A taxonomy of desi names

You must have heard of it by now – a judge in New Zealand found the name “Tallulah does the hula from Hawaii” so bizarre that he made the child a ward of the court.

“The court is profoundly concerned about the very poor judgment which this child’s parents have shown in choosing this name,” he wrote. “It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap, unnecessarily.”

How right he was, I thought. Some parents need a manual on naming children.

Then it struck me that perhaps those parents are not so much to blame. They are, after all, carrying on the glorious tradition of inappropriate names that parents all over the world think of for their kids. It’s not as if desi parents are immune to this glorious tradition either.

In fact, desi parents seem to have devised innovative and interesting ways to mis-name their children. Here are some of the ways they do it.

A taxonomy of desi mis-names:

1. The loooong name : South Indians, of course, do this all the time. How many times have we heard:

“Hi, my name is Peddanuri Girija Prasad Chalapathi Sai Venkatakrishna Rama Rao….er, please call me Ram!” Then Ram comes to the US, Peddanuri becomes his last name and his name changes to “Paddy”. He is now “Ram Paddy”.

2. The name with interesting mis-meanings : This is the kind that lends itself to interesting meanings in other Indian languages:

e.g. “Dhandapani” becomes “Thanda pani” (cold water) or “Danda pani” (a stick and water?) and “Muruga” becomes “Murga” (chicken). On the other hand, “Sood” means “hot” in Tamil and also sounds like “choodu” (see) in Telugu (especially the Hyderabadi version, where it is pronounced as “soodu”).

3. The name sounds beautiful, the meaning? : For one thing, there are the body parts. It’s one thing to call someone “Sunayana”, or “She of the beautiful eyes.” But Nayana (meaning “eye”) ? It sounds very sweet, but what does it convey about the person? And “Shakuntala” is fine, but “Kuntal” (meaning “hair”) ?

I wonder why someone does not come up with a name on arms and legs and kneecaps. On second thoughts, there is “Ram Charan” (Rama’s feet), though you could argue about how Ram’s feet have spiritual significance and whatnot. Rama’s kneecaps, on the other hand, do not have any such significance.

Then there are the geometric shapes. In school, I had a classmate with the interesting name of Anuvrat. Neither of us knew what his name meant, so I looked it up in the dictionary – Anuvrat means “parabola”. There are also people called “Chakkaram” (circle) presumably referring to Sudarshana chakra.

I haven’t yet come across people called squares and ellipses, but I would not rule them out 🙂 I am waiting for some engineer parents to name their kids the desi equivalent of “Octagon” or “Buckministerfullerene”.

4. The embarassing/ old-fashioned names: “Hi, I am Lajwanti (“Bashful”), please call me Wanti”

“Venti? Like in Starbucks?”

“No, Wanti”.


So it is decided – she becomes Wendy. Anything, she reasons, is better than Lajwanti.

4. The unpronounceable names: If those long South Indian ones don’t trip you up, then you should try the North Indian ones. Try saying “Mohinder Partap Shrivastava” at top speed.

5. The mixed gender name: I understand your plight, all those of you named Kiran or Prasanna or Krishna (especially the girls called Krishna). How many times have you received letters addressed to Mr. Krishna when it really was a Ms. ?

Bengali names also have this characteristic – you keep wondering whether Soumittra is a man or a woman, until you see him (or her).

And those long Southie names? Ramanarayanan Ganapatisubramanian can call himself Ram. But what does the hapless Seetharaman Venkatasubramanian and Lakshminarasimhan Santhanam do?

This tendency is not even limited to Indians. One look at the Sri Lankan (men’s) cricket team and Kaushalya Weeraratne and Ajantha Mendis tell their own story. Oh wait, there is also Prasanna Jayawardene and Sachitra Senanayake for good measure. Actually, if I didn’t know better, i would really believe it was the Sri Lankan women’s cricket team.

6. The usually mispronounced name: So there is this girl named Dhanya. You know what is coming, right? Everyone who hears her name wonders why she is named Dhania (coriander).

Going back to the Sri Lankan cricket team again, I have lost count of the times that the commentators have called Mahela Jeyawardane a Mahila (woman). If I remember, the Hindi commentators seemed suspiciously more prone to doing this. Mahela can also be classified in category #2 above.

7. The no-initials-please name: In many companies, there is the practice of referring to people by their initials. This is when people suddenly realize that Anand Sai Shanker or Arjun Shanker Shamnani is perhaps not the best name to go with.

8. The stuck-in-childhood name: Keralites do this all the time. Baby Kochamma is quite a nice name, if only said Baby was three years old instead of a portly 55! And I wonder how she manages to be a Baby and an Amma (mother) at the same time! Then there is Joy Kutty. After figuring out whether Joy is male or female (the answer: male), one starts to wonder at the “Kutty” (which means “little”). Little Joy will turn out to be a 200 pound hunk, and not the little girl in pigtails you were envisioning.

9. The “ghar ka naam”: The best part is that the parents themselves almost never call their offspring by any of these names. You’d think they would be satisfied at punishing the poor child by calling him Pyare Lal Saxena or BPSSK Rao, right ? Poor Pyare Lal is already ruing the day he was named and wondering if he can call himself Parry Saxena instead. But no, the parents are not finished yet. They have to go one step further and call poor Pyare Lal “Bunty” or “Tinku” or “Pappu”.

So Pyare Lal Saxena, or Parry Saxena, the 50 year old CEO and captain of industry, will quail in his boots at the sight of his mother, for he knows she will call him “Tinku beta” in front of all his guests!


This is not anything close to a comprehensive list; even as I write this, parents are thinking of creative ways to mis-name their children. So I request all of you readers to send in your contributions. For every one of you who thinks these examples are bizarre enough, I am sure there are 20 of you who think I have not gone far enough, or missed out quite a few examples.

So what are the strangest desi names you have come across? What new types of mis-naming can you think of?


58 thoughts on “A taxonomy of desi names

  1. Hey, you forgot the parents who name their kids with bits of their names – sometimes they make sense, sometimes they don’t. I had a Malayali friend who had a friend who swore she knew someone called Shitta, thus named. 😦

    And we have the Babies in AP too, mostly as a nickname, but it stays for life. Even when Baby is a great grandmother and 75!

    Some of the strangest names I’ve come across – Milky Way (no kidding! another friends’s friend’s experience), Liberty, Republica, Niyanta (dictator, I thought; control, she insisted), Manuradha (‘cos the sister was called Anuradha), Manjana (Mom didn’t want Sanjana), Sonakshi (golden-eyed) (?), Minty (nickname for someone with a grandiose Sanskrit name) …

    Lekhni: Well, I do wonder about how those women called Ishita must feel 🙂
    Manuradha and Manjana indeed! But Milky Way takes the cake 😀

  2. ROFL , desi names are fun sometimes 🙂
    South Indian names make me curious always. The name “Selva” seem to be used in combination with any other name. I have seen a person with name “Tamil Selva” too.
    Some of the malayali names sound like childhood names but they are not.
    Sometimes the normal names seems to be spelled and called differently in south. A person named “mahesh” which is a common name is called as “magesh” .
    The surname part can be entire new post 😀 The marathi surnames are embrassing some times !! Surnames like “Gadhave ( Donkey) , khote ( liar) ” can be funny. Also there are those colorful surnames “kale (black), Pandhare(white), Nile(blue) ” 😀

    will add more as I remember 😀

    Lekhni: “Selva” means wealth, if I am right. And don’t get even get me started on Tamil mis-spellings of names – Magesh and Vinoth and Badma (or Bathma). The problem is that Tamil does not have a different letter for “p” and “b”, the same letter does double duty. Ditto “th” and “dh”.
    Thanks for the Marathi additions – those are hilarious 😀

  3. Spare a thought for the southie men. With a name like Azhyaga Sundaram or Tamizharisu how do you expect them to get popular with the ladeej? Even armed with an MBA and a huge wallet, you walk up to a woman and say ‘Hey Tamizharisu here, Can I buy you a drink?’. Chances are she’ll be seen with a not-so-intelligent guy with a lighter wallet just coz hez named sanjay patel or rahul singh!

    Lekhni: What, did you have to add to poor Azhagiya Sundaram’s woes by mis-spelling his name as well ? 😉 Well, now Southie men have caught on – now Azhagiya Sundaram and Tamizharasu just call themselves “Ziggy” or “Tam” in a faux American accent and the ladeej are all extreemly impressed, thanku 🙂 Poor Rahul Singh can never shorten his name except to “Rahu”, and who wants that?

  4. Presenting Exhibit No.1 – Me, Myself, I 🙂

    Lekhni: Thamaraparani Ananthanarayanan LakshmiVenkatanarasimhan? (okay, okay, maybe I am exaggerating, but it’s very similar, right? 😀 )

  5. Hilarious. I have a friend named Shomee Sharma. Yeah, really. Years back in my IIT coaching class, the prof didn’t get it so he wrote on the white board in front of everyone, are you “Show me”, or “Shove me” or “So-me” .

    The parts you missed are Bengali and Sikh names. There are people who think Rituparno and Sudipta are women. But there is an actress named Rituparna Sengupta. And then the Sikh names. Gurpreet, Mandeep, Navdeep are all women. But don’t be surprised if Navdeep turns out to be a guy.

    I am Tambrahm and I have two parts to my name(first name, yeah). I love both of them for different reasons, but have to compromise one for want of space!

    Lekhni: Shomee is funny 🙂 I wish parents would think of how their kids’ names would sound atleast in English 😦
    On Bengali names, I did talk about Soumittra being of confusing gender, but it’s true, Sudipta is used for both men and women in Bengal. And you are right, Gurdeep Singh is a man but Gurdeep Kaur is a woman – the “Kaur” and “Singh” are usually the only indicators!

  6. Excellent taxonomy Lekhni. (On a serious note, you missed one important category: last names derived from occupation/profession and from town/village of origin.)

    The Lifetime Achievement Award for the greatest names in history goes to one man and one man only: musician Frank Zappa. His kids are named Dweezil, Moon-Unit, Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen and Ahmet Emuukha.

    Lekhni: Oh yes, how could I forget the Daruwallas, the Baltivalas and others? The town/ village of origin is not so bad, at least until you come across a Satish Bangalore.

    Moon-unit? Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen? As someone was telling me the other day, you can iimagine that some of the kids were conceived when the parents were drunk, but were they also named when the parents were drunk?

  7. Gaywish (a boy, but obviously). A classmate of mine.

    And of course, there are the Anglicised African names –
    Unlimited Willy
    Fatty Bum-Bum

    …I kid you not. And yes, these are all from first-hand, or at most, second-hand knowledge.

    Lekhni: “Happiness”, is probably only a little strange, I mean “Grace” is common among all races, so is “Faith” and “Prudence” and so on. But “Gaywish” is really weird. I wonder if that’s indicative of what the parents want the boy to be?
    And er, what exactly does “Unlimited Willy” mean? And is “Fatty bum-bum” a translation of an African name? Okay, we call people Sunayana, they call them Fatty bum-bum, so I guess it’s all just cultural as to what constitutes attractiveness 😉

  8. Funn”y funny funny all the way! Had a good time reading this post!! Very beautifully written 🙂
    My 2 cents:
    (1) I had a girlfriend named Seena Rajan from Kerala. Her parents called her ‘Seene’ to make it sound more from the nose. Her name was included in the boys list in college cos Seena in K’taka is short for Srinivasa !
    (2) I met a woman named Upma at a social gathering here in the US. Had a hard time controlling my laughter!
    (3) There used to be a girl in college called ‘Tithi’ which actually means ‘funeral ceremony’ in Kannada but it actually has a different meaning in Sanskrit. Poor girl always cribbed about her parents’ poor choice! Who will think about Sanskrit meaning anyway?!
    (4) I have a friend from work who’s last name is Gadhoke. And although today he is a very very good friend of mine, when I first met him I’d asked him why he had done this to himself :-))
    (5) There was also this woman at work whos last name was ‘Teethe’ which, in Kannada means ‘naughty’ usually referred in the context of sex. Nothing more need be said.

    Lekhni: I can understand what the parents were thinking – they were probably thinking of poetry and Upma Alankar (simile) but they forgot that the more common word is the dish 😀

    “Tithi” is a unfortunate choice 😦 In Sanskrit, it just means “date” (actually, day of the fortnight). Why would you want to name a girl “date”?

    I hope that person named “Teethe” was not a Kannadiga and did not know what her last name meant 😮

  9. And I forgot, Apple is the name of Gwyneth and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin’s daughter. Also Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck have some weird name for their kid. I don’t remember. Baby Kochchamma, I know only from God of small things!

    Lekhni: Yes, Apple is a little strange. Google tells me Jennifer Garner’s kid is Violet Anne. That’s okay – Violet is a flower too, so it’s on par with Rose or Mallika. But celebrities do have weird taste in names. I keep hearing about this name that’s all the rage – Nevaeh (which is Heaven spelt backwards). Why can’t they just call the kid Heaven instead ?

  10. I can’t really comment on desi names. But there is this:

    and then I’ve heard of some court refusing some parents to call their daughter Dot-Com.

    And I once knew a guy called Prince Aim? (Loved prince).

    Lekhni: Pyare Lal (“Dear Son”) can be termed the desi verion of Aim?, perhaps ? Dot-com is hilarious 🙂 And they wanted to call her “dotty”, I suppose? 😉

  11. Bunty always sounded funny to me when I was a kid because I took great pleasure in calling the guy “Ghanti”. A friend of mine has the surname “Shetty” and I always insist my American friends to call him by that. Funny when they are embarrassed to say shitty.

    Lekhni: Well, Shetty sounds bad enough, but spare a thought for poor Mr. Dikshit 😛

  12. Great post!
    How could one forget the Beauty Senguptas and the Lenin BasuRoys, apart from the Lilys (who look like they take facials with cowdung)…?
    (No racism here: I like dark-skinned women)
    A certain tribe/clan of Bengalis from Midnapore is called Shit. And I have had patients named Hui (hooey?).
    Plenty more variety, but that would need another blog post!

    Lekhni: Oh yes, that reminds me of Dimple and Simple Kapadia. If there was another sister, would she have been Pimple? Then Dimple carried on the glorious tradition with “Twinkle”.

    Chennai has a famous “Stalin” too 😦

    Another blog post ? Maybe I should collate all your (and other readers’) ideas into a post 😀

  13. Lekhni

    I could contribute the real-life story about a Maharashtrian guy whose surname was Shithole (ole as in Spanish) who came to work in the UK…

    Or to add to Zappa’s clan, I could add Bob Geldof’s kids named Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches Honeyblossom and Tiger Lily Heavenly Hirani; or Gwyneth Paltrow’s Apple; or Mia Farrow’s Satchel (what were you thinking?); or David Bowie’s son Zowie Bowie; or Marc Bolan’s Rolan Bolan…

    But since I am a bit sleep-deprived today, I will leave you a link to read:


    Lekhni: Tiger Lily Heavenly Hirani 😀 Where do these people get their ideas from, I wonder! This points to the influence of something stronger than alcohol 🙂

    The good part about celebrity names is that the parents would have also left enough in their kids’ trust funds for the kids to afford therapy when they grow older and realize the full horror of their names!

  14. Oh, there was a show on tv the other day – Celebrity weird baby names…

    I found this link on the net too…interesting names indeed!


    The best is ‘Jermajesty’ – imagine telling the kid to do some chore and the parents go “go clean your bed jermajesty”……GOD !!!:D 😀

    Lekhni: Yes, Kalafudra also referred to this link in her comment above…it is hilarious 😀
    I wonder if desi celebrities also share this same habit of naming their kids strange names.

    “Jermajesty” just sounds like the parents can’t even spell correctly 🙂

  15. LOL !! I enjoyed reading this thoroughly ! I have had friends in every genre that you have mentioned here ! And a few more too !!

    Including the much common names that almost everybody in town has. Kumars. Singhs. Every third person has the same surname and another third of them will have the first one too. You cant be sure who it is, until they show up !!

    LOL !!

    Lekhni: Oh yes, you just have to look through the phone directory of a North Indian city and there would be twenty five pages of Sharmas. In the South, it would probably have twenty pages devoted to Srinivasan.

  16. I had a classmate who was named Pinkle. He was so fed up of his name that he finally changed it to Pradeep. I always wondered what his parents were thinking when they gave him this name.

    Lekhni: Did they, er, read a lot of “Tinkle” comics as a child? Big fans of Dimple Kapadia, I can see. Seriously, some parents do need a manual 😦

  17. I think we need to limit the length.

    Lekhni: Try convincing the parents, the grandparents and the extended family 🙂 I believe in certain regions, you have to add grand parents names, favorite deity’s names and so on..

  18. Lekhni

    To be fair to Tiger Lily etc, she was named Hirani originally by Paula Yates and Michael Hutchence; the rest was added I think when Geldof adopted her. See a pattern? 🙂

    Lekhni: So each adoptive parent wanted to put their stamp of “originality” on her name ? I thought this practice of renaming people was only prevalent in certain regions in India (where women’s first names are changed after marriage) 😦

  19. Well, scores of thoughts have passed this page, still I would like to add mine.

    1] geometrical shapes – one prof. from the mathematics dept. of my undergrduate college named her daughter ‘origin’ & son as ‘locus’ taking a cue from coordinate geometry.

    2] A prof. here in my campus named his son as ‘photon’ – the quanta of light and as a hindsight the boy is siblingless. Photon has no antiparticle is the logic that was put forward.

    3] In my native language there are some strange petnames/names for the people who are not very privileged to write blogs or even read at that. Citings are

    alu [potato], kochu [arum], pocha [rot], kochi [greenhorn], nera [bald].

    There are still stanger names using adjectives – holde [yellowish]

    The last one is – kodru poramanick [the surname means cobbler]. I still wonder what the first one means.

    Lekhni: “Origin” and “Locus” indeed 😦 Reality is always stranger than anything we can ever make up!
    Photon’s sibling, if he had one, could have been “electron”, following a different logic.
    The “pet” names are hilarious 🙂 Which reminds me, we don’t even call our pets “alu”, they would probably refuse to answer 😉

  20. You’ve mentioned Sri Lankan criketers’ names, and you’ve missed out the most famous of them all. There’s this bowler called Chaminda Vaas, and his full name isn’t so nut-shelly… 😀
    Brace yourself…
    Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas
    And out very own VVS Laxman!! How can we forget him? 😀
    Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman

    Lekhni: The Sri Lankan cricket team was threatening to hijack my entire post, with examples available in each category 🙂

    They are already all over the mixed-gender category. In the long names category, apart from Chaminda Vaas as you mentioned, there is also Denagamage Proboth Mahela de Silva Jayawardene and Hewasandatchige Asiri Prasanna Wishvanath Jayawardene. Incidentally, the latter has the names of 2 Indian cricketers in his name 🙂 All we need to do now is figure out somebody who is called a hexagon or a cricket bat, and we’d have covered everything 😛

  21. Quasar Padamsee.

    And I know someone who, having been told her son’s name needed to start with ‘U’ according to his horrorscope, seriously considered naming him Urine (as in, the one who has no debts). Until someone wrote the name out in English and gently dissuaded her.

    Lekhni: Welcome back 🙂 Can you believe, I’d never heard of Quasar Padamsee? Quasars, yes, the Padamsees, yes, but not this scion 😉

    The Urine story is funny 🙂 With all those poor kids who were mis-named, I keep wondering, where were all the relatives who dole out gratuitous advice? They were actually needed here!

  22. Funny stuff… given the American Pronunciation we had a Prof called NeelaKanta Rao Dikshit…

    Lekhni: Yes, Dikshit is quite a bad one…the spelling is bad enough, but it packs an extra punch when pronounced.

  23. I was called Mami for college, and it became so popular that I began signing notices as “Mami” by the time I reached my third year. No, I don’t resemble an over-friendly, elderly, female relative. I am Mamidipudi Venkataranga Swaroop!

    Also, there’s Parthasarathy who usually becomes Paratha or some such thing.

    Lekhni: I have wondered too, at your name 🙂

  24. there is another culture in Bihar. People will use two names in combination as their first name ( as if one is not enough !! 😀 ) Like Rajiv Ranjan Jha , Ananya Khusubu Kumari , Gautam Sankar Pandey !! So when one needs to write his full name say in an application it would be

    Prabhat Ranjan Alok Pratap Srivastav 😀 (When son can have double name why not father ? 😀 )
    They too compete with tamilians when it comes to misspelled names 😀

    Lekhni: Two-word first names are very common in Andhra Pradesh too. So you will have first names like Nagajyoti Srilakshmi and so on.. the good news is that they have a lot of choice on what they’d like to be called 🙂

  25. Oh, Dimple and Simple do have a sister, called Rimple alias Reem, if I’m not mistaken. And even if she wasn’t Rimple, the name Rimple exists – just do a Google search.

    Lekhni: Apparently “Rimple” means a fold or a wrinkle. I guess they decided to start with the wrinkles before they get to the pimples 😉

  26. I was once absolutely mortified to visit someone’s house and learn that Rajesh was actually sardarji’s wife’s name too. Think Rajesh Kaur 🙂

    And then, there is a Canadian political group who try to live their name – they call themselves Bread Not Circuses 🙂

    Lekhni: I can imagine that scene – you probably thought that Sardarji was calling you rather than his wife 🙂 Sounds like it’s straight out of a comedy scene in a play 😀

    “Bread Not Circuses” is a great name for a political group, if they can live up to it!

  27. Oh, the perils of naming when an innocent term (no, not the Keralite actor Innocent) becomes a liability! I had a friend whose name was Gay George. We called her ‘Gay’ without any problems during my school years. By the time I got to college, I had heard that she had changed her name to Asha or some such.

    Lekhni: I can imagine, after all “gay” is not a commonly used word in India except as a synonym for jolly or happy or something similar 🙂

  28. Pingback: The Failure of Human Taxonomy | The Y-AXIS LIVE!

  29. joy kutty…hilarious!
    nice post !
    i knew a ‘kelukutty muriyakozhi pradeepa sathukutty’…who wished to be called pradeepa; thank heavens.
    also the very unfortunate virgin kurien, who prompted random men into asking her “are you virgin?”

    Lekhni: “Pradeepa” sounds like the best part of her name, I can imagine Tamils sniggering at the “kozhi” (meaning chicken in Tamil) and the sathukutty does sound very like “sathukudi” (meaning mosambi/ orange in Tamil) 🙂

  30. …and there were the saurav ganguly fans who had planned to name their child saurav. they had twins. so they named them saurav and lords.

    the other one which used to amuse me was this series of oslando. the one i knew was the fourth or fifth ( pop, grandpa, and so on and so forth). i used to always ask him what would happen if he had twins ( os and lando?)

    and there was a girl named timsy ( doesnt that sound like a dog? ..timsy come here ) and hepzeebah ( who became Pepsi)

    actually i shouldnt make too much fun. i have a fairly uncommon name myself. as in not weird, just unusual. so its regulalry butchered.

    Lekhni: Why Lords? What did that poor twin do? I can think of atleast 3 other Saurav-themed names:
    1. Saurav’s elder brother’s name (whatever that is);
    2. Rahul (Saurav’s batting partner in Lords)
    3. Gaurav (rhymes, and you can argue on the lines of Saurav being linked to India’s Gaurav(honor) or whatever).

    Oh well. I think parents get temporarily imbalanced when it comes to naming kids 🙂

    And btw, for all you know, we probably know the same Hephzibah, given that she went into Market Research and all. We used to call her Hepsi, resisting the “Pepsi” urge with great difficulty 🙂

  31. I had an Irish Lily and an Immaculate Portia for classmates in college!

    Lekhni: Immaculate Portia? Whoever thought of this name clearly believes the Bible and the “Merchant of Venice” are the same book 😛

  32. Adding to the list of hilarious names:

    1) a 3year old boy was named Venkata Subba Ramaiah after his great grandfather. As per the mother’s wishes, the chosen house name was Chiranjeevi abbreviated to Chiru after the megastar.

    2) Hardik

    3) Prince Samar who became Prince Summer and was often asked if he had a sister called Princess Winter.

    Lekhni: I am kind of immune to the long Telugu ones, since I have seen names that are 7 or even 9 words long 😦 But #2 and #3 are hilarious. Poor kids!

  33. Nice read. Like many , even I did my bit on names, Mallu names wonly but

    What about the commonality of names like say a Srinivas in Andhra Pradesh?
    Go to the streets of Vizag and shout Srinivas, your fingers and toes would not be enough to count the number of people who respond.

    May be when kids are named,parents in most cases do not think much.Blame it on globalization and the world becoming small, 50 years back I am sure none would have made fun of a Hardik 😉

    Pet names alone can be a Phd dissertation-Babu , Sai and likes from AP ,the Tinku beta,Rinku Beta/Beti etc etc..so many of them…


    Lekhni: Your Mallu names post is hilarious 🙂 I notice you have mentioned “Joy” too. The first time I heard of a “A.M. Joy” (fictional initials), I expected to see a woman. Instead, I found a rather short, balding, middle aged guy 😮

    Oh, yes, there should be a whole series of posts on (i) common names in each region and eccentricities peculiar to each region; and (ii) pet names. Or, as you say, a PhD dissertation 😀

  34. There are several people who don’t read my name properly (esp. Because i live in tamil nadu :D) and several others who say I have the most beautiful name. My grandfather was called Sahasranaman, that’s how I really got the name.

    Here are a few variants people use: Saras, Sahasramanan, Saahas and there was this american who kept calling me Sahaas. The security guy at office say Sahasarnaman. 😀

    Lekhni: I guess everyone would end up calling you “Sahasranamam” or “Sahasarnamam”, right? The “n” at the end is certainly unusual.
    I can see that American would have had trouble getting beyond a few syllables 🙂 But I hope he asked for permission before shortening your name?

  35. In gujarat we have surnames which you will find …hun…. well… 🙂 just read!

    – mankodi i.e. big ant
    – maankad i.e. bed bug
    – haathi i.e. elephant
    – machchhar i.e. mosquito
    – maankadaa i.e. monkey (red face one!)
    – Buch i.e. cork then list is long.

    Can’t forget… baatliwala, daruwala etc

    And we had classmates from kerala: tinu and tutu!

    All of the above are first hand experiences!

    Lekhni: You know, I have come across people named “Mankodi” and “Buch”. I never knew this is what their last names meant 😀 I just read about Ashok Mankad’s demise today and wondered – does “Mankad” mean “bed bug” too? Not the most appropriate thought, I know 😦

  36. Names from my class (Cochin)
    – Tintu, Steena, Jisha, Jabin, Dipin (best friend)

    I like looong Tam names. I have a moderately long one myself (18 alphabets only).

    Lekhni: Do any of these names have any meaning at all? 🙂 “Dipin” at least sounds like a different way to spell “Dipen” (meaning “Light of a lamp”).

    On your name, I guessed Venkatasubramanian 🙂 It has 18 letters, but I know, it doesn’t match with your initials 😦

  37. one of my friend in frustation declared that she is gonna name her kids as “Vedana” ( as in pain) and “Andhar ” ( meaning darkness) 😀
    thank god she did not do it finally !! 🙂

    Lekhni: I am glad she didn’t 🙂 She could have gotten away with naming them “Veda” (since the meaning is completely different) and “Nisha” (meaning night) though.

  38. Since we are on celebrity-children names, didn’t Joy Mukherjee name his sons Boy and Toy?

    Lekhni: He did ? Oh well, I am glad he had two sons. Otherwise, if he had just one son, would the hapless kid be called “Boy toy” or “Toy boy”? 😉

  39. Okay I had to comment on this 😀 I had a junior called Titti Thomas. I know. Poor girl. One of my Mallu friends mentioned that the electrician in her town named his daughters – bulby, tuby, lightey.

    Too much no?

    Lekhni: It’s too bad parents don’t understand slang 🙂 But bulby, tuby, lightey is just awful 😮 Poor kids 😦 I hope they all changed their names as soon as they possibly could (and in the meantime, gave their father hell) 😀

  40. I didnt come across any funny or bizarre names yet! ut the post was hilarious…! loved the part of ppl havin loooong names….
    aah! now i remember… one of my cousin is named as – <b<Venkata Subba Amrutha Valli Lakshmi Pranavi!

    Lekhni: This was a girl, right? At least, the Lakshmi Pranavi seems to indicate that 🙂 Long names can also get very confusing that way 🙂 Invariably, there is a Lakshmi or Sita or Radha either at the beginning or near the end, and you wonder if it’s a guy or a girl 😛

  41. Hilarious post!!
    Hehe…my mom’s colleague named her son using the first 2 alphabets of her’s n her husband’s name (Ramachandran and Sheela) they named him RASH 😀 (Thank God it was not Ittup and Sheela…they’d have named the kid SHIT :D)
    We used to call our batchmate Dikshit as Deepshit (he once told us that he was mortified one morning, when, for a team presentation, the PPT opened up with his name put as Dickshit 😀 😀
    I kno 2 brothers Tikki and Titti (the second is popular as Tits :D)
    The longest i’v known is my brother’s classmate: Seemakurthi Venkitanatha Sachanjanaya Surya Shivarama Krishna Chaithanya. The guy’s name is Chaithanya 😀 😀
    A weird one? A malayali named “Aaro” In malayalam, Aaro means “someone” 😀
    And there is a guy i kno named Benevolence 😀
    aah…lots and lots more 😀

    nice blog…am adding you tu my blogroll!

    Lekhni: Guys being called “Tits” may not be so bad (er, unless he was a little obese) 🙂
    SVSSSK Chaithanya? Now, that’s the perfect Telugu name 😉 And “aaro” is rather weird, right? I wonder what the mother was trying to convey ? 😛

  42. Well, I told him to shorten it. Because he was having so much trouble with it 😀 But I just can’t understand why its so hard. When I say each syllable separately, he’s able to follow me, but says something totally different when trying to say the whole word

    Lekhni: Yeah, well, give him a break 😀 He can’t twist his tongue as readily as you and I can 🙂

  43. A lot of the malayali christian nurses my parents have worked with have botanical names – Rose and Lily and Rosemary and so on. They were pretty amazed when they met Cannabis, though.

    Lekhni: Was that what the parents were smoking when they named him ? 😉

  44. Lekhni:

    “Was that what the parents were smoking when they named him ?”

    Possibly when they made him/ her… A bit like David Beckham’s son Brooklyn, apparently conceived in the NY suburb.

    Lekhni: Quite possible 😀 Although, Brooklyn (the suburb) has shed its rough image and become fashionable these days. I still can’t imagine anyone naming their kids Bronx or Hell’s Kitchen yet 😉

  45. In college, I knew an American dude whose last name was Balls – I kid you not! He wanted to have a daughter so that he can name her Phelia! I also knew a Richard Hooker! No surprise that every one called him by his shortened first name + last name. As for funny Indian names, I once met a Hardik, who goes by Harry, and an Annamalai, written as Anna Malai and hence was assumed to be a girl!

    Lekhni: No kidding, really? The Hooker part is less surprising, for that’s also the name of a well-known furniture brand in the US that was started by one Clyde Hooker. (I did do a double-take when I first heard the name, years ago 🙂 )

  46. Lekhni, is your real name Lekhni??
    That apart have you heard how the Chinese name their children? They throw cutlery up in the air (China of course stupid) and record the sounds made when they, ably assisted by gravity, meet their maker. How else do you think Ching Ling, Ting Lang and Huen Tsang came to be names??
    And Lekhni, I know for a fact that you are Tamil- Reasons being two- the indepth knowledge you display regarding the not so normal ways the Tamils pronounce names and I am a Tam brahm myself. There are some really hilarious ones I would love to share with all you good people that have bothered to share your thoughts with Lekhni and each other. But right now espresso, a cigarette and most importantly my good friend from UP, Dharmagya Dikshit ( not necessarily in that order) beckon. See you soon!!
    Pretendre AKA Sudarshan Jayaram

    Lekhni: No, Lekhni is not my real name. And thanks for the compliment about my knowledge of Tamil names 🙂
    Please do share the other hilarious names once you’ve finished your espresso!

  47. @Lekhni : Cant agree better! 🙂 its actually fun when u remember the person’s full long name and call out to him/her in public… i am wondering what would be more ridiculous, the name, or the call! 😀

    Lekhni: Oh yes, that’s the easiest way to embarrass someone – call them by their full name 😉 Bonus points for keeping a straight face!

  48. I wrote a comment here sometime back. Don’t know where it disappeared. Anyway, to answer your query to Sakhi, Ashok Mankad is the same “Maankad” that she’s mentioned; only I thought that maankad meant spider,not bed bug.
    I have always been intrigued why some Hindi names, which are actually male/female are given to children of the opposite sex. e.g Sapna is a male noun but ever heard of a boy called Sapna? And Prithvi is a female noun and I’ve only heard of boys called Prithvi, not girls.
    And I’ve heard my share of Mallu Christian names like Jogy (pronounced Jojee), Sini, Seena (Chest in Hindi), Eliamma (Mouse mother?) etc.

    Lekhni: This is worrying. I have no idea why your comment disappeared 😦 I wonder if it has happened to others as well 😦

    Interesting point about the male-female mixed names. Of course, I have heard of Prithviraj, which would be male, and maybe some guys shorten that to Prithvi. But Sapna is baffling (for that matter, it is also baffling why dreams should be male, but then, that’s Hindi 🙂 )

  49. Pingback: TWELVE INDIAN WOMEN I LOVE « A Twist of Word and Mind

  50. twin daughters named(pet names though) …dudai and nunai…..
    cant even describe u in written…ask any bong……such a shame!!!!

  51. Very funny post!
    Reminds me, I had a 12 year old patient in my OPD one day, whose name was Udasa. She was accompanied by a younger sister (around 10 yr old) and a brother (5-6 years old). Intrigued, I asked what her siblings were called. They were Nirasha and Deepak. I should be posting this on unchaahi blog.

  52. Hi, times have changed these days – and parents, in a quest to give their children “modern” sounding names, end up naming them after popular pickle brands! 🙂 I am compiling a list of such names – will update my blog soon 🙂

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