Saturday, 4 August 2012


I told Shaune when we were trying for a second child that if we had a boy I wanted to name him Naveen. I’d been trying on other Indian-sounding names but kept coming back to it. I liked Tariq and Arun but Shaune did not. We both liked Kalpen for a few months but I tired of it.

When he suggested we name our first son Deaglan William – I didn’t argue but was acutely aware of how Caucasian it sounded, not reflecting my contribution to his DNA one bit. I loved the name. It had always brought to mind handsome men with British accents – Declan Mulqueen in The Jackal, Declan Gormley in Mission Impossible.  When Shaune suggested it, I knew it was perfect and imagined a time when our son was in his late teens, early twenties, young women swooning over him and whispering things to each other like – “He’s so gorgeous and that name is just perfect.”


Don’t tell me that surprises you – I’m his mother, I can’t help it.

In Bangladesh I had three sisters. It would have been nice to honour their names if we’d given birth to any girls. I don’t remember my uncles’ names – my birth mother had many brothers. I have no recollection of any of the little boys we played with in the orphanage. And most of the men I’ve known in my life here have been locally raised with names like Mike or John, Chris.

Naturally I looked to Bollywood.

I became smitten with Balraj in Bride and Prejudice back in 2004 – the Bollywood version of the Jane Austen novel. He was handsome, exotic and to my delight had an English accent. And when I learned that his name was Naveen Andrews I instantly liked the name and tucked it into my back pocket.

Years later I learned that it meant “new”.

Shaune hemmed and hawed with the name during my pregnancy. Sometimes he thought he liked it and at other times he thought the v in the middle gave it a harsh-sounding quality. By then we knew we were having another boy. I’d already begun referring to him in my mind as Naveen.

Naveen came out of my body with dark brown skin and enormous ears. He had Mongolian scars on his bottom, feet and arms and looked nothing like anyone we knew. In the first few months Shaune often joked about it. One time he came home and said he saw someone who looked exactly like our new baby. Excited I asked him to describe the child. “Well he was about 80, definitely Indian, short with a round belly and was wearing a lungi (he didn’t say lungi but described the dress of rural Indian men so that's what I  assumed he meant).” 

Very funny I thought but had to smile because I did wonder if somewhere in a small village of rural Bangladesh sat an old toothless man with cocoa skin and giant ears – a long lost relative of mine who’s face Naveen had inherited.


  1. I love the names of both of your boys. They are original, and though I only know them through your words and pictures, their names seem to fit their personalities!

    Paul had a hard time with Cort's name. We came very close to naming him Trail instead. But decided Cort was a little more (but not much) mainstream.

  2. Your last sentence really made me stop and ponder for a moment that what you say could be true-that both Deaglan and Naveen might resemble an ancestor you never knew-and that is so cool Kim! It's part of your heritage-and your boys heritage, and to think that you can somehow see it through facial features or other inherited traits is so exciting! I love thinking about how Amy might be similar to those family members who lived long ago:)

    And Naveen Andrews....yum:)

    Ah, Naveen Andrews...

  3. Your boys' names are perfect. And Naveen (with that hat on) does look like a little 80 year old man ;)

  4. Your boys' names are beautiful and unique. Thanks for sharing their name stories!! It's good for our children to know where the birth of their names come from. It's good for us to remember. ;) xo

  5. Naveen Andrews...swoon! I crushed on him so bad when he was on LOST. I love both of your boys names. I actually had Declan on my list of boys names because I wanted a 'D' name. I am getting into Bollywood movies, you have to send me a list of ones to watch

  6. I love both of their names. They are so beautiful. If it makes you feel better neither of my boys looks like my husband or I.

  7. I think the meaning of Naveen is beautiful. I so wanted an Indian name for my daughter but had to work hard to find one that was easily pronounced b/c I didn't want her going through life with people butchering her name like they do mine. Drives me crazy!

    And also? I love that you watch Bollywood movies!

  8. loved this post.....i wondered where you got the name naveen....i have never heard of it....i like it alot! my kids have ordinary names....

  9. Love learning about your reasons for choosing Naveen. Both of your boys' names are great. I'm ready to get into Bollywood now!


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