My Indian Name

My Indian Name

My Indian Name

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. 😉

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." -- William Shakespeare -- Romeo & Juliet

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” — William Shakespeare — Romeo & Juliet


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