Sleep well, little Timur, sleep deeply in ignorance, until you wake up to the harsh truth about your name and learn how your parents were trolled for giving you your name. Your name meaning “Iron” in Arabic or Persian has ironically made you the namesake of a genocidal conqueror whose forces thundered across vast parts of central Asia,India and Russia. But still what is in a name? Just because your parents Saif and Kareena have named you Timur, it does not mean you will ride on horseback heading a vast army and scare the hell out of millions. First no body, even in regiments called cavalry rides on horseback these days unless they are jockeys or polo players. But to look at the flip side of naming ( I just love flip sides or dark sides) it is easy to say rose by any other name would smell as sweet but the bitter truth is people with wrong names can cause a stink. I am sure your parents didn’t consider this little Taimur. And boys do these names stink sky high. A couple north-Indianized southie friends of mine naively named their daughter Kusum. And they ran into rough weather when they shifted to Chennai from Delhi. The poor girl was virtually reduced to tears when her schoolmates shortened her name to Kusu, meaning fart ragging her away to glory every day. Mercifully, the family shifted back to Delhi soon and the girl’s name was officially changed. Forget such names but even the time honoured practice of naming children after gods can cause trouble. A minor scandal erupted when a kid in a neighbour’s family was named Ganesh. The geriatric members of the deeply Vaishnavite Iyengar family went ballistic. “When Lord Vishnu has 1008 names and his incarnations many more, why this stupid name?” said an angry old lady. The father initially resisted bravely but later surrendered under family pressure and the kid got one of the 1008 names of Vishnu. To be fair, parents are not clairvoyants. They don’t foresee what their children will become when they name them. A grocer from whom I used to buy stuff for years was named Madan, a name of love god or Kama Deva. If Kamadeva had seen him he would have sent an application to Siva pleading for being reduced to ashes again by his third eye. Some parents are extremely name sensitive. A close relative of mine had impulsively named his son Parikshit. He realized rather belatedly that the name means "The one who was tested" or the 'One who went through trials' and hated it. His wife suggested that the kid be named Devvrat probably hoping that he would remain single like his famous Mahabharata namesake and she would be spared the trouble of being badgered by a daughter-in-law. But the father would have none of it. He got the kid renamed Devashish or 'one blessed by God'. Another relative, to avoid all the naming controversies, smartly called his kid Adhrudh. Five years into naming his kin are still splitting their hairs over what on earth the name means. And some names, even though they are not of the Tmur kind raise lot of hackles. A survey some years ago in Tamil Nadu said the least popular name in the state was Abeedhagujambal. Be warned it is a woman’s name. If you want a fancy name don’t be tempted to confer that tongue twister on your male offspring. Even among women, if they go abroad or move out of TN imagine how many guys will tear their cloths and pull their hair while attempting to pronounce that name correctly. Lot of Tamil names are tongue twisters. How many people can correctly pronounce the name Pazhaniswami? Be warned the zh here does not sound like zh. It is just a not so friendly distant relative of the original sound. Even Tamils have pronouncing the name and turn it into Palaniswami. . And all kids don’t live up to their name. Has any survey been done on how many Lakshmis are wallowing in poverty? And why humans alone? A neighbor of mine was crazy enough to name his per Alsatian as Subramaniam. The dog indignantly refused to respond to that name. He answered only to a diminutive version of that name Subbu., When it comes to names even dogs have their day. So dear little Timur, even you may behave like Subbu the Alsatian and due to sheer embarrassment demand some other name when you grow up. But remember, just because you are the namesake of a genocidal warrior, it doesn’t mean you will become one. After all people named after gods don’t become gods, do they? If I had become the guy after whom I was named, I would have been wallowing in wealth, giving Bill Gates. Warren Buffet and Mukesh Ambani a real bad inferiority complex. .