Saturday, December 7, 2013

What's in a Name


The other day I had gone to a library and saw a little girl with a teddy bear. The librarian said hello to the little girl and asked her what was the teddy bear's name. The little girl did not answer. A boy who waited behind her in the line said that his dog's name was Scoobi.

I told the boy that Scoobi was a lovely name. The boy smiled and told me that his name was Victor. I said his name was lovely too. Victor liked to talk and told me that his name meant that he is a winner. I smiled and told him that he looks like a winner and I moved on.

This story comes from names.


What's in a Name

Five-year-old, Sapna came home from a birthday party one day and plunked down on a sofa in their living room. She opened the goody bag she had received at the party and then tossed it at the other end of the sofa.

Her nine-year-old brother, Sagar said, "Hey, sis, how was the party? Did you bring me some goodies too?"

Sapna picked up the bag, held it closer to her heart and said, "You weren't invited, it was for my friend's birthday." 

"That's cool, that's cool. May I have at least one candy from your bag?"

Sapna tossed the whole bag at Sagar, "Here, I don't really want any candy from the bag."

Sagar picked out a chocolate from the bag and peeled its wrapper. He popped the chocolate in his mouth and murmured, "Hmm...tasty. Why don't you want any candy?"

A tear rolled down Sapna's cheek, "They told me that my name was pretty and asked me what it meant?"

"So? What's there to be so grumpy about that?"

Sapna shed a couple of more tears. She picked up a tissue from the side table, " I don't know what it means."

Sagar said, "Big deal, at least you know how to spell it."

"Everyone can spell their name in my class. That's not a big deal. Nisha said he name meant 'night' and Faith said her name meant 'belief' and then they asked me, and I didn't know."

"Your name means a 'dream'."

"And yours?"

"It means an 'ocean'."  

"Everyone's name has a meaning?"

Sagar shrugged, "I don't know. Sometimes people make up names. I remember one day Dr. Melwani had come to our house and she said that one of her patients named her daughter, "Melwana'!

Sapna laughed, "So it's okay if your name has no meaning?"

"Well, it still is your name and what it means is---you. I guess Melwana means delivered by Melwani!"

"That's not the same as a real meaning."

"True. That's how new words are added to the dictionary. Besides, you don't name yourself, your parents do. Sometimes your friends can change your name if you are too tall or short, or smart or silly. You might hate it, and then the friends will use it even more, to make you mad."

"Bhaiya, I like my name, Sapna,  and I also like its meaning, a dream."

Sagar said, "I remember a story from Mom's class. She always called boys with a mister in front of it and girls with a miss. I would be Mister Sagar and you would be Miss Sapna."

"That's the story?"

"Sapna, learn to wait, be patient. Back to mom's class, once on the first day in her class, she welcomed a boy by saying, 'Good morning, Mister Michael.' The boy said, 'My name is Michael, not Mister Michael'. Mom smiled and said, 'I like your name, Michael, but in the class I'll have to call you Mr. Michael so that I remember it's you and no one else.' The boy nodded and went on to sit with the other children."

"That is a funny story. I know I am Miss Sapna."

"That's cool, that's cool. If you are from the south, the girls have two names, you would be Sapna Sargam (sargam = sir-gum, symphony). They have Lisa Marie, Dolores Rose or something like that and then people would call you by saying both your names together."

"Hey, Bhaiya, I'd like to be called Sapna Sargam."

"Okay, you can do that when you are eighteen, and that's the law. Just now you are Miss Sapna."

"Hmm...and I'll stay Sapna, I like it because it's my name."

Sagar gave a high five to Sapna.

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