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What’s in a Name? Hits and misses of the naming game

Hits & misses of the naming game

Written by FAHAD SAMAR | Updated: May 14, 2015 3:49:57 pm
baby-names-759 Baby names

This business of naming babies is a sticky one. Earnest parents are often keen to give their progeny a name that is either chic and au courant like Zara or Ciara, or something epic like Aryaman, Suryaveer or even Zeus. Some, in a fit of unbridled hubris, name their offspring after themselves while a few plucky parents create appellations that combine syllables from their own names. For example, Rajesh and Sita may call their little bundle of joy Rajita. This doesn’t always work, particularly if you have names like Kamlesh and Veena.

Names, much like fashion, change with the times. You are unlikely to find parents in the new millennium calling their kids Ramesh, Suresh, Anil or Sunil, even though these were popular epithets a mere generation ago. The Bollywood brigade is a frontrunner in bestowing exotic names on the fruit of their loins. While Shah Rukh’s son is named AbRam, Akshay Kumar’s daughter Nitara is the twinkle of his eye. Kajol has Nysa while Arshad Warsi plays proud papa to Zeke Zidane and Zene Zoe. Farah Khan hopes her triplets grow up as Bollywood royalty and has named them Czar, Diva and Anya.

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Before christening your child, it’s prudent to check what his or her name means in other languages. A young man sent me his resume the other day and I choked when I read his name was Anal Reddy.

I have found it both amusing and exasperating dealing with reactions to my own unique name. Most people in Mumbai are more familiar with the Zoroastrian name Farhad. I try to explain that despite my prominent proboscis, I am not Parsi and there is no ‘r’ in my name. “Arrey, dikra but I thought you were one of us,” exclaimed a drunken dowager at a navjot I once attended, “But it turns out you are a bloody parjaat!” Dismissed as an outsider by the baawaas, I find that even Muslims are befuddled due to the variations of my name. I have been called Faraaz, Fuwad, Fayaaz and Farzaad on numerous occasions and have grinned and ignored it. But, on a recent visit to Delhi, when the security guard at a news channel insisted that my name was Fasaad Samar, I was unable to maintain my cool facade.

The latest bane of my existence is the arrival of Pakistani actor Fawaad Khan on our shores. Debonair and talented, he makes the hearts of most Indian women throb at dangerously high rates. Invited to speak at a literary festival in Bangalore, I was impressed by the turnout at my panel discussion until I realised that the hordes of hormonal teenagers had arrived in the hope of seeing hunky Fawaad Khan and not chunky Fahad Samar.

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” declared Shakespeare. Clearly, the Bard of Avon never endured a lifetime of having his name mangled.

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