Names And Nicknames Or Even AKAs.

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, PadmumRaju, 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.

17 thoughts on “Names And Nicknames Or Even AKAs.”

  1. Ours tend to be regional – for example in Hawaii nonn family adults tend to be called aunties and uncles. Some- like one of my nicknames Bubba generally suggest soutj\hern roots.

  2. Ramana, as you will see on my blog, my name itself, although not rare is not at all common in America. I listed a regional version of my name and modifications of my name which was the most relevant for me.

    Then I just went through a bunch of nicknames I’ve had attached to me, but I forgot to include The Old Fossil!
    Conrad recently posted..Names and Nicknames

  3. Oddly enough, I’ve virtually never had a nickname. I’ve always been Nick to just about everybody. Well, you can hardly shorten what’s already a very short name. But my maternal granny used to call me “Little Nickers”.

  4. I’ve had a few nicknames -Mare (my mother), MEO, long story from friends, Maymo from Niece, Mumsie from daughters, G-ma from Grandgirl.

    I also invent nicknames for those I love.

    The abolition of auntie and uncle by my tribe (Irish) still hurts my heart. I love being an aunt.

    1. WWW, the aunt and uncle bit is an age thing as their nieces and nephews get older. Recently two of my aunts have asked me not to call them Aunt (insert name) anymore. Just by their name. Obviously I oblige but in my mind they’ll always be, well, my aunts.


    2. It is as yet an unsolved mystery to me as to why in the West the tradition of calling elder relatives as uncles and aunts has been replaced by first name calling. I insist that my British nephews call me by our traditional address of elder father and at least outwardly, they seem to have accepted it.

  5. one of my friends has a nick name for our current president.
    he calls him Cheetolini.
    do you have Cheetos in India? they’re orange. (like the president’s fake tan I presume.) and they leave traces of orange on your fingers when you eat them. they’re a no-nutrition junk food sold here in small packages.
    and the lini part comes from Mussolini.

  6. When I was a child I was often addressed as “Young John” by some of our neighbours and friends of my father. My father was known as “Jack” and people assumed that it was his ‘nickname’ and that his first name was John. His name appears as “John” on various legal and other documents including my birth certificate and marriage certificate; but, on his birth certificate, of 1901, it clearly says “Jack”. I can’t find a copy of my parents’ marriage certificate. The question is … If it says “John” .. What does that make me ? .. 🙁

    1. Were you not Big John when you were a small boy? In my school days, when we had two boys with the same name, which was often, we would distinguish one from the other by calling one with the prefix Big and the other with Little.

  7. That’s interesting about the different relative nicknames depending on whether it’s on the maternal or paternal side. There are lots of regional variations on grandparents names in the US. In my neck of the wood it’s Mamaw and Papaw (which I don’t like at ALL). My own grandparents were Gangeen and Granddaddy on my mother’s side and Grandma and Grandpa on the stepfather’s side, and I had a Granddad on my father’s side.

    As for kid nicknames, we were rarely called by our given names and I also have a strong of nicknames I use for my own kids.

  8. I had not used my proper name for more or less 50 years, commonly known as Cathy. Then a sudden whimsy and I changed back to Catherine. Many people in my craft world still call me Cathy, but just as many others have taken great pains to say Catherine…

    What is interesting is that when someone in the craft world forgets and uses Cathy, they get really narky when I pull them up. One lady recently on a zoom meeting insisted I couldn’t change it… I said “that’s interesting E, so why then don’t use the surname I came to the group with in the 1980s and changed to the surname I have now since the 1990s, which you use” … she humpfed and then refused to speak to me.
    Catherine de Seton recently posted..What’s in the Zone

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