Friday, June 1, 2012

Supriya Pari Prakash: Or why we decided to give a middle name to our daughter.

It is only your spare name, darling!
I always thought that middle names were silly. They added unnecessary length to the name. They served no real purpose in modern life where our efforts and not our pedigree took us forward. And they sounded pompous. 

In fact, I earned my middle name quite by accident. My 10th grade teacher took it upon herself to tack my Dad’s middle name to mine before sending off the list to the High School Board. My high school degree arrived in the name of Chetna Rao Mahadik instead of a simple Chetna Mahadik. Having insidiously imprinted itself on this critical document of my life, the “Rao” then made its way to all my subsequent degrees, bank accounts and passports. 
Seventeen years on, I am still trying to get rid of it. 
Which is why, when Sid and I started thinking of names for our daughter, a middle name had no place in my plans. 
It was a chance discussion with friends that first got me thinking that middle names made little sense for my generation, but could be critical for my daughters’. 
You see, my daughter belongs to a generation whose life and actions will be imprinted all over the internet. From this blog, to her blogs and whatever other social media that takes over Facebook and twitter: her life, photos, opinions and actions will be played out in public. And with that public life will come the very possible risk of public embarassment. 
I think a lot of my child’s peers will look back at their teenage years and wish that they could somehow distance themselves from those internet words, images and personality attached to their names. And since they'll be unable to change the internet, many of them will change their names instead. 
And frightening as it seems, my daughter could be one of those wanting a new name. 
Taking this possibility into consideration, suddenly a middle name sounded not pompous but practical. It acts as spare name, waiting in reserve if someone found their first name too internet-tainted. If Supriya had an official middle name, a name change would not involve crazy and painful paperwork. It would simply mean dropping her first name, and adopting her middle name for most public purposes. 
So it is that a tiny, innocuous “Pari” made it between the Supriya and Prakash of my daughter’s name. 
And I sincerely hope that she never finds any use for it. 


Anonymous said...

That's really sweet, Chetna, even though you do realise you've now internet-tainted Pari as well with this post. =D

(It's Jana. Too lazy to sign in etc.)

globalbabble said...

Hi there,

Hmmm... maybe we should add a secret third name to the middle name;-)