...and then

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Venus is a man and Titty has no tits

Here's my contribution to the burgeoning posts that you can find online about  Malayalee names.
Specifically, Malayalee Christian names.  I can already hear M saying it's not like Malayalee Hindu names are all that much better. I agree, but he has a family friend named Swingly (a lovely old gentleman, I might add) and a sister-in-law named ....erm.... Titty (not so old, not so lovely and not tittacious at all). Damn, that was going to come later but I couldn't resist.

Whereas all I have is an uncle named Ambili, which I am told, is a woman's name. Well, my argument is this -- how can it be a woman's name (Ambili means the moon in Malayalam) when every piece of song-writing and literature refers to it as Ambili Maman (the Malayalam equivalent of Chanda Mama)? Someone explain that to me, first.

So anyway let's get on with life. My first brush with slightly bizarre, i-will-hack-my-family-to-bits-when-i-grow-up names was in class 12 when I had a classmate called Lovely. The fact she was indeed lovely and continues to be (maybe there is something to that theory about the person actually growing into the name), gave the parents no right to name an innocent babe the first thing they thought of when the priest rushed them at the baptism ceremony.

 But she had a horror story to narrate. To add insult to the injury of her name, she said she knew a family that had twin girls. Guess what the deliriously joyous parents named them? Loveme and Kissme.

Have you recovered? Some smelling salts? No? Ok, let's move on, shall we?

Now, in a class full of names like Lincy, Jesme, Rijo and Gentle, why do I take particular notice of Lovely, you ask? Simple. The list I've just rattled off and other similar names, I completely and compositely ignore because they don't mean a thing. Really, if you haven't already figured, I have other things to do with my time than dawdle with a bunch of names that actually came from some corner of imagination that is so remote that it can be classified as belonging to another solar system all together. So I have no issues if you are called Blessy, Jomi, Rilli, Petsy, Eljo. Because all they are is sounds.

But I am dreading the time when Loveme and Kissme get to their teens.

Another kind of naming tradition that utterly confounds me is naming a boy with what is obviously a girl's name. For example: Venus (godDESS of love and beauty) GodDESS, godDESS as in female equivalent of god. Venus lives in my building and is a father to two girls. Yes, I said father.
Or Kim (Usually short for Kimberly). Kim is a man I know - through my husband (Hi, M). Unless he was Rudyard Kipling's protagonist of the same name Kim just doesn't sit right on a man.
What about Tess. Nice name, harmless. Calls to mind a relatively simple child-woman with gorgeous red hair and a big smile. (It's my mind and my Tess has a big smile.) Yes? Well, no. Tess is a neighbor in my parents-in-law's neighbourhood. Tess is also the husband of another woman named Lovely.

I know how hard I struggled to come up with a name for my kids. I wanted the names to be meaningful, beautiful to the ears, something that they'll like when they grow up. And I wanted my daughter to be named for my beloved grandmother. So when I come across absolutely impossible names (a friend swears there is someone called Golden Fruito but I doubt her sanity) I wonder what the parents were thinking. Did they want their kids to grow up to be psychopathic murderers? Was it an active ploy to kill any chance of a social life the kids might have had? Were the children conceived in a rash of get-back sex? What, what, what?

I think my  husband's been having me. As in I've been had by my husband. Oh come on, taken in. Meaning strung along. Pah. Go wash your brains with soap.

I'll tell you why: He tells me a story of a man who was so sick of common names that he decided he'd name his kids something absolutely no one would want to name. So he named his daughter Virus. Yes. V I R U S. As in the thing that causes some kind of illness. No, I am not kidding. Yes, I am serious. For you doubting thomases, send me an email and I'll give you my husband's phone number.

Virus.

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16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All you malayalees are ashamed of yourselves. Have pride in your roots and your land.

2:15 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Ahahahahahaha, Anonymous, hello :) I don't know where you got the idea that I don't like being a Malayalee. I love the Malayalee in me, make no mistake. But I am still wondering what made you say what you said... Dude, this is a post about names not my pride in my ethnicity!

2:16 pm  
Blogger Peeking Duck said...

Restless, no, you don't come across as someone who is ashamed of being malayalee. Although this post is lame. With the names that you had, you could have done so much more.

12:42 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hilarious!!!

2:14 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

thanks anonymous #2.
Peeking Duck:I completely and wholeheartedly agree with you. My writing's rusty as hell. Am working on it.

2:20 pm  
Blogger V G said...

Very interesting.
But as a fact I know that all those meaningless names do have meanings. They are a compound of their parents names.
Like my cousins: Ragesh and Ragita, son and daughter of Raghavan and Geeta.
Then this family of Sheelu and Soman having kids Shiso and Soshi (Ya! And funnily their nicknames are monu and molu ha ha)
So lets not ignore the wild malayalee imagination.
As for the first Mr. Anonymous, big shit!

4:07 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Hello VG.

Shiso and Soshi - I don't know what to say but that I hope they will not become serial killers in their adulthood. And not all these naems are compounds of their parents names. I know Rillies, Lincys, Preechys whose parents have names like Elizabeth, Mary, Chacko and Joseph!

Oh, I completely adore the malayalee imagination and everything that arises out of -- humour, writing (although as of now all i can read is translations), art, song, names, clothes, ways of life :) everything!

4:18 pm  
Blogger CognitiveLocomotive a.k.a Thought Engine said...

Do you know about the three children of Anton and Minnora?
Minton, Annora and Minann!!Pretty cool, huh? So there can be almost nice-sounding,nearly biblical, names created from the amalgamation of parents' names.
Thank god they didn't name me Venkumar or Gopanus!!

12:58 am  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Or Veengo! Sounding nice is alright but you think it's okay to have a name without meaning? As in inherent meaning not just an explanation of its source.

10:53 am  
Blogger Me said...

right from the blog title,im loving this blog. fab!and this post says, u have got nice sense of humour too.
as for the names, im perplexed by the malayalee imagination. rather terrified! though i was named decently,(thanks amma)i have equally terrifying tales to share. my neighbour aunty named her kids,barly(yea baarly), basily,bilcy. barly was also called lovely, like in official records. not that she was remotely lovely in her conduct or err..looks. then some names are like printo, prijo(brothers) ...*cringe

1:07 pm  
Blogger Abhipraya said...

Golden Fruto is a person that PS knows. He exists :)

1:55 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

let her give me a self-attested copy that will hold up in court and i will believe her!

4:16 pm  
Blogger scarlet pimpernel said...

Zandz Bousily from kozhikode whose sisters name is Indu.. How abt that ??

11:13 am  
Anonymous Chinkurli said...

LOL! A friend of mine says she studied with a girl called Immaculate Conception. I hope, for the sake of the (maybe nonexistent) girl that this isn't true!

2:11 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Chinkurli (interesting nick there, what does it mean?) Did your friend study in Stella Maris? If she did, then she's bang on :) We had a senior or a batchmate of that name. :)

2:20 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chinkurli in Kannada is a small round fire cracker. Drag it on the ground and let go and it sparks while making a crackling sound.

It's used to describe behavior that is childish, lacking in substance as in all sound and fury, signifying nothing!

It's not complimentary though by a wide margin it may be used in lieu of 'bright spark'.

Maya Rao

4:29 pm  

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