Friday, July 24, 2009

Namakaran: Keep it flawless

Our names are very important to us. I mean we all feel very disturbed if our names are spelt incorrect by someone. Agreed, we put up with or have to put up with an incorrect spelling in our names, but we are not very happy if people don't spell our names correctly, are we?

In olden days, naming a baby in some South Indian Hindu (a faith in India is called Hinduism and the people who follow it are called Hindus.) families was very easy. The first son in the family got his paternal grandfather's name;the second son and his maternal grand father shared the same name; the first daughter took the paternal grand mother's name and the second daughter in the family took the maternal grand mother's name. All these grandparents usually had very long names which were mostly that of a Hindu God or Godess. One way to remember God in day to day activities was an old reasoning behind such a naming convention...

The next to next children usually were named after the Hindu Gods and Godesses. It is a point to note that there were as many as twelve children in a family. Some of these names are attached to a Hindu fable or a mythological character and are regarded very religious and very divine. I mean, you just cannot spell it wrongly, leave alone shortening it.

Then came a generation which also followed the same trend in naming their children, but pet names must have come into existence by then, I guess. Which is why, Narayanan became, Nana and Subramanian became Chuppudu or Suppudu .. :-) Everytime I hear the word Chuppudu, I laugh out loud. Run a check on any South Indian Tamil family to see how many Chuppudus you can find... :-) Some how we all have come to accept these names and pet names very well..

Over the generations when life moved from the conservative style to modernity ( my definition: good influences from different cultural/social/intellectual beliefs are inculcated and practised) and people moved from one state to another for a job or education advantage, naming also moved along ( to be read as a long way). Children do have their grand parents' names but the parents choose to give an alias name that is easy, that feels modern and easily accepted among a clan of cosmopolitan children and names that go with the trend...

In the fast generation that we are in, today, short forms and short names are very common. People who moved between states have now started relocating from India to other foreign lands.. The foreigners cannot pronounce our Long names that need a very clear Tamil or Sanskrit based pronounciation.

So, often two syllable names are shortened to mono syllables!!! The name 'Dilip' gets shortened to Dil for instance... I was happy for a Ramnarayanan who went abroad, because his name got registered as Ram ( Random Access Memory is called RAM in computer science.) At least a part of the name is intact and Ram is still Lord Rama in the faith of Hinduism.. The grandfather Mr. Ramnarayanan would not be really hurt..!!! :-)

Day before, I heard this name Jack.. I thought it must be some foreigner whose name can be a Jackson or Jack. When I read the name on the screen it said, Jag... That was strange, but there are a lot of strange names that I don't know, so I didn't really care... could not help thinking of the word Jag because in one of the organizations I worked for, Jag meant, a Bug. Bug in software industry means a clear (insect) bite in the code that you have written which is why it was called Bug. My monkey brain synonymized the name Jag with its meaning bug and I didn't like it at all. While I was wondering if Mr.Jag knew that his name had another out-of-the-world and totally ridiculous meaning other than the intended meaning of ' King of the Universe', I heard about a Mark.

My friend clarified that Mark stood for Markandeyan, the staunch worshipper or Lord Shiva who had the powers to stay sixteen all his life.. The story of Markandeya is part of the Hindu Mythology.

Wonder if the grandparents of Mark and Jag would be happy about their grandson's' names being given such new dimensions with extra-ordinary meaning and effect!!!!

While I am thinking of a nice pet name for my new born niece, I cant help think what she will be called when she goes to live in a different country.. while her name's intended meaning is something to do with music.. May be in future we should think of names that just cannot be shortened to names with ridiculous meanings... Already people are spending time and energy on names that are unique, that are short, that are in line with the birth star and numerology... but may be there should be an additional effort involved to tackle the ultra-modern trend of shortening the names that give a tangential drift in the intended meanings.

1 comment:

nishitak said...

hahah...that was my first thought as well when I came across the name "Jag" in your post. I guess you can take the girl out of HP, but not HP out of the girl :)

By the way, I know someone whose American friends have nicknamed "The Walker". His actual name is Diwakar :)

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