Many people have elaborate back stories to their names, as an ongoing conversation on Twitter shows. It all started last week with users of the social media platform sharing stories of how they got their names – some unique, some not quite so.
One of the first tweets on the subject to gain traction was by Jane Voss.
In her tweet, Voss included someone else’s tweet. And a week later, the “How I Got My Name” chain was a trend all over the world.
Turns out that Indians, too, have colourful tales to tell about their names. For instance, Bhagirathy’s father Samudram (which means ocean) thought it would be a good idea to name his children after rivers.
The conversation thread also shows that Indians have a propensity to name their children after gods, or to use religious references. Sharanya was named so after a verse that contained the word in the Hindu religious text Devi Mahatmya. Shibesh was named after the Hindu god Shiva by his mother just to appease his grandmother.
One of the most popular tweets in the chain is by Pakistani user Bisma, so named because together with her brothers, their names form the Arabic phrase that means “in the name of Allah, the most gracious, the most merciful”.
Some users shared more innocuous stories – such as parents wanting to avoid stereotypical names or giving their children the most common names available because they did not know any better.
And sometimes, the name one is given morphs into strange versions over time.
Others had hefty stories to tell. Meghnad was named after the astrophysicist Meghnad Saha while Krish Ashok thought he was named after a great king but later found that his parents had rather more mundane thoughts.
But, perhaps, the story that is easiest to relate to for most people is that of Abby Kiefer, who just kept it real: