Hi Duana,

I've gone back and forth on whether to email you, and the closer we get to the due date, the less sure we are of a name. Here's where we're at: we're a Caucasian/Indian family with one little boy and another on the way. Main criteria: name must be fairly easy to pronounce in both Hindi and English, and must play well with our long last name that starts with K. No top 10 (or 100?) names in the U.S., no weird-ass spelling (people! stop throwing X and Y into your kid's names!)


We had two names in the running with our first son: Kieran (or Kiran) and Ravi. Kieran won out because it's perfect - it's a Gaelic name meaning "little dark one" and a unisex Hindi name meaning "ray of light." 

For this second boy, our names are mostly between Ravi and Bodhi. I like Bodhi more, husband likes Ravi more. Bodhi also led us to adding Keanu to the list (thanks to Point Break, I'm not ashamed). I like Keanu but I feel like two K boy names is too cutesy. Other names on the list: Zayn, Finn(egan), Milo, Kedar, Kai. We both like Oliver but it's really popular and we don't want to have our kid be one of 5 Oliver Ks in elementary school. 

Right now our choices are Ravi Oliver K or Bodhi "Irish sounding name" K (like Bodhi Finnegan or Bodhi Patrick). I probably just want you to help talk us into one of them, but I really don't know which. Maybe there's a perfect third option out there that we're overlooking??



Update: Rami is a late but strong addition. I really like Rami, I think more than Ravi. I think (hope?) that since there's already a famous Rami (Malek), maybe we'd have more ease with pronounciation problems? I just keep thinking that Ravi is going to get a lot of "RAVE-i or RAV-i".



I mean, I am the biggest proponent of the name Rami there is – now that there are not one but two famous Ramy/is in the current pop culture zeitgeist, I agree with you that there’s likely to be fewer pronunciation issues with the name than ever before, so by all means, go in peace; it is, of course, very much associated with Egypt and Arabic origins, but much like Kieran can cross cultures, I think Rami can too, easily.

However, my spidey sense is tingling a bit. I have this suspicion that in fact you just like Rami better than Ravi, and that’s 100% fine! It’s great! Like what you like! But, putting aside my old buzzsaw refrain of “there are regional differences”, I can’t imagine people having pronunciation difficulties with Ravi. There are characters called Ravi on at least three super-recent shows, there’s Ravi Shankar, there’s the character in Life of Pi… and of course, it looks just like it sounds. In fact, I think the ‘I’ at the end is the clue that it’s a short ‘a’ – which makes me think that in retrospect ‘Ramy’ might be the spelling that elicits more questions… but I digress. Of course none of this means you have to choose Ravi (I noticed above that it wasn’t your pick) but if anyone else is reading and suddenly feels arrested by the idea that maybe there will be confusion over how it’s said, I feel like I just can’t get there. 


Other choices? I do like Keanu, and while both names start with the same letter, they’re otherwise completely different, so there’s no reason why not – or Kamal could fit in really well here too, and I do love Kai. But if a matching first initial just feels like it’s too far to go, you might want to think about Rohan, which is also about as easy to read-and-pronounce as they come, and falls in like with the suddenly many Rowans abounding right now. There’s Viktor, which reminds me of Vikram, and of course there’s no stopping the charm of almost any ‘Z’ name, and Zain (mindful of your edict about X and Y) is no exception. 

You’ll notice, though, that I have left Bodhi until last, and that’s because this is one of those names that I think is seen as being a quirky, unusual choice both for parents who have cultural associations with it and those who don’t; it’s definitely a known, verging-on-popular choice in certain cities (and Milo and Finn certainly are bona-fide popular), so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s one of those names that has a surprise popularity boost that just suddenly reaches your consciousness when Bodhi is, like, four. Like all popular names, it’s popular because it’s great, and it’s not a reason to avoid it in and of itself – but if you’ll be crushed to meet three other Bodhis in your kid’s school, I’d be aware of it on the rise. 

Oh, and by the way, you know what else gets my spidey sense tingling? Gaelic name meanings – because guess who else’s name also means ‘little dark one’, lol? 

I’m excited for the result here – let us know!