Say Your Name–Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?
My name is Ritika. It is a name in the Hindi language, my native language, and can be easily translated to English as well.
After my summer vacations in the 9th grade, while I was submitting the holidays’ project to my Sanskrit teacher, she noticed my name written in Hindi and told me the very spelling of it made it meaningless. No such word ever existed in the Hindi language. Language evolves, new words are added and more than 8 years since then, there is still no such word. What a meaningless name! I had always asked my parents the meaning of my name and they were ever clueless. I think they fancied this word.
Curiously, “Where did this word come from to your minds?”
“We don’t know; we were unaware!” The answer is in a flat tone.
“Who does that to their child? Meaningless name!” (Sarcastic, awestruck and shocked)
We have this conversation routinely. Isn’t it strange, in a society that believes, to a significant degree, in the impact one’s name can have on one’s life, a couple gave their child a meaningless name? I have read cases of successful Bollywood stars who changed their names and became successful. I know I am exaggerating a bit, but let’s just think!
My teacher then told me two words that resembled my name and had meanings. She gave me a choice- one meant going by traditions and set conventions, and the other one is related to the creation of the Vedas. I chose the latter; I found it better. I had a choice to choose my name, in English all the three were the same, my original name and the two new names; however, in Hindi, there was a sea change. Only a few days ago, I checked the meaning of my name on Google, given the storehouse of knowledge it is, an altogether different meaning appeared-‘Movement, flowing stream’. Even this meaning looked apt to me, I love changes in life, perhaps, change is the only constant in life. Any thing that refuses to change with time, meets its end. The old must pave way for the new.
Whole of this conversation with my teacher was a short 5-minute talk. I do not know if such things really have any impact on one’s life or not and neither do I rely on them, but it felt good after 13 years to have a meaningful name; it feels good even now. I do not leave things to destiny, but, somewhere I believe it’s still good to set the forces by your side. Only recently, I came across a post on speaking tree indicating how good my name in English ‘Ritika’ is for me! It sounds stupid, but I wouldn’t change it for anything else.