Where Stalin Hugs Gorbachev

Lenin shook hands with Krushchev. Stalin hugged Gorbachev and Tereshkova patted Svetlana.
This is real; no time-machine was harmed in the process.

It was a meeting of Malayalees having Russian names arranged by the Russian Cultural Centre in Pathanamthitta, Kerala a few months back.

“The response to the assembly of people with Russian names has been quite encouraging. In all, 75 people registered and 43 turned up last time,” Russian Cultural Centre director Rathish C Nair told PTI. There were seven Lenins’, six Stalins and two Brezhnevs. The gathering also had two Gagarins, carrying the memory of Yuri Gagarin. Both were born in the same year when Yuri Gagarin journeyed to space.

“The communist influence is certainly the main reason for Russian names becoming popular in Kerala. Most of these names are associated with the Soviet era”

The eldest to turn up was 72-year-old Ivan, bearing the popular pre-Soviet name carrying the association with the Czar ‘Ivan the terrible.’ The youngest was 18-month-old Svetlana, brought to the stage by her mother. “Many of these names are actually surnames of famed Russians. A Keralaite ‘Lenin’ has no Vladimir as his first name, as in the case of founder of the Soviet Union. Stalin is without the prefix Joseph.

The obsession with Russian names is not limited to naming children. There are youth clubs called “Sputnik” and restaurants and bars called “Volga”. There were also cases of the communists nicknamed after the Soviet models. Link

I wonder how many Maria Sharapova’s they have.

And then the mystery of naming Malayali Christian children was revealed to me. It is truly fascinating. They follow few simple rules:

1. Select a combination of both the mother’s and father’s names. eg:
Suresh and Sharon = Susha, or Joseph and Beena = Jobi.

2. The addition of a ‘mon’ (meaning son) or ‘mol’ (meaning daughter)
is optional. eg: Sushamol, Jobimon

3. To attach a modern anglicised feel to the names, the mol or mon can
be replaced with boy or girl. eg: Jobiboy, Sushagirl.

4. For the politically correct Keralite family, mol and mon can be
replaced by the universal ‘kutty’(child), which can be used for both
boys and girls! eg: Jokutty, Susikutty

There is slightly more to it wrt. disambiguation:

However, in the scenario where the parents already have combination
names that cannot form more comprehensible child names. eg: Itty and
Amukutty, would produce only Itam (which doesn’t even sound like a
name), or Amit (which is like Northie and stuff!!!!), then:

a. Use an English word like Baby, Merry, Titty, Pearly, Smiley, Anarchy, etc.

b. Use a combination of two English names that you think sound cool
(but never cool enough) like Meredith + Gina = Megi, or Sharon +
Darlene = Sharlene

c. Use a name from the Bible (and not Nebuchadnezzar! Use one that
even Velliammachi can pronounce!) like Jacob, Sam, John, Joseph,
Mathew, or Jijo!

d. Use a name that sounds like a cuss word but isn’t. eg: Boben,
Prussy, Shagi, JustinTimberlake etc.

I wonder how it feels like to have Prussy auntie and Shagi uncle in family. Apparently it does happen as can be read from comments.


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