What’s in a name?

Well, quite a lot! A person’s name, at least in India has a lot of significance. A lot of time is spent consulting astrologers, god men, putting the names of the parents together, or choosing a name that one hopes would describe one’s character, etc. This does however end up with sometimes hilarious results, not for the person with the name, but for the people whom they interact with.

Ignoring the day to day names which one hears, I’ve always wondered what logic the Gods used while choosing their names. Take note, Indian Mythology is filled with names that have just no real time logic. Not taking into consideration the fact that those names would be absolutely inappropriate in this day and age, I’m pretty sure they were inappropriate for that day and age too. Thanks to all the Bhagvad Gita and Upanishads that I’ve been learning the last month or so, I’ve come across a lot of these terrible names. Terrible in the sense, that they are completely uncool and make absolutely no sense to me. Example, Yagnavalkya ! Who the devil comes up with a name like that? I’m sure it means something quite divine like ‘he who shall conquer the heavens on a horse’ (It could also mean ‘he who shall not throw up after binging on Vodka’…who knows? Excuse my Sanskrit…it’s been a while) But why couldn’t he could have chosen a simpler name like Rahul or Vijay. Why Yagnavalkya ? Am sure he wasn’t too popular with the chicks. They probably referred to him as the ‘dude with the terribly thoughtful yet un-recallable name’. Am sure he could have preached the same ‘Gyan’ being called Rahul or something else.

Another such name is Svetaku. Wouldn’t Ajay or Hrithik be a simpler name? Poor dude would have had a nickname like ‘Sveta’ which is a girl’s name in India. I would have been terribly mean to such kids. Not to forget the person name Satyakama Jabala ! Somehow, I only remember Jaba…and consequentially ‘Jabba the Hutt’ (The ignoramus please refer Star Wars). Some more terribly uncool names even for that time are Nachiketa, Atharva, Uddalaka, Artabhaga, Aswala. Believe me; I cannot make this stuff up. Look up the Upanishads if you think I’m exaggerating.

Why couldn’t these guys just use generic names like Rahul, Sandeep, Sooraj, Ramesh, Suresh…but no! They decided to choose the ultimate chick-magnet names. I’ve noticed that a lot of these names are making a comeback in a big way in India. But I still believe it would have been a lot cooler if they could just use simple names. Hell!!! Why couldn’t they use the name Nikhilesh…it’s easy to remember…has fairly mythological roots…refers to the Lord Shiva…and means ‘Lord of All’ ! (Can’t comment on the name being a chick magnet.) I thank my Mum for giving me this name. It was completely her decision and thank god for that. Had it been left to the elders, I too would have had some terribly uncool name like Subramanyam or something equally significantly-insignificant.