meaning, hero, a soldier of the Hindu epic "Mahabharata"
Being in an ethnic mixed marriage has quite a lot of differences but the one I didn't anticipate having a problem with would be naming my children. I didn't think it would be so difficult. I still don't speak Hindi or Bengali. That itself poses a small barrier to the in-laws and some Indian friends. I do plan on learning as my children do. Well, when I found out I was pregnant, I naturally assumed my baby would have my husband's last name.
I, on the other hand, chose not to change my name for professional reasons as well as personal. To me, your name is the only thing you can take with you when you pass on from this life. It is something my parents gave me, and I could never get used to another last name, especially the very long surname my husband must spell out to others on a daily basis. That said, my unborn child's name would just have to be simple and easy to pronounce. I also thought giving a Bengali name would compliment his/her ancestral history.
I went through numerous web sites where I found some names I could be comfortable with. But as the weeks went on and the little baby in my womb would kick and move, I wasn't too keen on the names I had earlier researched. First off, I forgot about my own heritage and secondly, my husband thought they were too common or too uncommon. OK, back to the drawing board. I borrowed a good book from my sister and went through it for months. My husband insisted that the baby's name must be Indian! I told him that he/she would have his last name and that's Indian enough - it doesn't HAVE to be Indian. In India, the grandparents usually suggest names for the child. We would choose the name, but I wanted to make sure it complimented both of our backgrounds.
My family and my in-laws continued to suggest names - mostly too wordy and outdated as my husband would say. I finally resolved to looking at the Hindi names in my sister's book and tried to find the ones that sounded English as well as Indian. I came up with a few. For a boy, I found Damian, Jay, Neel, Hans and for a girl I found Uma, Maya, Trisha, and Trina. We never could decide on a boy's name. So, we finally decided that our little bundle of joy would be named Trina if a girl. Trina is pronounced "Trino" loosely in Bengali. It means "grass", a reference to the sacred Kusa grass. We thought that would be nice. Our daughter's name would be symbolic of the basic nature of things; grassroots. She won't forget who she is or where she came from. It also served to be a reminder of her German background as well. Katrina is a version of Katherine, Greek, "katharos" which means pure. And she was, pure from God. So from that, I added Lynne as a middle name. My mother and myself share the same middle name and I wanted my daughter to have it too. So, it was 'Trina Lynne". We got a few, funny looks from family but we didn't care. That was going to be her name.
Come March 26, 2000 my water broke. We were convinced we were having a little girl and didn't even bother to pick a boy's name out. I joked as we were leaving for the hospital, "Well if we do have a boy, we'll name him Oscar". That night was the night of the Academy Awards, something I haven't missed in years. I survived the labor, and 3 hours of pushing, and in the early morning hours of March 27, my little baby finally greeted us. My husband anxiously waited for the rest of her body to come out . . . OOPS! My husband exclaims excitedly, "IT'S A BOY!" And into our life came our son.
Naming him was the last thing on my mind at the time. I just wanted to hold him and recover from the birth. My husband called his parents in India and they suggested names again. I didn't like any of them. I was so confused. What are we going to name this precious boy??? A day passed and he still didn't have a name but throughout that day, I kept wanting to call him "Arjun." I didn't even know what it meant or where I had heard it from. I certainly didn't know any Arjun's. Every time I looked at his beautiful face, the name "Arjun" was on my lips.
The second day, my husband called me at the hospital before he came and I asked him, "What are we going to name him?" He says, "I've always loved the name 'Arjun'. I couldn't believe it! Arjun was his favorite name he says. Arjun is a hero, a soldier of the Hindu epic "Mahabharata". He then asked me who my hero was? I immediately thought of my grandmother who had died five years prior. She was an inspiration to me. I immediately said "My grandmother, Charlotte . . . Charles is the male version". So I said the name out loud over the phone to my husband, "Arjun Charles". And from then on, I knew that was going to be his name. The perfect name for my hero, my son.
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