I know I have written about naming a baby before. Really tis naming phenomena fascinates me!!
Nomenclature of any sort is a tricky business.And it’s not just Malayalis who use inexplicable permutations and combinations to name their kids. Many a Malayali parent has blighted the future of their children by bestowing upon them names such as Trophy, Medal and Shield, three sisters I knew. I kid you not but I also happen to know a couple called Romeo and Juliet. They say that they found each other completely by chance. After all, they say, how could any Romeo not want his Juliet?
The Syrian Christian naming system is even more confusing. We have small kids named ‘appachen’ which in Malayalam translates to grandfather. Or there are individuals who have done all the growing up they possibly can called ‘Baby.’
I once met a girl named Kunjumol which means ‘small girl’ in Malayalam. Having seen the verve with which she demolished three masala dosas, I was pretty sure that no part of that was true.
And to think this extends beyond the human kingdom. Some years ago I went to a house and heard the owner calling for their Labrador. ‘Billy, where are you?’ he hollered. Seeing no sign of he tried something else. ’Billy Joel ,’ he screamed. The dog gave a musical bark to live up to its namesake and came tottering from beneath the sofa. ‘He’s very possessive about his name,’ I was told jocularly.
And then that mildly nauseating technique of combining the parents’ names for the children. So for a Shaji and Sheela, the son becomes Shashi. Or for a Gigi and Poulose the daughter gets stuck with Pougi. Ok i was kidding..But I have heard of milkymol 🙂
Recently, I discovered that when it comes to the Syrian Christian system of naming, there is a method to the madness. If the first born is male, he’s given his father’s father’s name. If it’s female, then she is the lucky recipient of her father’s mother’s name. If the second born is male then he’s given the name of his mother’s father and if female, then the mother’s mother’s.
Confused? Go figure.