What’s in a name?

I recently read a joke in which there were two brothers, who had the same name ‘John’. One brother was a tourist bus operator, while the other was an undertaker. So, to avoid confusion, the people in the town called them ‘John – The Journey’ and ‘John – The Final Journey’ respectively.

This joke brought a smile to my face as it reminded me of the naming convention we follow in our community.

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             Courtesy – http://www.flickr.com

Unlike everywhere else, where there is a family name and all members of the household share the same family name, we follow a different system.

So, for example, if my name was Dev, and my father’s name was Kumar, and my grandfather’s name was Raja, then my name would be Dev Kumar, while my Dad’s name would be Kumar Raja. So, father and son don’t share the same surname.Β  But that’s how it is!

The other big naming convention we follow is that if the first child is a boy/girl then he/she automatically takes his/her Paternal Grandfather’s/Grandmother’s name. If the second child is also a boy then he gets the maternal grandfather’s name; likewise with a second girl.

But the real confusion lies in this scenario. My husband’s grandfather had six sons, each of these sons has a son.Β  Now, since all of them are firstborn sons, all of them have been given their paternal grandfather’s name.

So, when we meet for family functions and weddings, we have a lot of confusion, as each time someone calls out to one of the grandsons, six voices respond.

To make it easier on the family, we now prefix their names with their professions or the city or town they hail from. So we have

a tycoon Raj
a watch Raj
a pilot Raj
a banker Raj
a Mumbai Raj
a newspaper Raj

Despite having all these nicknames, we still end up being confused.

There is another twist to this naming story. One of my cousins has maternal and paternal grandfathers, who have the same name. My cousin has two sons, so the first one has been named after the paternal grandfather,Β  and the second son after the maternal grandfather. Since both granddads have the same name, both sons have the same name (of course they have different suffixes to their names).

One can never say, “What’s in a name?”

There’s so much in a name and lots of fun to go with it.

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32 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. priyankamoraes

    Gosh ! That’s a super confusing trend. We have weird pet names in our family . Unrelated to our names. My nick name is PINKY ( yikes !!!) . I have never even liked pink so how this sill name got stuck with me is beyond comprehension. The other kids names are – bunny , bubbles , cuddles and ginger.

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  2. Marissa Bergen

    Funny. Do you know who Bob Newhart is? When I was a child he had a sitcom where there were 3 brothers named Larry, Darryl and Darryl and the Larry one would come in and say “I’m Larry, this is Darryl, this is my other brother Darryl” and everyone would laugh every time. I still say that sometimes, if it ever comes up in conversation. So, are children ever given names just because the parents like the name or does it always have to be inherited from an older relative?

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    1. nimi naren Post author

      Have heard of him but have not watched any shows. That is so funny πŸ˜†πŸ˜† These days parents give their children the names that are in vogue and add the grandparents’ name as a middle name. Some use abridged versions of the grandparents’ name, as the old names tend to be pretty long πŸ˜†πŸ˜†

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  3. katelon

    Wow that sounds complicated. But then I have a complicated history with my name as I’ve changed it numerous times and now have a name that has nothing to do with the one given me when I was born. πŸ™‚

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  4. kimboxin

    Nimi, I love you but I think my head just exploded! All of the sudden, I’m back in math class doing word problems. “If Raj has a cousin named Raj, who has 7 other cousins named Raj, and his sister Padma eats a mango, how many cousins named Raj are there”? 😍

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  5. Shiva Malekopmath

    What you have written about surnames is confusing me too.
    But here in our family we just keep one surname that which comes from the father’s side, and when the girl from the family goes to her husband she attaches the surname of her husband.
    After all as you say, What’s in a name?
    At this juncture, I would want you to visit my blog to read some posts, maybe they would add to your knowledge.
    Fond Regards,
    Shiva

    Liked by 1 person

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