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"What is in a name?" So asked the bard many many years ago. "Everything" if you ask this question to any new parent.
If you are a new parent or a to-be parent or have been around any of these categories; you will have noticed that one of the most often discussed topics is the baby's name. It starts with - "So have you shortlisted any names yet?", "Do you follow the traditional way of naming based on baby's birth-sign (rashi)?", "If it's a girl what will you name her?” followed by a quick "What if it's a boy?”. If you have no clue or haven't put any thought to it yet; these questions will undoubtedly build the necessary pressure on you to do the needful. Naming one's baby is one of the most exciting and daunting task the new parents have to accomplish.
Once baby has arrived, there’s the question of by when the name needs to be finalized depending on family traditions. If a traditional naming ceremony is to be organized, making arrangements for the same is the next big thing on everyone’s agenda. As we all know, a decision on the name requires agreement from key members from both sides of the family - the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles of the baby. All of them have different views - the parents wish for a name that reflects an endearing trait or evokes a special emotion for them. The younger members or the modern ones insist that the name should be new, unique and not sound outdated. The elder ones or the more classically inclined ones think the name should be meaningful and easy to spell and pronounce. What complicates matters is some members do not suggest any names but reject all available options on one ground or the other. And to make the process even more memorable and humorous - some keep joking and coming up with names which no one would dream of giving their babies.
When we were looking for a name for our daughter; we had a lot of discussions and interesting conversations before actually finalizing the name. Some of these discussions got heated and some were downright hilarious as expected. Luckily for us, we followed the traditional way of naming based on birth-time; so our options in terms of picking a name were somewhat narrowed down already based on baby’s birth sign. Also, since we decided not to have the traditional naming ceremony, there was no frantic activity around making the arrangements. So we started creating a list of about a dozen names based on the many options available (courtesy inputs from the maasis and bua). This was a difficult process as we had to eliminate quite a few wonderful names.
Having created a shortlist, we decided to take a vote for the best baby name - obviously as parents we retained the veto power. Our shortlist was then circulated on our ‘family’ groups on Whatsapp; with each member being asked to pick the top name according to them. As recently evidenced through the EU referendum and many times before that as well, an exercise in democracy can yield the most unpredictable results. The same happened with us last year in choosing our daughter’s name. When the votes came in and were counted, we got mixed results and there was no clear winner. Now we were in a fix, so it was time for a second referendum – this time with a slight twist. Every member who was voting had to name their top two choices this time. The votes were counted and now that we had the two top choices from every one, we decided to choose the name that appeared most times. There were two top contenders and after comparing them both on a number of criteria, we chose the name whose meaning we loved the most – Samaira, which means enchanting. We decided to call her Shona at home as in sweet or precious. Though the process took some time and had its moments, we are really glad we chose the name we did for Shona.
So what’s in the name? Everything. The name is the first thing that babies learn to respond to and associate with their self. It’s their name that they hear the most; it is important that it means something positive or strong as I do believe they do imbibe the quality of their names. My daughter for sure is enchanting as her name suggests and precious and sweet as well. So all you parents please take note and make sure you choose rightly, because just like my little sister says – ‘the name will stay with them forever.’
PS. As always, I look forward to hearing from you. Please leave your comments / feedback using your Facebook or Google account. Happy parenting!
You can read my blog – ‘Coping with the new arrival’ here.
Image Courtesy : www.anglianwater.co.uk