Saturday, December 04, 2010

1350 : Whats in a name

Spousey and I were talking yesterday about names – as in, names for humans and pets and all things in between.

A name is essentially an identity. It can either be
1) Aspirational – e.g. Arjun – it’s a great conversation with the kid at the age of 5 – to tell him that he was named Arjun because we thought that focus is important in life and Arjun exemplified it.
2) Emotional – e.g. Salman – Papa always loved Mr. Rushdie, so the name Salman will evoke a strong positive emotion from Papa…and this strong undercurrent will flow into the baby from day 1 – maybe even in the womb.
3) Cool on the tongue – e.g. usually Urdu or German names – the ones which have strong consonants tied to it – everytime you say Mazhar – a part of you has to be invested into it – same is true for Zaara and Kavya (ah the lovely!!).

I cant think of a fourth category…and that’s where I think we as modern races have lost it. We fall back on names which were relevant 300 years ago (and today are just as irrelevant), because we choose it from a language which has stopped evolving.,,,words which we don’t live by and only encounter in google. The fallout is, usually, semantics are so very completely lost, when we end up choosing from Sanskrit or Urdu….unless of course you are from Lucknow.. (or like Prashant you think in that bloody language) …seriously!!

Let me try and explain….

Hijr in Urdu essentially means separation, quite literally….but its never quite used in that sense ….its always used to imply “longing”. Similarly who uses “Smart Alec” today in a positive sense???? Usage in language defines most words in the current context…..and the context changes with time.

English, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil continue to be used and continue to evolve in our own consciousness….but Sanskrit/Urdu are strangely to me “love in a dead language”.

If we choose a name like Sheetal – without understanding what the fuck it means – or maybe by looking it up on google – you have so very completely lost the plot.

A name is more than a name….you become what your name is. Seriously…it’s a self fulfilling plot.

Do a favor!! next time you name your dog…choose a ribald name like Bullet, at least it means something in modern life…than choosing Raju.

Case rests.

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