Saturday, May 06, 2006

Chp 66. Mizo names

Me was just talking to my gurl a few hours ago. Just a couple of casual conversations, the usual lovers’ chitchat Suddenly we shifted to what names we should give to our children incase things work out fine between us (fingers crossed). She wanted to give an English Christian name along with the mizo name. I was like, comon I don’t have an English name and see how fine I’m doing. Everybody just loves to call me “Kima”. But she really wanted to have a Biblical name as a part of our kid’s name so I gave in. But I did try to discourage her by suggesting strange Biblical names like Nebuchadnazzar, Herod, Abishalom, Melchizedek, Baalathbeer etc but she saw right through what I was trying to do and so I stopped (Gawd I just love her soooo much).


But there was one thing we both agreed to. We are NEVER going to name our children with the mizo word “faka” and “dika” in it. No way are we going to have a “Lalfakawma” or “Zofakzuala” or “Lalrindika”. In Mizo, they sound very decent indeed, but not in english!

Any Mizo with a “fak” or “dik” in his name immediately becomes the butt of all jokes when he or she mingles with his/her non-mizo friends. Imagine someone named “Faka”. You would love to make fun of that wouldn’t you? And this aint the worst part. In Mizo, we add a prefix “ma” to call someone more lovingly. Like, people dear to me sometimes call me Ma-kima. Can you even imagine the riot it will cause when your Mizo friend is named Mafaka????

Apart from a “fak” or a “dik”, I guess any Mizo name is alright. Ofcourse there are always exceptions. Like my friend Jimmy. His full name is Jimmy Zochhuanawma Ralte. He was in the basketball team and recently we won a tournament. So there was this prize distribution ceremony during the School Assembly. Since his name was pretty long, it was cut short. The MC announcing the names, removed the last part of his name “anawma”. Hence it became “Jimmy Zochhu”!!!! Imagine someone saying that out loud infront of the whole school on the microphone! We Mizos couldn’t stop laughing the moment it was announced! Because in my language, Zochhu actually means “a Mizo female genitalia”!

For most Mizos who have a Christian English name before their Mizo name like Michael, John, Stephen, Mary, Esther etc life is much more easier for them than other Mizos who just have plain Mizo names. For example, they never get to hear “Huh? Come again?” when they say out their name. Nor do they have to deal with sly snickers from the person you’ve just told your name. And then ofcourse there are the other breed of Mizos who have English names, but nothing related to the Bible, like Osbourne, Stacy, Tracy, Emily, Jimmy, Robert, Jenny etc. Nice names I agree. But I just can’t help it, because whenever I come across such people, images of my favorite standup comedian Russel Peters immediately appears in my head. He pointed at a Chinese guy who had just introduced himself as Steve and sarcastically said, you’re right, that’s a Steve right there!

There was even a time when I actually thought of taking a legal action against the Government. If you have noticed, in most forms, like application to College, entrance exams, job applications, registration forms etc there is always a compulsory First name, Middle name and Last name field. Now Most of us Mizos don’t have such names. A Mizo with an English name would use his English part as the First name, his Mizo name as the Middle name, and his tribe name as the Last name. But people like us with no English name are left dumbstruck. So, what I used to do was, use “Vanlal” as my first name and “Ruatkima” as my middle name, even though Vanlalruatkima is one single name. No harm done yet. But slowly, the tables turned. As it was considered the proper etiquette to formally address a person by his middle/last name first followed by his first name, my name soon became “Ruatkima Vanlal” which made absolutely no sense (Its like changing "Subramanium" to "Nium brama Su" or "Amitabh" to a "Tabh Ami"). All my sports and educational certificates were soon awarded to a Mr. Ruat Kima Vanlal. Lucky guy. Hence I really felt it was kinda discriminatory to have a compulsory First, Middle and Last name field on such important Forms.

Anyway, I guess the bottom line is, it’s really important to consider various other languages first before naming your child. Look at me for example. I don’t wanna be asked “Do you know that kheema actually means mince meat?” for the rest of my life!

- Kima.

21 comments:

Dexter said...

name your kid Zulu! :) that way he/she will always be the last roll number in class :) :) :)

Tluanga said...

hahahaha!!!! I had a friend called Mafaka in School - Kotagiri. All the vais love to make fun of him. For a mizo outside Zo-land, mafaka is a very very very sad name!

claytonia vices said...

Hmm.. my parents did not follow the convention when naming me and I too face a lot of difficulty filling up forms... but fortunately I did not have to tear apart my name... :-)

Allen said...

Planning your chilrens' names now eh? :p :p

benjamin rualthanzauva said...

You can name your boy Ben :-) I also really hate this first name, middle name.....

Here's my protest against PC Quest subscription form

http://shunya.in/article/permalink?article=173

Here in TN, they expect everyone to have initial which really is irritating.

benjamin rualthanzauva said...

One more thing. (This is an) Excuse to talk about your girl in a blog :-P

No Hidden Depths said...

Suddenly we shifted to what names we should give to our children
Wainchh! ;)

virgochhas said...

so itz vanlalruatkima :)

btw..a understand dat “Do you know that kheema actually means mince meat?” ... i hate it wen ppl say things like "do u know dat rummy is a card game...do u know how to play dat game..." sala

Faka! said...

Kheema kheema kheema intih ai chuan Fak-a Fak-a Fak-a intih a nuam lo fe zawk. Your lucky kheema is only something people eat. People calla me "Fucker" every day. Mahse mafaka em em chu ka ni lo hlauh mai!

Very well writtne. I shd visit your blog more often.

- Fakawma.

Dee Dee said...

Brother Dear,
Stop this soppy time-pass activity for a few days and CONCENTRATE on your upcoming exams.
Regarding the name issue- Call a rose by any name and it still smells as sweet....
Now HIT THOSE BOOKS n ALL THE BEST!

Almost Unreal said...

Very interesting. I am quite thankful that I dont' have an English name :) Make me unique :D.

Yes, I do have to repeat my name but I am not bothered with that.

Here in the office, my TL, my trainer,etc, used to held a competition such as "Whoever is able to spell out her name wins a chocolate" :D

illusionaire said...

Sorry guys, have been thru a lot lately... hence was away from teh blogging world... will explain later...

@ Dexter: hehe... being the last name in the attendance register rox! especially during english or comm skill classes where everyone have to make a speech infront of the whole class attendance wise. :) or when the teacher suddenly starts asking questions... my name starts with a "V" and that has saved my ass more than once :-)

illusionaire said...

@ tluanga: hehe I sure dont wanna be a ma-faka :-)

@ Fakawma: No offence intended dude :-D

Thanx guys for visiting my blog.

illusionaire said...

@ virgochhas: Yay, so you finally know my fullname. Congrats :-P By the way, I had a fren called Ramya back in college and people used to call her Rummy n stuff like, "Have some rum, ya." :-)

illusionaire said...

@ claytonia: Yeah I know what you mean bro. Lucky you your name is still intact :-) You wouldnt like it if someone suddenly calls you "Tanya Chai Vikas" would you? :-D

illusionaire said...

@ Deedee: I update my blog like once in 2 weeks. Comon gimme a break...

illusionaire said...

@ Almost unreal: LoLx!!!!!

Do read one of my previous post British Petroleum Part One where I wrote about how my name doesnt fit at all in the Corporate World. You might like it... :-)

illusionaire said...

@ Allen, Benjamin, No Hidden Depths:

My girl and I arent together anymore, she broke up with me a couple of days ago... yeah I know it brings back such a strange feeling of nostalgia, sweet and sorrowful at the same time, when I read this last post of mine when I was so happy.... and the next instance, I am the most miserable being on earth, vowing never to fall in love again, hating everything around me...

wud appreciate it if you dont mention abt her for sometime.... sorry...

Almost Unreal said...

Gone through your BP experience..its hillarious lolzzz.

Anyway, got your point, I guess :D Anyway, let me say that Andy used to joke with my name and used to call me 'swami..swamiji', lolzzz. I know its a bit tough for them to pronounce our name properly

ggop said...

Kima,
Great post. Talking about kids names - my Vietnamese colleague's name is Phuc.
But very few people know how to say it right - "Phook". No marks for guessing how it got botched up.
gayatri

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