What’s in a name?

There are many religious ceremonies I don’t understand, maybe my problem is with religion and everything that comes along with it. I am yet to find someone who can explain the significance behind most of these rituals, other than it’s just something we have to do.
The baarsaa (naamkaran in Hindi), or naming ceremony, is a weird one. I don’t understand why you have to put a newborn through the rigmarole of rituals which just end up stressing the baby out. Instead, like with every major life event these days, just put the name up on Facebook!

Recently I had gone to one, where the baby miraculously slept through it all. So after passing the poor soul over and under the baby cot a couple of times, (reason still unknown to me and yes I googled it and no it didn’t solve the mystery!) – the proud parents revealed the name. It was a pretty unique name, one that I had never heard of at least. It took me a couple of tries to even pronounce it properly. I wasn’t the only one struggling, though, because one of my cousins turned to me and said, we need to think of a nickname asap !! :/

Having one of the most common, if not the most common Indian names myself, teachers still seemed to screw it up. Although Abu Dhabi has its fair share of Indians, going to an international school did not help in the correct pronunciation of a fairly simple two-syllable name. Here are just some of the ways my pious name has been butchered.

Booja – Result of going to school in the middle east where the letter P does not exist in the Arabic language. I’ve been called this mainly by my supervisors and to be fair to them, English wasn’t their first language.
Poojhaa – I’ve been called this by my French teachers and by teachers from Lebanon, who thought they were French.
Pooya – I’ve only been called this once, by a substitute teacher, but I’ll never forget it. When he called out my name, as he went through the class list, I didn’t even respond. He was so off that someone else said ‘present’. After reaching the end of the list, I raised my hand thinking he had skipped my name, so he asked me to spell it out. That’s when he apologized and said he was Spanish and hence, the confusion with the letter 🙂

I can only imagine the struggle my nephew is going to go through if he ever does leave India. But I hope he wears his name like a badge of honour, correcting everyone that mispronounces it; unlike his aunt, who just let it slide, and wrote a blog post about it instead 😉

~ P xo


  1. teaismyjam · August 20, 2016

    Very true, I have an uncommon name for an Indian and many times, people mis-pronounce it and I just let it slide :p

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aditya Solanki · August 11, 2016

    Every tradition start for a reason. However, though traditions are been passed from one generation to another, the reason that lead to the start of these traditions are seldom been passed. A glimpse of this problem can also be seen in the education system of India: most students memorise without understanding what they’re learning. This is a habit which has been promoted by teachers and parents who either could not or did not want to answer the ‘Why’ questions.
    Most people follow traditions only to fit into a community. Some are either ignorant or afraid to change how things are and have been happening. Perhaps, some people are afraid to make changes to a traditions because most traditions are connected with Gods and most religious people are God fearing people.
    I was been asked to shave my head when my grandfather died this year in the month of January. However, when I bothered to know why I should do that, no one had an answer which seemed logical. Some said that it’s a long followed custom and a few said things which would make little sense to an atheist. I raised a few eyebrows when I announced that I, of all the people in my family, would not shave my head.
    Religion has lost its soul.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 3ckthoughtsandthings · August 11, 2016

      We need more people thinking for themselves, rather than just accepting everything that they’ve been told 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aditya Solanki · August 11, 2016

        The current trend is more stupid than accepting traditions without attempting to find the logic behind them. People quote Google as a source of their information without realising that Google is only a search engine. People believe everything that they find on the internet without bothering to check if their source of information is reliable enough to be trusted. Facebook and Whats App have become the new Encyclopedia for people.
        If you want more people to think for themselves instead of accepting everything that they’re been told, people should be taught to cross check every information that’s been given to them.

        Liked by 1 person

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