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Naming a baby, especially your baby, can be so difficult if you have not already decided on a name. A mother shares her hilarious story.
We, as a generation, have flunked the name lottery. We have the worst names. It is almost as if our parents just picked a random three-word string, appended an ‘ESH’ at the end and came up with Ramesh, Suresh, Rakesh, and a variety of other Eshs. For the girls they chose either Priyanka, Priya, Neha or Shruti. Back in school, the teacher only had to call out “Neha” on the playground and a small wave of Nehas would come rushing towards her.
Naturally when we of the unimaginative names grew up, we were resolved to give our babies the most unique names. Like the Khaleesi, we wanted them to be the ‘first of their names’! Plus, research suggests that children can actually develop low self-esteem if they don’t like their names!
So these days the pressure of finding the ‘right’ name for a baby is even more than the pressure of actually giving birth to the said baby.
T.S Eliot had it right when he spoke about the Naming of Cats, but when I had a baby of my own, I realised that the naming of babies is an even more difficult matter. Perhaps even a perilous matter, because a kitten will not grow up and hate you if you name it North West!
Through the entire nine months of pregnancy we could not zero down on a name. To be honest it seemed like a waste of time, because how can you decide on a name when you don’t know the gender of the baby? So we procrastinated some more and watched some more Brooklyn 99.
When we finally delivered a baby boy, between sleepless nights, on-demand feeding and diaper changes, when there was no time to think about names, we just had to.
My first idea as a hard-core nerd was to name him something out of Lord of the Rings. When the name ‘Aragorn’ did not fly with my mom who doesn’t know Aragorn from Adam, I suggested that we name our baby son something-esh to rhyme with my husband’s name Siddesh. You know how Aragorn introduces himself as ‘Aragorn, son of Arathorn’? I thought our son would be ‘something-esh’, son of Siddesh.
My husband was suitably appalled, and I said no more about naming our baby after a character in a book.
Time passed by, with more diaper changes and more sleepless nights. Soon our baby was one-month old and he simply went by ‘THE BABY’! We looked at baby name sites, drew lots, asked our friends and family for suggestions and left no stone unturned for the perfect name.
Whenever THE BABY took a nap, the husband and I would speed-read baby name lists. Every name we liked seemed to belong to someone the other disliked. I was surprised at the sheer number of people we both seemed to abhor! Then there was one weird moment when my husband suggested a name, and I quite liked it, only to realise through the fog of my sleep-deprived mommy-mind, that it was the name of a guy I used to date.
Next, we asked our friends, and we they introduced us to the RULES of the game-
The first criterion for a new-age baby of millennial parents is that the name has to be unique. And when I say unique, I mean ‘unheard of’.
But here’s where us parents went wrong – all of us tried to pick something so different, that we basically ended up with the same baby names! Enter a cute baby wave of Ayaan, Ahaan, Rehaan and Vihaan, and Pia, Sia, Dia and Ria! As cute, as the names are (I’d totally want to be a Tia!), I’m worried that there are just too many of them!
Then there’s the obsession with the first letter – Some insist on an A-name, and some choose a letter at the bottom of the alphabet. Why you ask? Because it’ll give your child those extra 5 minutes to polish off their answers in an exam! The kid with an A- name will have to hand in the answer paper first, you see!
And of course, said a friend named Madhu, the name shouldn’t be something that the school bully can turn into something else that’s weird. She was herself relentlessly called ‘Madhumakkhi’ in school and apparently hasn’t forgotten it.
Another fun way to get a unique name is to combine the names of the parents. I actually got quite inspired by this one, but sadly our names are not Shahid and Mira and we couldn’t get a derivative name as cute as Misha.
In the end, we realized there’s no pleasing everyone. We just went with our hearts and chose a name we both loved. It was a little too late though, because by the time we decided on the name, our son had acquired a variety of pet names that have stuck. Go ahead and ask him his name and he’ll say – very emphatically – Babaa! So much for all our efforts!
Image source: pexels
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Yashodhara is a brand-new mommy, IT professional and cat lover who lives in Mumbai.
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