11 Feb 2018

#339 The origin of my name

The origin of my name
Image result for star

Nomenclature is an important aspect of one’s identity. In fact, it’s something that we carry with ourselves apart from transient materialistic possessions. Primarily, we are identified from the crowd by the names which we have been given and then follow our actions or deeds. It is like the labels of our existence. In Indian culture which has emerged from a joint family system, it becomes an act of showering blessings from different relatives who come up with so many suggestions to display their love and affection for the newborns. Everyone has a story behind their names and I too have a story which I’m going to describe below.

As already mentioned in my earlier posts that I’ve been blessed to have come to this world with my twin sister. It is apparent that we must be having similar sounding names, to some extent it is correct. Initially it was decided by my family members to bestow with us the names of 3 lettered name(as per Hindi or Odiya) as Ankita and Arpita but later my paternal uncle ( whom I address as Kaka) chose Swati and Sweta to go well with the surname whose initial too begins with the letter ‘S’. Similarly, our nicknames were made to settle with ‘Miki’ and ‘Niki’. Interestingly, I being the elder one among the two, carry both the names (Swati and Miki) in higher order of alphabetical arrangement as per English dictionary than my sister. This is the trick that I mostly provide to others when they get confused with our names. Apart of these two names that primarily reflect our identities, there have been several derivatives of our nick names according to different family members as tokens of love and affection. This is the best thing about being in a joint family. The mere recollection of these names being addressed always brings a smile in my face and drives away all negativities.

It’s the most common practice to ask for the meaning of someone’s name during introduction and I have faced such questions. It was the first time in class 5th when I was enquired about the meaning of my name and all I know was that it was the name of a star in Indian Astrology. Swati, Nakshatra, star, forms one of the important member of the Nakshatra system in Indian Astrology which comprises of 27 stars representing sectors along ecliptic. Some of the general characteristics of someone having Swati Nakshatra are: sweet, soft spoken, virtuous, compassionate, mild, quiet natured, controller of passion and desires, skill in trade, merciful and charitable.

I was never convinced with the answer I had in my mind regarding the meaning of my name as I always thought it to be a reflection of some other name. Thanks to Google for the guidance in searching for the meaning of my name(Thanks to one of my contacts in Quora who inspired me to write something on it , this is how it came out to be); that’s what I found in one of the pages of Wikipedia; this name can be broken into ‘Su’+ ‘ati’ meaning ‘Great Goer’ or very beneficent. I wonder if the meaning of my name what puts the thought of be a philanthropist in my life! It was also name of one of the wives of lord Sun in Hindu epics. This name has one of its parts from the Goddess of knowledge and art, Saraswati.

Swati, seems to be the most common name, during my school and college days. I could find a bunch a girls sharing same name. When the name is same, the next thing that sets apart a person form the other having the same name is the surname.  My surname always seemed to be unique from the rest of my friends for having stayed away from my home state for several years.

Names give us identities that set us apart from others. Ever wondered when you share similar names and surname with someone else, what will be the criteria to decide the difference? The answer is our Karma; deeds.

Concluding this article with the following lines;
Am I the name that I carry
Or the deeds that I must worry?
Is this the appearance what defines me
Or I am a part of someone’s memory?
A question that baffles me always
Regarding my identity
Before retiring for the day
I keep questioning to myself
Who actually am I?

Swati Sarangi

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