What's in a name?
Haven't you almost always thought about a person, either with reference to his/her name and/or face? In fact, once we know people with certain names, we begin to associate these names with our 'likeness' for that person. Often, when it comes to the question of selecting/recommending names for a newborn, these 'likeness' factors which we associate with names come into play. 'Yes, that's a really nice name - I know someone from college with that name who is really pleasant, talented and popular!'
I've also observed that the name of a person impacts his/her personality to a large extent. Given that a person lives with his/her name all day-all night long, probably the name becomes a manifestation of the intention for that person. That's why 'naming' a child assumes great importance in every family and often involves endless debates/dilemmas/options/name-lists/name books/calls to friends-pandits, etc. In fact, some people are very particular about finding out which letter the newborn's name should begin with, the most auspicious day and countless other traditions involved in 'naming' their child.
Coming down to business, these are the factors that one often keeps in mind (especially in our generation) while selecting names for the newborn (in no particular order of importance ;)):
1. Cannot be in the beginning or end of the attendance call! [Anyone who has studied a course where marks are allotted for attendance will know what I'm talking about - this rules out names with 'AA' or 'ZA'/'ZU']
2. Potential nicknames: In this day and age, everyone tends to shorten names. In fact, some people are given nick names in the beginning of college and these names have stuck with them for life. So much so, that sometimes you scratch your head wondering what their real name is! So, think about any potential nicknames (derived from shortening the proposed name) and whether you like them before you go ahead with any particular name.
3. To be safe, keep a short and simple name.
4. Dangers of mispronunciation: Follow #3 above and you alleviate any dangers of mispronunciation as well. Also, chances of people remembering the newborn's name are higher if the name is short and simple. As the world becomes a smaller place, chances of children going to universities abroad is higher and this will definitely help them! More so, your child will thank you for saving him/her the trouble of a lifetime of corrections.
5. Trendy - but does it last? Are we looking for some meaning and inspiration instead? Tempting as it may be - a trendy name ending with aa's or which sound unique and unusual but without any real meaning, may be like the latest song topping the charts! However, what you want is something from evergreen, full of soul and meaning. Remember, it affects the child's personality!
6. How common is the name? You don't really want to give the newborn a very common name. After all, he/she needs to be able to find a gmail address and a web domain that matches with their name. Admit it - we are living in the age of start ups and entrepreneurs. I know someone who, named his daughters based on the availability of gmail addresses and web domains and also blocked these immediately (once the name of decided).
7. Say it loudly - how does it sound? Yes. Simple. How does it sound? On this one, go with your instinct. Don't think too much.
8. Check the initials - To avoid any unpleasant surprises, make sure you check for the initials and that they don't stand for anything you would rather not have.
9. Sibling names - If the newborn has siblings, its good to say the potential name along with the sibling's name to see how they sound together. If there is a nice ring to it, go for it! Otherwise, give it some more time.
10. Reach out to friends and family for their suggestions :) In fact, my name was suggested by an uncle who visited my mother at the hospital after I was born! Family and friends love suggesting names and often feel privileged if the name proposed by them is finally selected. A newborn baby is an occasion to celebrate and brings the entire family together. In fact, when I was recently photographing the "naming/cradle ceremony" for little Aditeya in Hyderabad, it was wonderful to see how both his Mausis had actually travelled from one end of the world to be there for his 'naming ceremony'. I also came across this wonderful tradition where all the names which were under consideration for the child would be displayed on the wall and the 'winning name' would be displayed in the end. Before disclosing the name of the child and keeping him/her in the cradle (which is beautifully decorated with flowers), they keep a rock in the cradle, called "Gundappa"! The significance is that may the child be as strong as a rock! Other charming traditions included whispering names of 'Lord Krishna' and 'Lord Shiva' in the ears of the child while passing him from one member of the family to another, before finally keeping him in the cradle.
Aditeya was at his delightful best in the evening, when he was well rested and surrounded by his wonderful grandparents and gorgeous mom and mausis. We also had a wonderful candid photography session (before the actual ceremony) when we got some beautiful smiles from the little fellow! Here are some photos from that evening.
May he be as strong as a rock!
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