Thursday, December 26, 2013

Dear Mama / Papa – Please give me a GOOD NAME.. Love Baby

If there’s one thing which will stay with you till you take your last breath, it is your NAME. Yes! That very name which your family (typically parents) endows on you and in which you really have no say (Unless you officially decide to go for a name change – which again comes with its own share of hassle and paper-work). Your name which will stay with you– in life and beyond! (In some cases, even long after those who endowed you the name with are long gone)

You name is indeed a key part of your identity. It defines you in some way. It usually determines where you sit / stand in school. It can influence (to some extent) and determine who your friends / foes are. It can influence how many extra minutes you get to submit your answer sheet in an exam. It can change who your partners in crime are. It can influence your own love for yourself. It can also impact your own self-confidence. It can determine your identification number – at school, at work, anywhere else. It can even influence your lover / partner (Yes! I know of many boys / girls who found a name so appealing that it actually triggered a more intimate relationship). It can influence your luck too (I’m told). Your name can also influence what you eventually make of yourself; and your success in life. Your name can also determine your happiness quotient in life.

Bottom-line, your name stays with you F-O-R-E-V-E-R and does impact your life in more than one way!
So would it not be nice to have a GOOD NAME?
Absolutely YES!

As parents, one of the BEST things you can do for your children is to give them a good name. Now I know there is no universal definition of a good name – It is personal / subjective. And yet! I come across names every day when I can’t help but wonder how their parents could bestow such names on their children. Sigh!

In this blog, sharing some observations / pointers which may help parents when naming their children (NOTE: This is not an exhaustive list. This is just my point of view and we’ve followed it in the family)
1)     Let the name be short (6 – 8 alphabets is ideal). Too short and sometimes you can miss it or wonder if it’s even a name (For e.g.: Ra, Da, Re, Pi, etc.). Too long and you get unnecessary attention or become the trigger for many a joke (For e.g.: Subbalakshmiramani , Venkatarama Narayana Subramanyam, etc.)

2)     Let the name have some meaning in some language (Hindi, Sanskrit, French, Italian, Urdu, Spanish, etc.). I mean who wants a “name without any meaning”? How would it be when someone asks you “What does your name mean?” and you say “Hmm.. Well Nothing!”  - Some may argue, what’s wrong with a name without a meaning. Well! Your choice, really! 

3)     Let the name have some relevance / significance to your own life as parents or your baby’s life. For e.g.: If your baby has a dimple, then you can name him / her with something related to a dimple. Or if your baby brought luck / wealth / prosperity / success in your life, then a name which reflects the impact in your life as parents? I mean, who does not like to be the cause and reason for someone’s name?

4)     Let the name be unique (if possible) – I mean who does not like to have a unique name. And would you like your child to be one among the so very many Raju’s, Kiran’s, etc. of the world?

5)     If there is a specific recommendation (religious / otherwise) that your baby’s name starts with a specific alphabet and you believe in this recommendation, and then choose a name accordingly. You can still follow the points listed above

6)     Be clear on what is the First name, Middle Name and Last Name of your child, and let your child know this well. The First Name and Last Name are easy in majority of the cases. The Middle Name is tricky. For e.g.: I know of people who use the family deity as the middle name, a grandparents name as the middle name, and the latest trend that I’m seeing is that the mother’s name is the middle name (Personally, I think that’s awesome. After all the mother does for her child, it is wonderful that her name is associated with her child, and I have deep respect for the fathers who encourage this practice!).
Whatever name you decide, ensure it is consistent in all your child’s documentation – School records, Birth Certificate, Passport, etc. – I know of too many parents who had to deal with way too many documentation overheads because of the inconsistency in the “Middle Name”

7)     Keep just one name and not two / three names (For e.g: One birth name and one name which is publicly used and one secret name due to religious significance / otherwise) as is the common practice in many homes. Unless there is a compelling reason for more than one name, it’s advisable to stick with one good name. It becomes just too confusing for everyone

8)     Some DONT’s
 a.      Please Please DON’T ever name your child after a food item – either in English or in your vernacular language. For e.g.: I know of someone whose name in Oothappa and someone whose name is Anda (Means egg in Hindi)! I really don’t know what their parents were thinking (May be they really loved these dishes!), but these people are so embarrassed with their name that they usually dread introductions!

b.     Don’t name your child after a place (At least not the first name). I know of people with names like Bangalore, Udupi, Mysore.. Huh! Just Why? There’s already a place in the map, and most people know it.

c.     Don’t name your child after a body part (In English or a vernacular language). Again, it can be so very embarrassing for the child, and many times the trigger for many a joke.

d.     Don’t name your child after an animal. For e.g.: I know of someone whose name is Kitten. It’s cute – some say! But please, Kitten?

e.      Don’t name your child after a “curse-word” / “bad-word” – either in English or in a vernacular language.

9)     Let the name reflect your child’s gender (boy / girl) – at least as per popular trends / common knowledge. Trust me, being called Mr when you’re a girl / woman, and being called Ms. / Mrs when you’re a boy / man is no fun!

10)Let the name match the child’s appearance and personality – at least at birth. I mean once you see your baby and say the name loud, it should sound right. In our case, we had short-listed many names, but only one name sounded right after we saw our baby – and hence we settled for that name. (I can’t explain this in words, but you’ll know when you become a parent)

11)And if you can avoid it, don’t keep a name which is controversial – in your community, in your state, in your country or in the world! It does more harm than good! – In the long run

12)And last but not least, give your child a name which you really like and hopefully, your child will also like and be proud of! After all, if there’s one word that you’ll use abundantly in your journey as a parent, it is your child’s name [Apart from NO! – which gives tough competition to the name in many homes J] – So might as well choose a name which you like right?

These are my thoughts.. What were your considerations when you decided on your baby’s name?
Leave a comment to let me know
Originally published on Parentous ; Edited and re-published here

Linking this to the December 2013 NaBloPoMo at BlogHer


  1. This was quite the cute post, with some really easy pointers on how NOT to name your child, which probably makes more sense than all the other websites and forums telling us how to name our child.