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January 28th, 2018

What’s in a name?

On a cold, grey, foggy Delhi morning, there was an absolutely delicious story in my Sunday papers that made me smile.

It’s the story of 7 brothers from the southern state of Odisha (aka Orissa) whose father, a village tailor, “had a fierce desire to travel the world, and when he realised that he had no chance of fulfilling his ambition due to his impoverished circumstances, he decided to name his children after countries and continents.”

Meet Prithviraj, America, Africa, Bharat, Japan, Russia and Asia Kumar.

Here, read their story:America sadly committed suicide in 2002, and the heart-broken father died 6 years later, but the other brothers soldier on, their names causing puzzlement, amusement and often problems.

Let Japan explain:
This is such a delightful story, especially if you haven’t had to live through the problems:

Japan would like to visit Japan, but he worries:

And family politics do not reflect the global reality, thank goodness 😛

If I could send Mr. Africa Kumar a message, it would be this: having lived in Africa, I can tell him he need not worry about his name.  Not at all.

Africa is the land of wonderful first names.  People are named after the day of the week or the month of the year they were born, so to meet a Tuesday or a Thursday or an August is not unusual.  My husband once got a traffic fine from a charming cop called Angle (“Because I was born in a corner, sir.”)

And our Zimbabwean maid had a son who was called “Trymore” because, as his redoubtable mother put it, “He really does need to try more at school, madam”.

Messrs Africa, Japan, Russia and Asia, I think your names are absolutely  brilliant.

(Thanks to the Hindustan Times for this lovely article)

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