What's In A Name?

A little while back, I wrote about the naming process for our son, Virj, and I hoped:

Now, if everyone would only pronounce it properly :-)

I thought I was being facetious. Hard to go wrong with something so succinct, right? It's been four months now, so what's been our experience?

Amongst folks originating from the subcontinent there wasn't a problem. More or less perfect enunciation every time. However, for everyone else, particularly if they happened to have been born and brought up in the USA and had little or no exposure to Indian culture, it was more hit and miss. Correct pronunciation is "veerj" with stress on the "e" sound. But we were equally likely to get "verge" as in parents on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I exaggerate but imagine our plight. The early months of parenthood are particularly brutal - add to that regrets about picking a name that I thought was bulletproof, but one that turned out to have loopholes regardless - it certainly doesn't help.

At this juncture, we found the following skit from the hit BBC show Goodness Gracious Me particularly calming. The sketch, which came out around 1998 or so, is eerily prescient. We have Jonathan moving from the UK to join a firm in India where they have trouble with his name:

I don't see you progressing in this firm with a name like that!

In today's mobile, intertwined, economically shifting world, there's really no guarantee our son will choose or even necessarily be able to live in the USA. Consequently, we tried to pick a name for all seasons and continents. On the whole, we're pleased.

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- March 29, 2008 3:08 PM // Diaspora , TV , Virj