This is my first post after a long while, and certainly my first after an event that has changed my life forever. Just past midnight, as the 29th day of March dawned, we were blessed with a baby daughter. Its been more than a month now, but am still getting used to life as a father now. In fact, with the baby still at her grandma's place with her mother, it will be a couple of weeks more before the reality fully sets in. And with so many of my friends never failing to remind me of sleepless nights and soggy beds, I cannot say that I was not warned.
But more than changing diapers and trying to pacify the new-born, there is another activity that I am currently running very scared of. I guess it would qualify as of one of our first duties as parents (after having actually given birth of course !!). And that is naming the new-born !! Unlike in the West, where you do not leave the maternity hospital without naming the infant, here our traditions give a full month and a quarter (before the naming-ceremony) to parents for discussing, debating, arguing, agonizing and even fighting over the name to be given to the child !!. And to make things all the more difficult, astrology limits you with a letter(s) by which the name ought to start. And the sheer enormity of the task is mind-boggling. Firstly of course, I am confronted with a fundamental dilemma: how can a person's name be decided by someone else, even if they are as close as parents ? Sometimes I feel there should be a easier provision in the law for a person to change his/her name on turning eighteen. Imagine being named Mahendra Singh just because you happened to come into this world on the 2nd of April 2011 around the time that six was hit ? Talking of naming after celebrities, I feel it also sometimes burdens them for life. On the other hand, there are names which, though beautiful to utter and hear, have unpleasant associations. For example, I really like the name Aarushi but the association with the Talwar case is so strong that I simply cannot seriously consider it. And then there is the danger that parents might choose a name that reflects their own aspirations and expectations from the new-born. Nothing wrong in that, but when it becomes obsessive behaviour on the part of the parents, it can turn out to be painful for the child while growing up.
Anyways, I have about a couple of days before time runs out and my little princess finally gets a name that she has to live with all her life. May God give me the strength to choose the right name for her !! The bard might have said 'Whats in a name ?' but I wonder how he would have named his own children !!