What is in a name you say? I simply say, A lot! A lot more than we care to admit. We go to some lengths to find an appropriate name, even if not the lengths of Musk! With our first born, my DH constantly teased me with the name “tabla”, his logic being if a girl can be a Veena and sound pretty, why not a tabla? No arguing there, not the pretty part though. Wouldn’t you agree? Even if I claim I want to be a nobody constantly, I know I will be that nobody with a name still . Talking of names, DS just yesterday called Toby, my dog with some weird sounding word and he responded. A debate ensued whether he responded to the sound because it was different or because DS called him and what not. DS who is fascinated with languages could have used some word from some language and so I ask him what he meant with that word anyways. He said, “Nothing, I just made up the word”. Being the mom that I am, I explained that there is no word without a meaning and recited very eloquently “vagarthaviva samprukthau…..” to which my son smiling, quietly says that “Idaho” yes the state, has no meaning! I throw my hands up in exasperation and let it go making a note that I need to go through some material on how the states got their names which instantly brings a smile as I think of my DD asking me as to why I store such unwanted information in my head! Anyways, I understand a word need not have a meaning but then it acquires a meaning if used long enough. That is my take anyways. Who hasn’t heard of pig Latin, tell me? The day wears on and DH is bored enough that he decides to go on a second walk for the day. About 20 minutes into his walk I get a call from him asking me to get the car to a certain location; to rescue a couple of dogs that seem lost without any identification on them. My DD is delighted when I ask her if she wants to go with me. It takes another half hour to cajole the dogs into the car while I walk the neighborhood asking if anyone knows anything about the dogs all the while thanking my stars that DD is also there. This certainly is a time of strength in numbers, as various neighbors come out to help. It is getting dark and finally the second dog which was giving trouble to get into the car, is in. We bring them home, keep Toby away not knowing how all of them would react to one another, try to get them to eat some food, drink water, post on social media, make phone calls to places we think are necessary, and play with them to ease them into our home. The only problem - we do not know what to call them! We know pets respond to their names way better and any name we try out, we do not get a response. The gamut of names varied from Jack, jill, Ab, CD, JK to all the dog names we know, not succeeding one bit to elicit a response to any name from either of the dog. As kids play with the dogs, I see the dogs’ anxiety and understand it even. So, I decide to sleep by them on the couch to help them settle down for the night. We all need the sleep. But they disturb me the whole night, and I try to calm them. Not knowing what to call them to get them to respond to me, getting up every time to bring them back to me, asking them to sleep. They are barkers, that I tell you! Even the slightest sound they go “bow, bow” and I didn’t know how to ask them to stop, worrying about everyone else sleeping, other than saying “stop”! All of us are up way early in the morning, Toby is let loose finally, and all the dogs are socializing well making us wonder what it is we feared even. I am also anxiously waiting to hear from the parents. As I see a message about the dogs come through finally, the thing that brings instant relief is the mention of the dogs’ names! Now I know their names and yes, they were not even remotely close to any of the 50 or 100 names we were trying. Go figure! We, as human beings, are innovative, appreciate identity and come up with a way of doing the same – identifying by a name I mean. Growing up as children as bad as it sounds to you now, we had code names for most of our neighbors and we referred to them with those names when we were conversing amongst ourselves and they ranged from names like squirrel (in our language), jilebe, to dalbergia, yes like in plant species. Of course, I have successfully passed on that habit to my children, but we mostly choose characters from TV shows to match the neighbors’ current personality. And as I share this secret with you, I ask you to please not judge me! After all, we are in this virtual world with identities that mean something to us. Aren’t we? And don’t you say, “What’s in a name?” now. Anyways after the text message, I call the dogs by their names and there is an instant response. Not just response, there is recognition and even light in their eyes, not to speak of the unstoppable tail wagging. DD is delighted hearing me call them by their names and shouts their names from the other end of the room, and they run to her. Suddenly my home is not the home of a stranger – there is running around in circles, jumping up and down as if to thank me that I finally recognize them! There is jubilation all around! Later, when the real owner shows up to pick them up, it is with a tinge of sadness and a lot of joy that we hand over the pups to them, assuring them that we understand, things happen and glad that we could keep them safe. Their names and faces will always remain in our memory! Very grateful for the wonderful experience!