Thursday, January 20, 2011

What's in a name? Apparantly a lot!

When William Shakespeare wrote "What's in a name? that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.", he was WRONG!

Apparantly there is a LOT in the name... I mean, if names didn't mean anything, why don't we see more Duryodhanas, Prans (top Bollywood villain of his time), Hitlers, Voldemorts etc. around?

As parents, when we try to choose the perfect name for our child, we give them names which will express their character. And then we hope for the name to start influencing the child's personality.

That is exactly what hubby and I hoped when we named our kids Reya and Rithik...

Naming Reya (2004) 
After going through a million names, I fell in love with "Rea". I played with how it sounded and came up with Rea and Reya (Ray-ya, nor Riya or Rhea)! Then off I went researching the meaning of the names because hey, I didn't want to name my child after a serial killer or a pet food company.

It turned out that Rea meant "Man, warrior; manly" in Greek and Reya, whereas Reya in Hindu Or Sanskrit means "Wealth, Fortune, Dhan or Lakshmi" and Reya in Spanish means "Queen"

"It's settled then", I declared. I do not want my daughter to grow up to be a man. I want my daughter to grow up to be a Queen...  better yet, a rich queen!

Naming Rithik (2008) 
Fast forward 4 years... We were expecting our second one. Hubby takes the naming matters in his hands because he is tired of people calling Reya as "Riya", and he wants something "normal" for the second one. Enter "Rithik (Stream)" and "Rithwik (Saint)". Hmm... Rithwik!... we could really use a calm saint-like person in our crazy household.

Both my MIL and I preferred Rithwik, which promtped the following
Hubby: "OK! Rithik it is..."
MIL and me: Why did you ask for a preference if you were not going to consider it...
Hubby: I wanted to check your preference to decide what not to choose!

Well, it's only fair. I named Reya, so he should get to name the second one. And a stream doesn't sound bad... it could actually be calming too.

How did the names work out for us.
Well, we got what we wished for... only we did not know realize exactly what we were wishing for...

When I envisioned Reya as a Queen, I saw her as an elegant, Lady-like, sophisticated, regal, royal. Something like this...

What we got was something like this.

Reya is a Queen allright!
  • She was born the same day as Queen Elizabeth
  • Has servents (mom and dad) to cater to her needs and wishes
  • Sits on her high horse and does not want to mix with the commoners
  • Enjoys an entourage
  • Always ready for a war (especially with me, the Queen Mother)
  • A very fair person who has a strong sense of right and wrong
  • Does not bauckle down under pressure
  • Leadership abilities (especially at mischief)
  • Holds her ground in negotiations and debate (again mostly with Queen Mother)

When I envisioned Rithik as a Stream, I saw him as happy go lucky, calm, pleasant. Something like this...

What I got was something like this...

Rithik is a stream allright!
  • He mood falls up and down, goes right and left like a stream. Sometimes he is the most adorable kid around and sometimes he has the worst tantrums.
  • He is forceful, especially when he is angry like a waterfall. My jaw is still hurting from the impact of him running and jumping over me last night.
  • He has a calming effect. No matter how stressed out I am, I get all happy when he smiles at me or says "I love you"
  • Like a stream, he figures out his path (path to get candy, chocolate milk or the puzzle from the upper shelf)
But in a nutshell, both Reya and Rithik are forces to be reckoned with...

In the end, if you are expecting a baby and are looking for a perfect name, make sure you understand the full meaning of that name and decide what you wish for your child...

Although... Be careful what you wish for... you just might get it!
Signing off,
PS: Share your baby naming story or favorite baby names.... your comments mean a lot to me!


  1. nice one Shilpa
    I didn't have to think too hard imagining the kids... sply Reya (aka Jhansi ki Rani)!!!!

  2. Nice one shilpa... very very thoughtful!
    We had a very difficult time choosing the name. we had a list with us but it was never like this is the 'one'. So from our list we picked up one of it and we almost named our son Ronit, on the day he was born but something did not sound right. We did not really go on for looking for the meaning of the name because we really did not find the meaning of it. But something did not fit well with Ronit.
    So on the day, just before leaving the hospital we were supposed to give the final name... and we went with 'Tanay'. And glad we did :)
    Tanay means Son.

  3. always love reading your blogs and am always waiting for the next post :) Avanti

  4. @Shree.. you don't have to imagine Reya at all. You see her almost everyday
    @Asmita, you are absolutely right, when you find the right name, it just clicks... it feels right.
    @Avanti - Thank you for such sweet comments.

  5. Wow!!! I enjoy reading your blogs. Keep writing the stories. I will pass this to my co-brother who are trying to finalizing the names for their second baby.

    -- Venkat

  6. Nice one Shilpa. I love reading your blogs. Yes choosing name is fun. We chose

    Dhanush (2003) - Means bow ( as in bow & arrow) thinking it will go with his Dad's name "Ram". Wanted the son and dad to be together till the very end. Also he was born on Lord Sri ram's birth start "Punarvasu". but people say he will suffer for 14 years. I wish that shd not happen to him. Let god be in his side :)

    Harshidh(2008) - Means happy . Well Dhanush came up with this name when I was 3 month pregnant. We didn't get time to choose cos he was a preemie we ddecided waht dhanush chose. But we are happy we did it. My little one is always jumping of joy with sooooo much energy and make all of us happy every minute. He passes his energy to all of us and it keeps us going.

    We are happy we chose the right names for our boys . What they are going to grow up as? its a different story :)

  7. Nice one Shilpa.. I like your way of explaining in such a funny manner

  8. 'Reina' is queen in Spanish. Reya is a beautiful name though.

  9. Hi,

    I just came across your blog and want to share that my daughters name is Reya as well. She was born in 2006 and my boys name is Neil born in 2011. I wanted Indo American names for my kids. After naming my girl, i found out the reyna means queen in spanish but was glad about the sanskrit meaning. Most names are tweeked anyway. I fell in love with the name Reya the first time i heard it. Its funny that my girl is also a jhansi ki rani types.

  10. hi, we named our daughter Raeya and she is only 4 months now but already showing 'I'm the boss' signs!
    Based on the Hindu and Sanskrit texts it means Goddess of abundance, also called Lakshmi, but we were also happy that it means Companion in Hebrew and in Arabic it means "one whose thirst is quenched"... Nice to see your research and learn more about my daughter's name and prospective future temperament! lol.

    1. I so wish I knew if you'd rcv this... very uncanny, my daughter, Reyah, born 11/6/13 (3 days before your post) was named with the same intent but we were stumped on the spelling for pronounciation of Ra-yah and in the end agreed to what we chose. Since then I've been corrected on her pronounciation countless times and have learned her spelling correlates with the Quaran which missed the mark of the Tamil / Sanskrit & Hewbrew meaning we strived for. It does not set well with me and I want to change the spelling to stop the well intended insults and confusion but husband won't agree. Our daughter is a strong willed fairly aggressive nearly 3 yr old. I'd like to know how your daughters name is said and something of her temperament. Please email me if you rcv this at Thank you!
      Great piece, by the way!

    2. Hi Heather, Thank you for your comment. I will email you.

  11. I just stumbled upon this! I have a six month old daughter whom we named Reya, we get Rhea all the time but I I never liked how the other variations looked. I love how it means queen (my name means princess so I thought it worked perfectly) and she definitely has the attitude to go with the meaning!

    1. I am a Sara and named my daughter Reya thinking the same too! (princess/queen) so far it gets pronounced correctly but I am worried she will get "Ree- yah" in school. Have you had this problem or do most pronounce it correctly?