I’ve recently started referring to my son by his name Yaldurum on my Instagram blog, rather than the term #sonshine that I always used for him. The reason for using his name less on a public forum was not any secrecy but the FAQ of my life: What does it mean? How do you pronounce it? And the most dreaded: Why did you name him this?
I do have an answer to those questions. The WHATs and HOWs, but what do we reply to the WHY? Isn’t it obvious we like unique names? Like some parents like common names, Islamic names, short names, long names. And that first decision we all make as parents where all of us have differences preferences teach us that there’s never a right or wrong to parenting and we are all unique, so is our child and our decisions.
The struggle is real – but I beg to differ.
Frankly struggle of doing something different from what your ancestors did still remains a struggle in desi families. Every new decision you make is followed by “humare zamanay main” or “aaj kal ke bachay”. We respect that, but as the millennial parents we also have exposure to more new information from around the world, so why not put that to good use? Exactly why decided to look outside the common names in our culture/country/religion when we were expecting our son!
So I thought I’d finally do a post on his name now that I get asked about it so often, and re-share it everyone new to my blog asks me the question again! New-age parenting; save time, save the energy for your child to suck out of you later.
But before that, here’s a little guide for what NOT to say to parents of kids with unique names:
What not to say
- Itna mushkil naam kyun rakha (why such a difficult name?)
Easy perhaps is only a name we are familiar to. And children being raised in multi-cultural countries come across various names from various countries and religions that they all eventually learn, making the familiarity with a name irrelevant. If someone can learn name of a Swedish kid, they can surely learn the name of my kid.
- Hum ne toh kabhi nahi suna. (We have never heard it!)
So how about aap niklain apne bubble se, parhain kitaabain! There is always a first time guys. A first time to a new place, a new name and a new information we all expose ourselves to – it’s a matter of stepping out of your zone.
- Islami naam rakh lete. Humare zamanay mein wohi rakhte thay! (You could have chosen a religious name like we did in our times!)
Funnily we think the older generation had super long names, and then came our generation when everyone had mini names (and a limited pool of options because we all had someone to share our names with in our classes right?) and then there is our generation, trying out the NEWs. New places, new names, new hobbies, new inventions.
- Musalmaan naam hai? (Is it even a Muslim name?)
What even? but to answer it for myself, yes! Most Turkish are Muslims.
- Kese bolayga yeh apna naam? (How will he say his name?)
Just like baby Alexanders and baby Sikanders did? So funny when this question comes from Aunty Ruqqaiyya. But seriously, we all grow up and we’ve all been kids.
So Yaldurum was named by his dad. I like small names but I also like unique names so I agreed! The name is pronounced as yal-da-ramm. It’s a Turkish name written as Yildirim (but pronounced the same) in Turkey because their I is pronounced as A. It literally means a thunderbolt (if you google!) but was in fact a title given to a Sultan for his speed (speedy achievements). The name is pretty common in Turkey and we live in a multi-cultural country so works well for us! And han ji, musalmaan naam hai!
So while the cons of a UNIQUE name are all the questions I listen above, here are some pros:
- It’s a conversation starter.
Most people we meet always ask us what it means. We like that question, really. It only gets awkward when some of them make rather ‘startled’ faces. I mean I don’t mean to brag but I love it when other parents have unique stories to tell, we really like to listen.
- Finding your name somewhere makes it extra special.
You may find it on a Rs.2 bubble (bubble-your-name) but the only other Yaldurum I currently know is the current Turkish Prime minister. Funnily his name is BinAli Yildirim and our son’s name is Yaldurum Bin Ali. haha. Sweet coincidence because he was only appointed months after our son was born.
- You’re rememberable.
Imagine the first 5 minutes in an interview. Your name should be enough to make them get all attentive, then all you have to do is prove your worthiness.
- Ease of finding a username and e-mail address.
No need to put a wrestler’s name in the end. or your date of birth. or your favorite adjective.
- You know your parents were thoughtful.
They surely were creative as well and really spent some time making their first decision regarding you a memorable one.
So while I am a Maha and my husband is an Ali (most common ever!) we do appreciate common names as well, but for our son, we had some other plans. Those who appreciate really make me happy and those who don’t got me to write a blog. So either ways, shukria/thank you!
Leave a comment if you know a unique name person, or if you are one, or simply because you appreciate it.
Feel free to share the post if you too would like to let others know how having a unique name is actually cool!
Maha – Yaldurum’s mama.
(More such conversations on my Instagram www.instagram.com/mahara.m – come join in the conversation)