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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

It's the name game

Shreya Sharma   January 09, 2013
First Published: 10:52 IST(9/1/2013) | Last Updated: 10:54 IST(9/1/2013)

We rummaged through the World Wide Web. We consulted every astrologer and soothsayer within a five-mile radius of our city. We exercised all our brain cells in combining, twisting, and mutating our parents' monikers. As desperate as we were, we still couldn't find a name that would befit our newborn sister. If bringing up a child is difficult, this episode showed us exactly how much. Our parents had exhausted their options on me and my other sister, so by the time it was this toddler's turn, it was a dry spell.

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There are only so many combinations of English letters, and they were simply not enough. It was given that what we would use to dub our little guest had to be as adorable, singular and mellow as the baby herself. And that's just the beginning. The name couldn't be too idiosyncratic, or she would be just another case of Baby Names Gone Wrong. The world has enough of the celebrities (and their credulous kids) for that club. The name couldn't be just another Jane or Joe. Or more specifically (and realistically), another Deep or Preet.

God knows, nothing feels more wearisome for a child to be in a class with a big bunch of his namesakes. To be reduced to a 'Name-hyphen-number' by her teacher is not something I want my sibling to experience. The name couldn't be a whimsical play of words. (Kyd pronounced as good old 'kid', really?) The name also should not look like an attempt at inventing a really good tongue-twister. Just calling my sister by the name of Beatricae or Adelisye a few times in a day would give a hearty workout to my tongue and jaw.

There seemed no end to our list. The name should be easy to spell (Are you hearing, the parents of Geiavanninaa?), legal in all countries (case in point, Miatt in Germany), should be unforgettable (Sita or Shaiyana, take your pick), shouldn't be too long (official forms don't have enough space for Ashwatthama), shouldn't be too short (names like Mo look more like typos), should be long enough to be shortened in a cool way (Think about the likes of Parminder/Pam) and finally the name should mean something splendid (as endearing as Patsy sounds, the double meaning has ensured that no one will be naming their offspring with it anytime soon.)

She is almost three-year-old now, and our quest for that elusive 'Perfect Name' for her is still raging on. Let alone the best, we couldn't even go beyond the generic. For now, she is tagged simply as Baby by all. She will be starting her pre-school soon, so we are rather acutely aware of the corollary of her staying unnamed. If nothing else, at least she will be the only one to have been put through the sheer monstrosity of being a Baby Sharma in some school's register. That's unique enough, I reckon.

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