If one were to handpick a namers’ paradise on earth, the hill state of Meghalaya should effortlessly make the cut even if the selection committee were high on hash and making their choice blindfolded. The reason is charmingly simple: the citizens of Shillong and its sister cities have the funnest names ever. Being a Christian majority state with a severe colonial hangover, Meghalayan parents have a deep fascination for anything English. So, irrespective of whether a name has negative connotations or not, if it is appealing, the child is bestowed with it.
Blogger Rahul Kar makar recounts the curious case of a Gonghlah family where three girls were named Institute, Constitute and Prostitute simply because they rhymed. A Khasi mom opted for Million, Billion and Trillion for her daughters. Perhaps she was into lottery tickets? Six years ago, several international dailies went to town about how Frankenstein, Hitler, Carter and Kennedy were in the fray for the Meghalaya Assembly Polls. Some attribute this to the Meghalayan streak to bequeath famous names. Personally, I love the trend as it spices up the otherwise bland legislative experience. I’d rather be watching Billy Kid A Sangma firing away questions at Frankenstein W Momin than be subjected to the boring zombies we call MLAs.
A telephone directory in ‘the abode of the clouds’ could make for a great joke book. In it you’re likely to discover the soccer player Fullmoon Mukhim who waxes and wanes on the field; a priest called Helpme Mohrmen who’s available for a confession; the motor mouth Oral Syngkli who possibly had a dentist dad; the struggler Laborious Manik S Syiem who’s destined to never have it easy; the bloke Shitlang Pale whose very presence stinks; the lost Dunno Nongpluh who doesn’t know if he’s coming or going; and the poor chap Rockfeller Ymbon who has a wealth of experience in penury! Equally outrageous names range from Latrine, Submarine and Kilometer to the nerdy Friction and Process.
But the one that I like the most is the humbly modest Clever Marak.