My late father had very few regrets when he died and one of them was that contrary to his expectations, his children ended up with nicknames that on principle he detested. He insisted that he chose our names to be short so that they could be easily pronounced and would not need further shortening. Life dealt him what we call googlies or the Americans call curve balls and all four of us ended up with nick names.
Two of us are writing here today, yours truly with the given name of Ramana with nicknames of Rummu, Rummy, and Raman and for this blog, Rummuser. Since my surname is Rajgopaul, I also ended up in some places with Raj or Paul.
My sister Padmini, the other writer here, got called as Paddu, Paddy, Mini, Ari, Gudlu and finally for her blog, Padmum.
The other two too ended up with nicknames which were all galling to the dear departed.
All our children too ended up with short names but no surprises, got nicknames. My son Ranjan is called, Ranj, Ranji, Rimjim and may be more that I am not aware of. My daughter in love Manjiree is called Pinky in her home though she is anything but pink in complexion, Jeri and Manj. I call her Bahu which is Hindi for daughter in love.
Talking about children one of the interesting leftovers of our British colonial connection is the use of Baba for boy and Baby for girl children. The Sahebs of yore used to call their children Babies which was puzzling for the ayahs hired by them to care for the tots, who went by Indian traditions of calling boys with ah ending and for girls with ee endings. So the children became Babas and Babies. Our Anglicised youngsters are deprecatingly called Babalog and Babylog.
Be that as it may, nicknames are very common in Indian families and in some parts of our great nation they do not have any logical connection to the original. For instance my late wife was Urmeela but was called Tutu. Her elder sister Promeela got Tunu, her brothers Upendar, Surendar and Jitendar got Tullu, Jukki and Jiten. The last had atleast some connection but the others could never explain why they got their nicknames.
Apart from families and friends giving nicknames, the general public here takes great pleasure in giving nicknames to politicians and without going into details, some of them are really hilarious and very apt. Our sports stars and film stars too get such names and some of the latter, deliberately change their names to be acceptable or shall we say, convenient, Hindu names.
Our relationships are position specific and instead of uncles and aunts or grand mother and grand father, we have specific names for relatives from the maternal side and other ones for those on the paternal side. For instance for the former it would be Nani and Nana and for the latter Dhadhi and Dhadha. These names often get adopted by non relatives and some even become generic.
I eagerly look forward to what my co bloggers from the USA have to say on the subject to learn about their peculiarities. I just know that both of them have nicknames as do the the other Indian cobloggers, who I hope will elaborate in their posts this fascinating topic.
This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, Padmum, Raju, Shackman and Conrad. This week’s topic was suggested by Padmum. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.