I wanted to write this post when I had the time to introduce the topic organically. However, it has
come to my intention through the most upsetting of ways, that I have to talk about this now.
Long, long ago, when I was still only dreaming of travel, I planned to travel Asia using a code
name. My traveller’s name would be Kai. It’s a beautiful name… And the idea behind it, was to
protect my identity as much as possible while travelling. There’s nothing wrong with people
knowing my real name, and I’m not ashamed of my name. I love my name! My father chose my
name well, when naming me.
Fast forward to these last few premarriage months.
After DN’s family accepted us and begin to plan our marriage, it came to my attention that many
family members could not pronounce my name. It didn’t bother me. I actually thought it was cute
when people pronounced my name as “Krishtel”. And for the record, my family completely
butchered DN’s name. In fact, for a long time, I had been pronouncing it wrong myself. Eventually
I provided my family with DN’s nickname, to relieve the pressure to say it right and the
embarrassment when they didn’t.
As our wedding approached, I came to DN and said, “I was thinking about picking an Indian
name, so your family won’t struggle in pronouncing my name.” He said, “I was thinking the same
thing. If you think of a name, let me know.”
And so, I searched through name indexes every night. It became frustrating, and nothing seemed
right. I couldn’t pick a name too different than mine. I told DN I wanted it to start with the same
“Cr” sound, but I couldn’t find anything that felt right.
One day, DN sent me a message to let me know that his sister had thought of a name. He told me
it meant “creation” and everything seemed to stop. It seemed like a sign from God, as I named my
year (a tradition I do every New Year) “2015: The Year of Creation”. I asked him to tell me the
name, and when he did, it sounded like music to my ears. It was meant to be!
In some parts of India, the grooms family “renames” the bride. She receives a new first and last
name. In some cases, she inherits the first name of her husband as her name.
DN’s family does not participate in this tradition. No bride is made to change her name; they don’t
believe in that.
So what does it mean to have an Indian name? It means that those family members who cannot
pronounce my name, call me by my Indian name. I love it. It’s like an affectionate nickname.
So let’s be real: DN loves my name, he would never ask me to change it.
My legal name remains the same I haven’t even legally changed my last name yet!
And let’s be clear: I will never change my first name but there is nothing wrong in having an
Indian name. 😉