So, my folks arrived…

So, my folks arrived yesterday, but we didn't do anything exciting; everyone was feeling tired, so we just sat around and chatted, then sent them to their hotel for an early night. I'm up this early because we're heading over to hear my sister talk at 7:30 a.m. -- she's doing Grand Rounds at her hospital. I'm not entirely certain what this is, but I gather it's something of a big deal for her. So, we go hear medical-speak. It'll certainly be a different way to spend my early morning! :-)

We tried looking at Tamil baby names on this list, but my parents said most of those names would seem terribly old-fashioned (my mom actually said 'ancient') and that people would laugh if we chose them. Mockery seemed like a bad way to start things off for baby girl, so we're following their advice. We did add a name or two, and eliminate a few others, in the ongoing baby-name quest. The local baby shower is Sunday, so we'll probably ask folks for their votes there. If you'd like to weigh in, here's the current list (all of these have a soft 'a' sound, if you're trying to figure out how to pronounce them -- 'ah', not 'cat'):

  • Dharani (dhar'-a-ni) - daughter of the Earth (shortens to Dhara or Dara? too hard a spelling for Americans?)
  • Kasturi (kas-thur'-i) - fragrance / medicine (nice explanation of name in Hindu context)
  • Kaviarasi (kav-ya-ras'-i) - queen of poetry (shortens nicely to Kavya/Kavi)
  • Mayuri (my-u'-ri)- peacock (shortens to Maya)
  • Priyanka (pri-yan'-ka) - beautiful or lovable act (shortens to Priya)
  • Sarala (sa'-ra-la) - fluent (shortens to Sara -- maybe too American-sounding)
We've decided against Amara (immortal), even though it was clearly the people's choice last time around (by a wide margin); Kev and I both think it's pretty enough, but feels a bit generic and pan-ethnic. So feel free to use it for your own daughters, cats, fictional characters, etc. :-) Kumari (young girl / daughter) just got eliminated too; no one here really loves it. And I've taken Kavya off the table, just because I'd rather give her the longer form as her official name, even if we end up calling her 'Kavya' all the time. Gives her more options.

Once we decide, we're thinking we'll keep it a secret until she's actually here. Partly for good luck, partly so people don't try to talk us out of it (on the advice of Kevin's mom and others). It seems that people are less likely to say 'that's a terrible name' if there's an adorable baby already attached to it. :-)

11 thoughts on “So, my folks arrived…”

  1. Hi:

    Great names. All of them are really pretty. About Dharani being shortened to Dhara, that’s really interesting because it sort of changes the meaning.
    Dhara means “flow” as in the flow of a river. It could also mean the tributary of a river. On an associated note, I always thought if I would have a daughter I’d name her Dharti (earth) but realized that Americans might pronounce it as “dirty,” so I sadly abandoned that idea.
    I think Kavya is a nice name and of course, there is the associated name, Kavita, which means poem (but also poetry in some contexts). I think Kavya actually means poetry or the act of writing poetry.
    I also really like the name Naina (it means eyes but has a more aesthetic, not a clinical connotation). I actually named my dog Naina (she has one blue and one brown eye). I also like Sunaina which means beautiful eyes.
    Anyway, sorry for rambling 🙂 Just thought I’d share my reactions to the baby name discussions.

  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Comments and rambling are welcome, though I think at this point, we probably won’t add new names to the list. 🙂 Sunaina is really pretty, though. Kavita is a bit too common for us — I think I know three Kavita’s already… Interesting note about Dhara!

  3. They are all lovely!

    Just a warning though, Priya is one of the worlds most common girls names, I must know at least 20 (an meet 20 more when I move), and as lovely and Priyanka is, it will inadvertentely be changed to Priya.

  4. These are all lovely. My personal favorite is the first one for reasons I can’t articulate.

    I wouldn’t worry about whether or not Americans find spellings too difficult. I seem to have emerged relatively unscathed with mine, and you can never anticipate what Americans will find difficult. You could pick one you thought seemed easy and she could still have endless misspellings.

    I rather enjoy and collect my misspellings, actually. No one has had an aneurysm over it, yet.

  5. I like all of these names, too. We’re not being much help, are we?

    I agree with Haddayr about not worrying about the spelling. Or rather, I think there are plenty of names out there that are non-Western-sounding (or -spelling) enough that most Americans would find them impossibly difficult, but I wouldn’t put any of your list in that category — I’d put yours in the category of names some Americans will have some trouble spelling and/or pronouncing, but not everyone and not a lot of trouble. I would guess (with no evidence at all) that these are around the same level of spelling difficulty as, say, “Mohanraj,” or “Whyte.” 🙂

    And, of course, if she ever decides that she wants her name to be more Western, she can always change it. 🙂

    Agreed re “Amara” sounding pretty but a little bit generic and pan-ethnic.

  6. All sounds exciting, Mary Anne.
    A little ticklish but I wonder what secret thoughts this chat may have prompted within you during a solitary mother-to-be moment, after it was all over.
    Did it bring your baby closer, as if she was already in your arms? 🙂

  7. I really love Mayuri.

    BTW, family and friends hated my daughters name, which made me very gung ho about using it;) They all love it now, though.

  8. Any name can be mangled. My name has been consistently mispronounced and misspelled from birth. And sometimes, it is simply ignored in favor of other names which start with a hard “K” sound.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about this, as long as the name isn’t too long. Just make sure your daughter doesn’t think it’s necessarily an ethnic problem. Regular Western names get mangled too.

  9. I also like Mayuri; pretty sound, pretty meaning. I also like both Dharani and Sarala, but the challenge I see with them is that the emphasis is apparently on the first syllable. The American tendency is to put the emphasis on the middle syllable. So in that respect you’d probably have less ongoing pronunciation correction with Mayuri or Kasturi (although you might get May instead of My a lot). But if Kasturi really is supposed to have a theta from that t, that will probably be said wrong most of the time and could get annoying to explain repeatedly, too. Kaviarasi probably poses some ongoing correction (or putting-up-with) challenges, too, the simplest most likely being a tendency toward kav-ee-uh instead of kav-ya, let alone roz-ee vs. ross-ee. So you’ll have to try to gauge how much total mangling your nerves will be able to handle, and which types will make you twitch the least…. For Ellyra, I tried to anticipate the most common likely mangling, sent a phonetic spelling to everyone, and came up with an easy mnemonic to help people remember (“el-LEAR-uh, like ‘lyrical,’ Lyra for short…”; I think it’s helped).

  10. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Oof. Confusing! But on the other hand, I’ve been correcting the spelling of Mary Anne my entire life, and it just doesn’t bother me that much. And Kev is constantly having to spell ‘Whyte’. I think we’re mostly not going to worry about it.

    My family hates Kasturi, as it turns out. :-/ And while I like Mayuri, I think it’s always going to remind me of the movie (based on a true story) of the dancer who got her leg chopped off. And we don’t like ‘Sara’ as the short form of Sarala so much. Hmm…

    And Susan, re: your question — umm…I don’t think so, I’m afraid. 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *