A rose by any other name…

Lily? Jasmine?? or Frangipani???

‘Sankashti!’

I vaguely heard someone saying that. I was seated in a CST bound train, reading ‘Eat, pray, love’ and fortunately the novel had finally arrived to an interesting part. ‘Sankashti’!!… the moment I heard this, I snapped up and looked at the woman saying it, wondering whether it was ‘Sankashti’ that day. To the uninitiated, this is one of the common fasts observed amongst the Maharashtrians.  It is observed every month on the 4th day of the waning fortnight and is observed to receive the blessings of Lord Ganesha. I started observing it from class 10 – since I believed it was necessary in order to score well. I didnt study as much and scored okay in class 10, but the practice of fasting has continued.While  I’m not a devout hindu,  I have faith in Lord Ganesha.(fasting has got nothing to do with being a devout hindu, but that is a topic for another post I suppose). I have continued to fast month after month, year after year hoping that one day the Lord will pity me and grant some sense. 🙂

Well, coming back to the story, I thought that it could be Sankashti and that I might have missed to fast. Mentally, I berated myself for not only not observing the fast, but actually eating a hearty breakfast that day, which I normally end up skipping. Then I realised that if it was Sankasthi that day, everyone in my family had missed it – we all of us fast on Sankashti. That was unusal, because my mother would never miss it! So I looked at the woman once more. She was still on the phone talking to someone. I concluded that she must have spoken about some past / upcoming Sankashti. I was just about to go back to my reading when I overheard, ‘Sankashti!’ and I turned to look at her once more. She was saying ‘Sankashti, what a brat you are, always getting into mischief’… and I was floored!

SANKASHTI was the name of the child this woman was talking to!!! It’s a Sanskrit word which I worked out would be sandhi of 2 words – ‘San+Kashta’ – ‘San’->>’Sam’ meaning together (in this context – ‘WITH’) and ‘Kashta’ meaning ‘Hardships’. A fast is obviously penance  and hence the meaning ‘with hardships’. Then I began pitying the child whose name was ‘Sankashti’. Maybe she was born after several troubled hours her mother spent in the labour room etc. But still ‘Sankashti’ was such a vindictiveness on her mother’s part, if there really was such a thought process behind the name. But then I thought there wouldn’t have been. Not many people care to dwell on the fact that most of the Indian names have sanskrit origin, much less their meaning. Lately, there has been some sort of trend of naming babies with some archaic Sanskrit words from scriptures. Internationally, if they can name kids randomly (Read: Brooklyn, Apple, Ireland etc) why cant we follow the madness? Of course its everyone’s choice to name (And call) their kids whatever they want. So infact, there could be some people complimenting Sankashti’s parents on such a cool choice of name.

Personally, I tend to associate an image with every person I know, and this has sometimes posed problems for me. The image is mostly influenced by the peson’s name. An Indian name mostly has a meaning – so if it is ‘Anjali’ – it is a specific hand posture using which one normally offers a gift to the God. Contrary to the popular opinion, it’s not an offering to the God . It literally means ‘palmful’ and usually you use this gesture to offer any gift to God etc. Now though I don’t picture a palm in my mind every time I come across an ‘Anjali’, I mostly have problem processing such names. And there are many I know who seem to have such visual names. If they(my friends) read this post, all I have to say is this : FORGIVE ME! YOU WERE NOT SUPPOSED TO KNOW THIS.

Well it’s not like I always picture the meaning first, but it stayed in the back of my mind that ‘Kinchit’ means ‘small in quantity’/’Little'(quantity) etc when I got introduced to one of my MBA classmates. I found it funny, but not many agreed, because it is apparently a common Gujarati name and my college was full of Guju bhais.  I remember one of our professors basing her whole session on some one liners like ‘Come on Kinchit, I’ll give you a clean chit if you answer this etc’… then there were numeous ‘Ketans’ (house), ‘Parthivs’ (made of mud) that I kept on running into. Then there’s fair share of abstract names too –  a ‘Vanchana’ (worry) that I know, ‘Rachana’ (Arrangement/ creation – it doesnt say good arrangement or bad). A guy’s name was ‘Apekshit’ – (expected) and his youger brother was ‘Akalpit’ (‘beyond imagination’ and sometimes can also be used as ‘Unplanned’) –  thereby making their parents’ family planning details totally public… 🙂 . One of my own nieces in the extended family is named ‘Sakshi’ (a witness)…. and the list goes on…

I believe that your name somehow becomes a part of you, your personality. So Akalpit may for all reasons grow into an unpredictable young man. But on the other hand, it wasnt Vanchana’s fault that she was given such a name. It necessarily does not mean that she has to live up to it. Fortunately, my parents did not name either myself or my brother in such a manner that our friends would have teased us. But I’d have surely felt resentful if I was called  ‘Akriti’ (diagram), Nupur (anklet – though a very pretty sounding name), Sulabha (‘easily available’), Anumati (consent), Apeksha (expectation), Pratiksha (the wait), Heena (Mehendi) etc

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About pradsword

My posts will reveal the most about my nature and my thoughts...all in all, this is an attempt to figure out my thoughts!

Posted on June 5, 2011, in Humor, Life, Personal, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Hilarious!
    Not that I have a great name, but it is so common that thankfully it presents nothing to laugh about 🙂

    I’m adding a few of the weird names I have heard.
    -Milky (female name…wonder what the poor girl must be feeling!), Silky (male, Milky’s brother. This is 100% true!. I’m not making this up.), Atishay (male, atishay what? Bavlat or manda? hehe, Immaculate (okay I know of the Biblical origins, but still!), Feni (a gujarati girl), Forum (again gujju female name….for the life of me I cannot understand why somebody will name their kid Forum…what next, Panel, maybe?)
    And not everyone grows up to their name. A scrawny four feet nothing guy in my class was named Kalicharan Prasad Chowdhary. He preferred to be called KC 🙂
    And Rachana (divine creation, maybe?), Sakshi(witness to the love of her parents?)are not that bad. And Heena and Nupur are beautiful names, I think!

  2. 🙂

    You seem to have your own collection too 🙂

    I knew a girl by name Silky. SHE was in your school I think… dont know what to say about name ‘Milky’ though… except that she must be hating her parents!!

    We had a very pretty girl called ‘Perpetual’ at my first work place. And we used to crack this geeky joke all the time:

    Q – What will happen if Perpetual marries James Bond?
    A – She’ll be ‘P’ = (Int/k) where k is the required rate of return.

    In case you’ve completely forgotten your undergrad finance stuff, this is the valuation of a ‘Perpetual Bond’ (Ha ha ha…I’ll laugh here myself since I know you’re not laughing.)

    Then there are names like Tarun (young), Naveen (new), Anuj/Anuja (younger brother or sister), Yuvika (young girl – but WHAT a beautiful sounding name) – all these are temporal. Imagine a 60 year old Tarun, Grandma Yuvika and a grand father Anuj.
    ‘Vanita’ – a name that is the height of unimaginativeness!! It simply means ‘a woman’. That’s like stating the obvious!!

    And I agree with you on Rachana. Actually, most of these names have some metaphor attached to them – so a Ketan must be strong and sturdy like a house, Parthiv must be down to earth person, a Navneet (butter) must have a heart that is soft/ delicate etc… and finally Sakshi – the zero state in meditation – Sakshibhaav. But in case of some names, literal meanings are too ‘in-your-face’ methinks…

  3. The temporal names suggest freezing in time/perpetual youth… so a 60 year old Tarun, will always be young at heart. And a granny named Yuvika sounds so yummy 🙂
    Parthiv…son of the soil? 😀

    I didn’t know Navneet meant butter!

    As for my name, since it does not have any lofty meaning, I have come up with this, borrowing heavily from geometry- infinite potential to extend in any direction, it chooses. no limits 😛

    No I didn’t laugh at the perpetual bond joke, simply because it involved an equation. keep those away from me!

  4. 🙂 that’s a very nice interpretation of your name.

    I always thought of your name as – 1. someone who can never be crooked by nature – always honest 2. as beautiful as a drawing

    Yeah, I knew you wouldnt laugh at the Perpetual Bond joke. Very few outside of my ex-workplace do 🙂 but you must admit, its not our fault that her name IS different.

  5. Did you know that you just made my day?
    Thanks, the Wise One (googled to find that!) 🙂

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