Picking a name for this little baby will be our first important job as parents. I want the name to be perfectly suited to this little person and be a reflection of the person I want this baby to become – unique, creative, a trail blazer, smart, elegant, confident and fearless. I also want the name to reflect our Indian heritage.
As with most expectant parents, lists began to form early in pregnancy, Since we chose not to find out the sex of the baby we had two lists – one for girls and one for boys. As the months have progressed we have debated names feverishly and those around us have not been shy about sharing their suggestions with us as well.
A debate raging in our home has been whether or not a priority should be placed on a pronouncable name. Those of us with Indian names remember countless incidents of having to correct teachers on the first day of school, new friends, potential employers and even the Starbucks Barista on how to accurately pronounce our names. For me, it was one correction and people were good to go. For others, like my brother, it was correction after correction usually resulting in him giving up and just letting people refer to him by his nickname.
While an easily pronounceable name is a high priority for many Indian Americans, for me a far greater priority is on the uniqueness and meaning of the name. Of course, degree of difficulty is a consideration. I would not burden a child with an extremely difficult name, like my brother’s. However, if the child has to correct others from time to time, I am okay with that. It is part of the experience of living in this country and being of Indian heritage. Plus in a place as diverse as California, where I live, unusual names are almost the norm given how many different cultures and people are represented here.
The other debate in our home was whether or not to share potential names with friends and family. While My Leading Man is very open to sharing with others, I tried to keep our potential names under wraps. I even went so far as to have a few decoy names in case I felt pressured to share. Why the secretively? It has happened all to often that My Leading Man and I really like a name only to have someone come along and tell us they don’t like it. Of course, we can still pick that name but somehow the negative comments left a sour taste in our mouths. So we are keeping names close to the vest until baby makes its debut.
Whatever the name turns out to be, we are excited to welcome our new baby into the world. Afterall, as Shakespeare wrote in Romeo & Juliet, “What is in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”