grow up to be know for what it is than what it's name stands for (except that a boring date could be salvaged with a customary question of 'What does your name mean"?. I have tried this line on many a woman and the dumbness of the responder is directly proportional to the length of the explanation given).

The rebel in me also wants to protest and stand by real tamil names like poongodi or esaki muthu, which are simple, native and godly in some cases. But my wife would have none of that. Her grouse is that when I am named Ashwin in 1980's, why should the gen-next be named "Anguraj". Point taken!

My suggestions for naming the kid with a gender neutral name like 'The Great" (with the surname, it reads as "The Great Ashwin") are being discarded as intolerably narcissistic.

I could strike a neutral ground and stick to simple names that are neither too native nor too meaning-intense and yet godly, like "Sambasivan", "Neelakantan" or "Paripoorni", My wife wouldn't have that too..

Till we hit upon a novel, evergreen, meaning-un-intense and simple name, I shall sign off to make chapathis, for my wife is ready with the roller (which serves multiple un-intended purposes).

8 of my fans were here!:

Madhu said...

hmm.. i have seen no one announcing paternity like this..the way u have written the post..Typical you...

so u have started looking for names..that sounds good..

Bhargavi on 4:54 AM said...

I strongly vote for your wifee choosing the name.... I am sure she will make him feel proud for his name in future :-)

Aiyo! Calling your kid "The Great" with your surname attached.... My God the phrase itself is so untrue :P

sri on 12:27 PM said...

hly cow congrats man! is this how ur goin to annouve the birth?!

sri on 12:30 PM said...

congrats!this is how uwere planning to tell ppl?

Ashwin on 9:42 PM said...


hee hee..there are many better ways to announce...but lets say ddly enough i have a feeling of vekkam still!

padmaja on 1:37 AM said...

so what did you name the baby finally?!

Ashwin on 9:29 AM said...

@ padmaja:

Its a baby girl..She is Vibha..I promise we did not have a meaning in mind and looked for a name around it..We were just plain tired of searching for names that just days before the birth we decided we end the search..that day one of the names that came to mind was Vibha! (Means mysterious moonlight beauty it seems)

Jeniffer Maben on 2:46 AM said...

Interesting article.

Tamil baby names


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