ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Naming Ceremony

‘Bel Patri’

Watching Shoojit Sircar’s October leaves this writer with questions about names, mothers and memories.

I had stepped out of the theatre after watching Shoojit Sircar’s astonishing and beautiful movie October, and could not stop thinking about it. Amongst the many elements of the story I kept returning to, I was struck by its protagonist’s name, Shiuli, the Bengali name for the night-blooming jasmine. The protagonist’s mother gives her daughter this name because of the daughter’s love for the ephemeral flowers that live and die in the month of October.

Even as I stepped into a cab and stared out of the window at the light drizzle that had been our companion for almost a week in Mumbai, I thought of the movie, the name, the significance of names, the reasons we choose names for one ­another, and the ways in which names bind us to the world. My own name, Smriti, is ironic. “Smriti” means memory, and if there is one thing I am terrible at, it is memorising. School was an ordeal for this reason; I failed just about all subjects. Yet, my name, a word my mother found difficult to pronounce—she called me “Ismirti” all her life—fills me with an indulgent love for her inabilities.

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Updated On : 8th Aug, 2018

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