I can’t believe I haven’t yet written about the broad issue of the given name. It’s an issue that I know plagues a number of young adults born and raised in 3HO Sikh Dharma. Sikh Dharma/3HO converts are given a “spiritual” name, with roots in sanskrit and gurmukhi. My given name was three syllables, plus my middle name kaur and my last name khalsa. Alot of names start with a Sat, Siri or Gur (or both, or even all three!)
Needless to say, once away from 3HO, introductions were not much fun. With names like Satgurschnrub Kaur Khalsa, and so on, one can relate!
I’ve come to have the opinion that Right-off-the-bat inquiries into the origins of my name are actually nosey and borderline rude, as opposed to when I was younger and really did think someone was truly interested in ME. Lesson? Don’t ask someone about their life story when just having been introduced to them seconds ago. For years, in my attempt at evading the saga that was my (our) upbringing, I’d get uncomfortable and squirmy and wound up just wanting who ever it was I was speaking with to go away, leave me alone. Sometimes I used the old “hippie parents” routine, but the dilemma was that I felt compromised, because, well, I know that most hippies still managed to keep their own identities. I’m letting my parents (and their leader) off too easily by dismissing their choices as typical hippie behavior.
But be frank and use the word CULT and your new acquaintance gets a little uncomfortable. Or maybe just a little too intrigued for a first encounter. Either way, it’s no solution.
I find myself particularly in a jam when I meet someone from India. They understand my name, easily identify it as Indian and usually translate it for me from whatever language they most easily identify with. They then want to know, and often act as if they are entitled to an explanation. They want to know how a white person with no apparent signs of religious conversion wound up with an Indian name! Desperate to not be pegged as the girl who just discovered yoga and how good her ass looks in yoga pants, yet only managed to expand her knowledge of Hindu culture enough to start going by saraswati, I say “I was born with this name”. And then usually that just leads to more questions…
No… Way… Out…
Cut to now. I often shorten my name on first encounters, and it suits me, and the situation almost every time.