Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What Does Your Name Mean?

My dearest friends Khushru and Tanaz Medhora of Philadelphia, US, just gave birth to their second child. However, unlike their first child (baby Kaizeen), this time- atleast to the best of my knowledge- they took pains to shortlist not just the names of children but also their meanings. Another dear friend of mine gave birth to her first child (a boy) last Friday. Today morning, she sent me an SMS (and also to a few others I presumed since it wasn't a very personalized SMS) asking for a vote to select one of the three baby names she and her husband had shortlisted. This is a first; couples shortlisting names and asking their near and dear ones to help them vote. Her SMS was short, crisp and systematically crafted. Three baby names with their meanings. So that our job becomes easier.

I think this is a new trend. Young couple (today's generation) are seeking to find out the meaning of names they want to assign their babies. My cousin Erich & his wife Havovi in US did it a few years back, Khushru & Tanaz did it a month back and now this friend of mine. It's good that parents are concerned about finding out the meaning of baby names before assigning them. I don't think my parents did not do that, though they did gave me a unique spelling. But I love my name. I also think it's important that we know the meaning of our names. It's always a curious thing to ask the meaning of someone's name when you hear an unusual name. Especially if you happen to be a Parsi like I am. Parsi names can be complicated and sound very royal. Atleast many of them do. That is because most of them are Persian names and take us back centuries to ancient Iran where our civilization comes from and the origin of our names.

But coming back to the importance of name meanings, I've had my fair share of embarrassing moments. When I was appearing for my MBA entrance exams and interviews, I was often asked the meaning of my name. The first few times I drew a blank; I used to say I did not know. The interviewer used to nod his head in a bit of a surprise- somewhat like "Oh what an interesting name, let me ask him, oh he doesn't know, oh oh what a shame, pity" kind of- moment. I thought I had to do something about it. I asked around but nobody seemed to know. Then, I called up Khojeste Mistry. He is- as many Parsis would know- a religious scholar. Well, that is a disputed description especially if you read one newspaper, but do I really care? I still remember that time when i called him, introduced myself and popped the question. In his usual dignified way and English accent he said 'Born with Kingly Glory'.

I was shocked. Me and Kingly glory? But I was already on seventh heaven. Then again, why not! Not wanting to let go of my moment of glory yet, I pretended as if I did not hear his answer and requested him to repeat again. He obliged. Ah! Such was life, I thought. Khojeste was kind enough to guide Khushru & Tanaz too, this time around. But whenever someone asks me and I tell him/her my name's meaning, many times I get this look that says "oh yeah? well, ****-you". Well, as far as I am concerned, **** them! If I am born with Kingly glory, I am born with Kingly glory! Period.

But having known the meaning of one's own name is an advantage- even if small. It always leaves a good impression on others. Especially in interviews. So go ahead. Find out the meaning of your name. Like those ladies in a typical what's-the-meaning-of-your-name commercial (if there was any) would say: "I found my name's meaning. And you?" get the drift

Monday, March 1, 2010

Doctor, Pilot and the Engineer

Creativity is one of Indian advertisement agencies' strong points but also leads to a lot of duplication at times. Take, for instance, our insurance policy commercials. Especially those that are aimed at kids. Almost everyone wants to be a doctor, engineer or a pilot. Nobody wants to become a sportsmen. Those few of our kids who want to become a sportsman, it's only cricket (main bada hoke sachin tendulkar banuga) and not any other sport. Ofcourse, it'll  be hilarious if, say, insurance kids suddenly say they want to be kho-kho players when they grow up so buy Min London Child Policy. But seriously, what is wrong with someone aiming to be a good kho-kho player? What about tennis? And why the hell no kid wants to grow up to become a journalist?

I am most surprised that insurance companies selling 'dreams' to kids do not think that journalism is a profession worth aspiring for. Even though you don't rake in the moolah the kind you do being a pilot or a doctor, but that doesn't make it any less credible. There are good and responsible publication houses around that respect not only their own people but also their readers and strive to give the latest and most up-to-date news and analysis from India and around the world, the first thing in the morning after (or even hours before) we wake up. What's wrong in dreaming about a career in this profession?

My dear insurance companies, wake up and smell the many other credible professions around. Your doctor, pilot and engineer would be ignorant fools with an General Knowledge quotient of zero if it weren't for all those newspapers and magazines they get to read the first thing in the morning. With all due respect, let us start teaching our kids that the world is not just made of doctors, pilots and engineers.

DakshinaChitra @ Chennai

An ordinary work meeting with an acquantaince in Chennai led to a beautiful discovery, called DakshinaChitra. DakshinaChitra, which literal...