A REPOST Parents have the ultimate weapons to make or mar their kids for good when they christen them. Imagine being named Protius Duxbury…or Lee Bum Suk…or even Mary Christmas! What is the general criteria for naming your offspring? Down South it is all clear cut. The first born son gets the name of the paternal grandfather, the second one, the name of maternal grandfather…The third son gets the name of father’s grandfather…and so goes the tradition, delving deep into the roots of the family tree for reference! Once in a while, parents with a penchant for trendsetting, name their kids after their favourite personalities…Thus we have quite a few Khushboos and Simrans growing up in the Tam- Bram households which were used to raising Annapoornis and Sambhalakshmis… Subhamoy Das reports that Arjun is the most favourite Indian name among the Indians in the <?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = ST1 /><ST1:COUNTRY-REGION><ST1LACE>US </ST1LACE></ST1:COUNTRY-REGION>and Maya, the most opted girl’s name…in 2004! In Kerala you will find a lot of Lenins and Stalins …even Jawahars…but they belong to a different generation. Today you find a the state dotted with Sanjanas, Adityas, Saniyas, Vishnus and whatnots. But kids with traditional names do face a lot of flak…especially at schools and colleges. Imagine being called Mrugangamouli…actually one of the names of Lord Shiva…but would the boy have animal magnetism…or end up being called a ‘mrugam’ -animal- by his friends? Like Tarakeswari getting the nick name of Tadakeswari… I had an acquaintance called Saachi…each time she walked along the corridors of our college some boy would get a sneezing bout going Ssssaaachchi! on and on…and on! So life becomes easier on your kid when she is a mere Shilpa and not a Shishirkana, or your son is not called Vyomakesh… Imagine the plight of a girl who is called Mrs. Thribhuvanasundari Chinadanaichelvan after marriage! I am not mocking at any of these names…I have a unique one myself ! Since I was born on the auspicious day of Vijaya Dashami, my grandma named me Vijaya Sarawathi. I doubt if there is another existing being called Vijaya Saraswathi…you’ll find Vijayalakshmis in thousands…but if you come across a vijaya saraswathi, find out if she is my grand daughter first, before claiming success! My woes were tenfold, when my friends at school found out that my full name was Chittoor Kasi Viswanathan Vijaya Sarawathi…( This is what my SSLC records say!) Luckily, on the day of my marriage, my brother applied for my passport in the name of Vijaya Ravi Prakash or my Visas, DL and Medical card would have had funnier names endorsed on them…( Spelling names in English is an Achilles heel with the officials in the <ST1LACE>Middle East </ST1LACE>!) When I begot twin sons…there was a clamouring around for names…Suggestions were aplenty…Ram- Lakshman (though God knows they weren’t twins), Luv – Kush, Saurav- Gaurav…I came across various options of double names for twins…starting from the very filmi Ajay- Vijay to stereo types like Indran- Chandran (yuk) Girish – Harish, Rohit – Mohit etc etc…I was even presented with a book of baby names with wild choices…but what tickled my funnybones were: Karan- Kumbhkaran, Neela Vardhan – Naga Vardhan, Amarendar – Asurendar ( oh my God!) I even came across <ST1:CITY><ST1LACE>Sharon </ST1LACE></ST1:CITY>and Notsharon…Reminded me of the joke about twins named Peter and Repeter! Finally we settled for Karthik and Kaushik. My Father In Law used to have a ball calling them monikers like Vajravelu- Vadivelu, Akthar Hussain- Anwar Hussain, Chincholkar- Kakhodkar… Anyway, whatever the name, people will find a way to pick on it…remember the couple who named their daughter Hazel and the way their neighbours commented: “With all the names of saints to chose from, they go and name their daughter after a nut!” I know….You can’t win ‘em all! I definitely don’t want my grand daughter to be called Vijaya Saraswathi… (I used to pretend to be deaf when my teachers called my full name…till they snapped out a ‘Vijaya’…I love my pet name that has stayed on... ‘Viju’ ... though my teachers refused to call me that saying it is a boy’s name…) So, I shall grant full freedom (…er….if it is sought…) to my sons to name their kids whatever they want…Khushboo…Simran…Penelope Cruz, Halle Berry, J Lo …David Beckham…even Ronaldinho…which is quite a possibility!