Sometime back we named our son, Ritwik. In fact the same day we even booked RitwikRajan.com.
Apparently, in US & Europe you have to decide on a name for your kid within two days of their birth. That is it – 2 days. Meanwhile, here in India, twenty five days after Rekha and I had our second child…we were still looking for a name.
In our son’s case we wanted to give him a name which starts with alphabet ‘R’ for that odd day when our family became a family of SuperHeros, we could call ourselves The ‘R’ Family. But our astrologer sought after by Rekha’s parents didn’t quote the alphabet ‘R’. So it was a question of starting a new life on this planet with a bribe – pay the astrologer to get a favorable alphabet. We did exactly that.
The astrologer was able to add ‘R’ in the list of probable alphabets without affecting any of the stars & moons, thanks to a NEFT transfer of Rs 1000/-.
I went thro’ all of this favourable alphabet seeking exercise in spite of being an opponent of the whole naming ceremony before the kid is 10 years old. I remember being pissed at my parents for naming me without consulting me. I think it was 1986 and I was a 11 year old whose name had been disfigured by his classmates.
“Why couldn’t you consult me before naming me?” I had shouted at my parents.
“Son, you were sleeping 22 hours out of 24 hours. How could we consult you?” My father replied.
“How about in those 2 hours?” I insisted.
“Son, even if we had asked you…you would have only replied with a ‘blahbla blahhbaba,’ my father kept a straight face.
“You should be glad we gave you such a nice name – Rajan.” My mother chipped in.
Anyway, as I said I was a reluctant participant in this naming ceremony. I thought I was cheating my son by not giving him an opportunity to decide for himself. As is always the case, nobody listened to me and we went ahead with the naming.
Since the alphabet was decided, we had all and sundry giving us name suggestions – from the fine sounding name ‘Rafat’ to the villain meaning ‘Ruffian’. While we politely refused the suggestions – the challenge of finding the right name hung over us.
To complicate matters, within a week of our son’s birth, celebrities Kim Kardashian and Kayne West had a daughter whom they named her ‘North West’….which unfortunately for us ended up trending on Twitter, globally. Now, we were under pressure to beat this and get a name that would also trend.
My mother had always wanted me to be a doctor and whenever I had asked her why, she had said: “Son, I want them to call you Doctor Rajan.”
So, Rekha and I deliberated on naming our son ‘Doctor’ so that when they combined it with his second name, it ended up become ‘Doctor Rajan’. Now that is how he would have been called and my mother’s wish would have been fulfilled.
We had almost finalized on ‘Doctor’ when I remembered that my father had wanted me to join the Army and become a General so that the World would address me as ‘General Rajan’. For a brief while we even deliberated if we should name our son ‘General’. But it was shot down.
With my two chances gone, my wife decided to chip in with suggestions. Her first suggestion was ‘Fire’….yes, she wanted to name our son Fire. Maybe, because he was born due to a fiery session of sex we had after a late night movie on a Saturday evening – a session that lasted between 11.00-11.10 pm. This is one of the advantages of having a planned sex life for you know the time of conception of your child till the last minute.
But I refused to accept Rekha’s suggestion saying I didn’t want my son to be listening to “Fire Rajan!” every time he turned his face.
During one of these days we had one of Rekha’s friend Shaina Ladiwala visit us.
“Why don’t you name your child 123ABC?” Shaina asked.
Rekha knotted her eyes and shot back, “And why would I want to name him 123ABC?”
“So that everybody can find him easily. On whatsapp if somebody’s name is stored as a number, he/she is visible right on top.” Shaina was convinced that it was a great name but we weren’t.
Many such suggestions poured in from all directions.
It would have been so easy if we had had twins – we could have simply named them Karan & Arjun or Dharam & Veer or Ram & Shyam or Sita & Gita, whatever be the situation. Our son being a single child we had to rely on our own creativity.
Whenever Rekha and I zeroed in on a name, and I gave my mother a feeler about what we were thinking and she would ask: “So, was it suggested by our side or Rekha’s side? ” My mother’s reaction on the name was always based on my answer to her this question.
Similarly, there was intense pressure from Rekha’s side to name our son using the Malayali Name Maker. There is a very convenient Name Maker Table that is available in every Malayali’s house, and all we have to do after giving birth to a child is to pick up one syllable from the first column and a syllable from the second column and combine it to form a name. OK…now try it.
Here are some syllables from the first column:
Jo, Ti, Bi, Si, Vi,
Here are some syllables from the second column:
Nu, By, Bi, Ju, Di, Jul
Now you know why we fought the Malayali Mafia, tooth and nail and didn’t get a name out of this Malayali Name Maker Table.
In spite of all these challenges, we did manage to find a good name for our son – Ritwik. I am very proud of him.
In fact, on many days I stand before my washroom mirror, extend my arm forward and say aloud to myself “Hi Ritwik Rajan here. Nice to meet you” just to visualize how my son will introduce himself to the rest of the World long after we are gone.