Thursday, March 30, 2006

Four Girls - Born and Named

“You are blessed with a girl”. The nurse announces. “It’s all right. It’s all right. Don’t worry, don’t worry. After all this is the first child. She will be very helpful to her mother when she grows up”. Sad faces convince each other. “How’s my daughter? Is she alright?”, only the mother asks. “She is not awake yet. She is alright”. Some relief.

“Have you decided on a name”? The priest asks. This is the first ear-piercing ceremony for the first grandchild for both the families. “I would like her named after a deity”, Head of the father-side family speaks. “You are very right”. Head of the mother-side family concurs. “She was born on the day auspicious for Goddess Meenatchi. I believe Meenatchi herself is born in my family as my granddaughter. I would like her to be named as Meenatchi”. “We can call her Meena or Meenu, as Meenakshi looks too old fashioned”, mother’s murmur in her husband’s ears goes unheard amidst the priest’s chanting, except his Meenakshi.. emphasised, with a little gap before and after…




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“You are blessed with a girl”. The nurse announces. “Can I see her”? The happy father asks. “We don’t mind a girl child. It is also a child, right? Grandchild is a grandchild. I am a grandpa. She has made me a grandpa.” Grandmothers and grandfathers try their best. “Is she alright?” mother asks. “She is not awake yet. She is alright”. Some relief.

“Have you decided on a name”? The priest asks. “don’t tell, don’t tell. You have to tell in her ears first. Who is going first?” “It has to be her father, right? In our customs it has to be the father of the child who gives the name first. Go, say her name in her ears”, mother calls the son. “Have you checked with an astrologer”? Worried priest questions. “Oh, yes. He told us that the name has to start with P or R or T, as her birth-star is Hastam. We also considered numerology. We don’t want T, as it will go very last in the attendance register in school. Even in interviews she will have to go as the last candidate. By that time, the interview board might have become exhausted and that will ruin her career. R is not very different from T. So we have decided to stick with P. “Preethi”, the proud father announces on the 11th day naming ceremony.


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“You are blessed with a girl”. The nurse announces. “I always wanted a girl Can I see her”? Excited father asks. “We support girl child. Granddaughter is the one who is going to take care of you when you are really old and need care. Sons and daughters won’t give a damn”. Grandfathers and grandmothers hide their faces from each other. “Is she alright” The husband asks. Mother joins. “She is not awake yet. She is alright”. Some relief.

“I don’t want a typical Tamil name. They are too lengthy and not easy to pronounce. I want my girl to be modern and her name should reflect it”. “How about Jennifer”? “Nah, that’s too Christian. We don’t regret our roots. We do respect it”. “Ok. How about Shruti, you know she is the music of our life”, mother teases her husband. “Honey, listen, I want a short and sweet name. When she goes to the States or England, I don’t want her name pronounced wrongly. Or, atleast I don’t want her having to explain her name all the time. You know, also, it has to be less common, if not unique”. “oh, yah yah, I know. You want everything. You don’t compromise, do you?” “Honey you chose. That is it”. Passionately looking into the eyes doesn't make it easy. So beautiful. She is everything. Hmmm, “How about Rita Ritu”? “Rita Ritu” loud and together; happy.


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“You are blessed with a girl”. The nurse announces. “Wow”. “Hold on, hold on, let me wrap her”. She is just beautiful. Tears in father’s eyes. “She is not awake yet. She is alright. She will be out soon, I will let you know.”. Smiles the nurse. Father becomes restless. Don’t know what to do. Should I call..., it must be midnight there. Wait. Let her come out of the recovery room. She has to know first. Wow. She will be on the top of the world. What name? Let her come out. Some relief.

“Are you tired? It is a girl.” face glowing out of pride. “How is she?” feeble voice. “She is fine. She is here. Do you want to hold her”? Slowly trying to sit up and coming to terms. “See. It is our daughter.. honey, what name”? “I have short listed five names. It was there in that paper”. He opens the draw. Looks for a paper in his “kit”. “Did you pack it when we left”? “It must be there. I kept all important papers in a folder”. “I packed your clothes. You were in pain. I was in a hurry. May be we have left it at home. Do you want me go home and get it”? “haaaa. I am tired”. “I know. I know. I am sorry. You were in pain. I panicked and didn’t pack everything as we planned. I will go home and get it”. “No. don’t worry. I might remember.. Akash.. No that is a boy name.. Anushka, and…”. “Honey, I love anushka. Its very modern, unique, reflects our roots. We can shorten it as Nush… It is perfect. Look, she looks like Nush.. She is so Nush”.. A week laughter from the mother. “Ok. You lazy bugger. Nush it is”. “Have you got a name?” The nurse asks. “Anushka”, a feeble and a happy voice joined together.


21 comments:

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

Premalatha:
//How about Shruti, you know she is the music of our life//
Did you overhear what I was talking when my daughter was born? Exactly my words. :)
I was also reminded of the story of Sujatha, I guess it is "En Iniya Iyanthira" (Sorry about the Thanglish), which appears contain the epilogue of this post. If my memory serves me right, the government names the newborn with short names. Nila, Sibi etc...

Premalatha said...

Government insists on short names. I think they still have choice, may be they get the a list within which people have to chose. Can't remember very well. Read it a loooong time ago when I was in school (or college?).

Nila is the central character and Sibi is her husband. I remember the plot very well (yaay!, my memory hasn't gone ashes yet!).

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

...Even in interviews she will have to go as the last candidate. By that time, the interview board might have become exhausted and that will ruin her career...

I LOVED THAT!
and the rest of this post! Nice one

Premalatha said...

thanks Shoefi. :-)

It is going to be a series. I going to grow (up?) with the girls and going to learn their lives. Let us see how it goes.
:-)

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

//It is going to be a series. I going to grow (up?) with the girls and going to learn their lives//

Ooops..I was of the impression that the four gals are born is different decades. So, they are all born in the same time but with different socio-economic status?? Did I get it right??

Premalatha said...

why oops?

you are right about different socio-economic, even place. not different decades. that is the beauty of our country. you can see several century differences at the same time. people would do anything to understand "how it looked and felt at that time".. in our country we just have to board a bus!

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

//people would do anything to understand "how it looked and felt at that time".. in our country we just have to board a bus//

Well said.

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

Very interesting idea. All the best with it. Looking forward to the next chapter!

Premalatha said...

Shoefi, can read/write Tamil? I have written the same thing in tamil as well. (http://premalathakombaitamil.wordpress.com/)

Anonymous said...

nice post in both languages. looking fwd to reading the series.

Premalatha said...

Thanks anon.

(anon oru tamilu. ha ha. kandupudichutten.)

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

I can read Tamizh but very slowwwwly... I'll definitely make an attempt tho!

ammani said...

Lovely post. Meenakshi. That's one of my names (we're given three). I love the way each one begins the same way.

Premalatha said...

@shufi,
that will be honor. but, do not torture yourself too much. it is the same thing.

@ammani,

There are few sentences like the opening sentence. it is a success that you did not notice (that the flow was good). it is a success if you noticed also. lol.
what is your third name?
thanks for the comment. :-)

ammani said...

rama

B o o said...

Even I thought it was different decades. Meenakshi daughter Preethi, Preethis daughter Rita and Ritas daughter Anushka...! (Rita konjam idichudhu of course!) But like u said in the comment, it all happens only in India at the same time! :) Good start. Off I go to read in Tamil now. And thanks for the "Gilli" hat tip! :))

Premalatha said...

Rita paththi tamil blogla commentla explain panniyurukken. I know you are reading it. :-)

rajaram said...

Premalatha,

Well said in both language. But ennathan sonnalum tamil-la vaasikkum pothu romba nalla irunthamathiri oru feeling.

Dadoji said...

Very interesting concept and equally true. Had the Devil been a girl, I would have been the fourth type but he turned out to be a boy. Well, I might get lucky this July though.
;-)

sudha said...

ive read en iniya iyandhira too , ur again at it, bringing back memories of people and places from another time....:(.....veetukku ponum pola irukku.......homesickness at 24, nalla illa.

Premalatha said...

@Dadoji,
How is the Devil doing? :-)

All the best for July. Please let us know 1) what name? ;) 2) do not forget to pack your "shortlist" ;)

@Sudha,
Go home. You need a good break. :-)