What’s Your Name?

Rohan Sebastian

ROHAN SEBASTIAN. Born February 1, 2014. Weight: 7.4 lbs.

Instead of my name, I am now explaining to everyone what the name “Rohan” means. It’s not a popular name locally, but still, I’m surprised that people are not familiar with it.

Before, I used to explain my name a lot: “Margaux”. It may be common in France but it isn’t in our country. Today, Some other Margaux’s have sprouted in the neighborhood but way back then, I loved being the only Margaux in school.

My parents gave me a nice name but I wonder why they don’t use it at all. My mom, as some weird term of endearment, used to call me “Margita de Patata” when I was a child. My dad still calls me Marge or Marging (“g” is pronounced like that in “roguing”).

Some people are insulted when their names are pronounced incorrectly. I find it funny.  Some names I’ve been called sounded normal: Margaret or Marigold. But I’ve seen my name spelled as Marganx, Marguax, Margeau (de parfum!), Marga, Margoh, Marigo (-round), Margus, Margorix (on the envelope of an x-ray result. That’s my favorite because it made me sound like a member of Asterix’s gang).  I’ve also been called Margux, Margos, Margoos, Marcos, Margah so many times, sometimes even with a “sir”! My friends also find it funny that they would intentionally mispronounce or misspell it. They would call me Margox  or Margx or even Margoose.  I don’t mind.

Some people pronounce it as MAR-gow, some as mar-GOW. The only time I heard my name pronounced most probably the way it should be was by a French Canadian, my French teacher from so many years ago, Monsieur Guy, who pronounced it as something like MAHkH-goow (the “r” sound was very faint that it almost sounded like a “k” with some “hhh” and it sounded as if it came out of his nose ).

When I have to spell it out loud after several times and people still don’t get it, I usually just end up saying “o” instead of “a-u-x”. Sometimes, on attendance sheets or on other non-legal documents where I have to write my name, I just use “o” in place of “aux”.

For the socially inept me, it helps to jumpstart small talk during gatherings. Some who are familiar with the name would bring up Chateau Margaux, the French wine, or Margaux Hemingway, the model/actress/granddaughter of Ernest and the “It girl” back in those days. My dad named me after both. Some people find the name beautiful. Some people think it’s weird. Some people who probably do not have enough space in their brains for some sort of a spell check function, would wonder why somebody had to make the spelling so difficult when it could have been spelled with a simple “o”.

I’ve got to give credit to some of the Starbucks baristas who know how to spell my name, which leaves me mildly disappointed though. They kill the fun in seeing my name misspelled in so many different ways.

Anyway, I think of this now because I came across a post from the reluctant mom some weeks ago which got me to thinking about my name and of course my Baby #2’s.

Rohan. Some find the name manly and romantic. Some think it’s a girl’s name. Some people ask me if it is spelled with a “j” instead of an “h”. They’re probably thinking about “Trojan”.

Only my nerdy friends seem to get it.

Rohan with an “h”: Sanskrit for “ascending”; Irish for “red haired”, and Middle-earth. Rohan is a fictional kingdom in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings where the men are known for their cavalry and bravery. I like the last meaning the most and it seems the most logical for us to choose if we pattern it after the Little Creature #1’s name:

Little Creature #1: Tristan/ Stardust fictional character/ Neil Gaiman.

Little Creature #2: Rohan/ Lord of the Rings fictional kingdom/ JRR Tolkien.

Their second names, Jacob and Sebastian respectively are just those that I really like. I had to ask my friend C’s permission to use Sebastian as Rohan’s second name though as courtesy because her son’s name is Sebastian. Imagine, I only figured out that Husband and I should use “Sebastian” as Rohan’s second name after I had given birth, in the recovery room, while under the meds. Otherwise, it might have been “Zachary” or “Caleb” or “Gareth” or “Frederick”.

Rohan Sebastian. Sounds like Johann Sebastian (Bach). To be honest, I was really pushing for “Johann” (if we had chosen it, we wouldn’t have used “Sebastian”). Names of classical composers are meaningful because I love classical music and I am reminded of my maternal grandfather. I really do love Johann (Brahms and Bach and many others) and I like Frederic (Chopin) but then my son might end up as Dick  or Fred or Freddie (Mercury! At least the name is still in the musical category).

Husband was adamantly against “Johann” because he knows some unattractive person named as such. Big deal. And here I thought I was being superficial. There are billions of people on the planet and everyone is bound to have some namesake somewhere.

To compromise, we agreed on “Rohan”.

Welcome, earthling!

Rohan Sebastian



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