The Big Debate – the name game

So Brangelina named their twins Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline. Thanks to the stars,  unique and multicultural names are becoming quite the fashion now a days. And this is on my mind because I am looking for names for my second baby.

Shortly after I came to the US, I went to a business meeting. A guy held out his hand and said ‘Hi, I am AJ Meta’. To my untrained ears, that seemed like the funniest thing. Here was Ajay Mehta, as his card spelt out, an Indian guy, not one brought up here, but one who had just recently moved from India, calling himself by his ‘Americanised’ name.  It seemed to be to be such a copout.

Since then though I have become a lot more understanding of why someone would use an Americanized version of his name in a business or social setting. First, you get tired of people mispronouncing your name, and when you are tired enough, you join them. Second, when you meet a business visitor for the first time, do you really want to spend the first five minutes spelling your name and getting him through uncomfortable pronounciation trials?

How about school – a lot of friends mentioned to me the trials of their kids with stranger names butchered by their five year old classmates. Some have embarrassing nicknames that stick for life. Even easy to pronounce names like Anton get chopped to ‘Ant’ and pricks your eight year old ego. Someone at the company I used to work for mentioned that the chief category for choosing names should be possible nicknames a preschooler can get!

But for me I still like the romance and mystery of unique, beautiful names which show connections to your roots. So from Agueda to Yeketrin, I would say bring it on.

Many friends have hit a compromise – my chinese friends often have  a traditional name and an American one to ease the transition. And Indians have started to do that too with names and nicknames.

What do you think?

And if you are looking for name suggestions – Maya had a list here.

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Last 5 posts by Khushi


  1. Tana

    I think I am still a traditionalist when it comes to names. Revelling in my Indianness, I am still charmed by beautiful Sanskrit words with beautiful meanings. Why not have a deeper, more meaningful root to one’s name? As far as pronunciation, I feel that the onus is on the others to learn. If we keep making simplistic choices (as it seems we do in language every day) then there will be no richness, no new learnings for others and a pale homogenization across the board. It took the folks at my workplace 2 years before they would page me on the intercom because they were deathly afraid of my last name – Dattagupta. I stuck with it till they did it, constantly encouraged them to try pronouncing it. Today there are at least 30 odd people in the 300-person office who have told me that it is their favorite name being paged, and they find it musical (I of course have always just found it cumbersome). And once, when the graphics design department was testing fonts for signage, they used my last name as an example and it was displayed in various fonts in the front gallery of the company!

    So I say, stick to your names with pride and they will all come along! 🙂

  2. Khushi

    That is a beautiful comment. I agree with you – I may end up choosing a difficult but beautiful name!

  3. Asha A

    I have an easy name and went with easy ones for my kids. It reduces a lot of complication for them and having to spell it out at every instant.

  4. Father to be

    Hi, I need your recommendations… and fast, my wife is due any day now.

    We are having a boy. I’m Indian American, she is Indian. We are Punjabi and can go for either Hindu or Sikh names…

    Here is the shortlist:

    Aarav or Arav

    What are your thoughts? Any other suggestions?


  5. Khushi

    Hi Father to be. I like Ishaan. Did you see it also tops our list of top American Indian baby names? Easy to pronounce. See the list here

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