07 January, 2013

A curious case of christening: Gignesh Ganguly
Every child is born without a name. In fact, the hospitals address the baby with gender and registration number till some loving family member starts addressing him/her with a name. And then, it’s not just one name; the relatives at least want a pet name and a formal name and everything else becomes insignificant.

Many a times, each member wants to give a special name to the poor child, who is completely unaware of the fact that his/her identity will be affected with those exasperating sounds that people identify as a name. Many a times, a child grows up to be a completely confused and absolutely lost individual as everyone starts calling him/her with a different name. Imagine, if you are called, Gutku, Chunku, Pichku, Gablu and so on. These names stick to you for the rest of your life and at times bring embarrassment at very unpredictable occasions. Imagine, your girlfriend walking in and your mum shouting on top of her voice, ‘Gablu, who is at the door?’ May be, once upon a time you were a fat kid and this name sounded cute. But now, as a man, it definitely isn’t an ego booster. Or your brother disclosing your top secret name to your colleagues, like ‘Pichku’ and going forward everyone starts calling you Pichku in office.

Shakespeare said, ‘Whats in a name?’ May be that was true in his time. But these days a name is an important aspect of your persona. It is a part of your personal branding. People form perceptions about you even before meeting you by just hearing your name. Kiran Kapadia could be a male or a female. But usually people think that it’s a woman. People who use middle names, for e.g. Jayant ‘Kumar’ Puri are considered from the older generation. The best example was in the movie, ‘Khosla ka Ghosla’ where the passport agent laughs when he looks at the application and realizes that the cool dude, our hero is called, ‘Chironjilal Khosla’. Why did he laugh? Because a dated name like ‘Chironjilal Khosla’ for generation X,Y, Z was sounding weird to him and was not acceptable to him.

Your name is your identity. Previously, your name used to give an instant data about your caste, family and social background. With inter-caste marriages becoming a norm, even names (after marriage) and naming ceremonies have become a complex affair. You can easily find odd sounding names like Parvati Qureshi, Kabir Sareen, Padmini Abraham, Munaf Gubbarewala, Brian Pandey and so on. So, all in all, we can easily conclude that a name holds a lot of history behind it.

This prelude is about the curious case of christening for Gignesh Ganguly. Spelt with a G but pronounced with a J. Gignesh or Jignesh is a common Gujarati name. All the Gujaratis who meet Gignesh for the first time (and don’t pay attention to his last name) invariably start with a fluent Gujarati. Baffled Gignesh gives them a no-no and then tells them a story of how he was christened Gignesh by his aunt. His only aunt moved to Mumbai when he wasn’t born. Her family used to stay in a colony full of Gujaratis and she fell in love with the name Gignesh. (Could have been the neighbor but let’s not speculate). Therefore, when our friend was born, she insisted that the child be named Gignesh. A slight twist to the name was given by his father Gautam Ganguly. Gignesh has an elder sister who is named Gargi and Gignesh’s father (who himself has a name that starts with the letter G) wanted to have both his children’s name start with the letter G. He must be obsessed with the letter it seems. So, Jignesh became Gignesh. Hence, Gignesh Ganguly came into existence.

Time to time we come across such names that sound curious to the core. Which one has been your curious naming case so far?

I came across two more names which are beyond normal:

Anal - in sanskrit it means fire, in English it is a part of anatomy. Parents should think twice before naming their son Anal.

Viral - pronounced as Veeral, a popular Gujarati name, which means brave. But if spelt with an I, it becomes sickening to the ears.

Parimita Chakravorty

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