Well, you must have seen numerous Only in India photos and videos on the Internet. This little post is around the same topic but more specific to funny naming conventions and strange names of people and establishments in India. Since I haven’t traveled too much around India, I may not know a lot about the North and Eastern parts and hence the content may be more relevant to South India alone.
Names of establishments
In India, funny restaurant names are the easiest to spot regardless of where you travel. The following are a few that I have encountered.
Sometimes branded as Hotel Brothers or even Hotel Brothers International, this is not exactly a ‘Hotel’ but more of a small time restaurant or tea shop. ‘Hotel’ in the Indian village or town context means ‘Restaurant’. You can see this ‘Brothers’ brand many parts in India. It’s not a chain of restaurants but just preferred name. And the funniest thing is that ‘many of them are not even run by brothers or siblings’.
Bhaskaran & Sons Jewellery
What’s funny or wrong about it? Nothing, unless you learn that it’s started by a person by name Bhaskaran who is still a bachelor who doesn’t have any son. Adding ‘& Sons‘ to the display board is more for style than for the literal meaning itself. The board would additionally display ‘Proprietor: T.P Bhaskaran‘ and if it’s in Tamil Nadu, probably, ‘ Prop: T.P Bhaskaran, BA‘.
(Fortunately they don’t add more qualifiers to it such as ‘BA First class’ or something like that)
Common names for restaurants around South India include ‘Bharat Hotel’, ‘Sreekrishna Cafe’ and after a coat of painting during Diwali sometimes one of them suddenly becomes ‘New Bharat Hotel‘. Well, there are plenty such popular names for restaurants. Would you like to add more?
Chicken and Poultry shops
One of my villagers (in Kerala) that I know, Mr. Lonappan – a fisherman by profession – decided to setup a poultry shop as he thought broiler chicken business is more profitable than selling fishes. After consulting his ‘educated’ and jobless friends he arrived at a very cool name for his chicken stall and that was ‘Asiatic Chickorium‘. Obviously his fishing background helped inventing that amazing word that rhymed ‘Aquarium‘.
While Lonappan was lucky to have ‘educated’ friends to help him, his counterpart in Mahadevapura, Bangalore wasn’t that lucky. This person had to depend on the knowledge of the sign board artiste to arrive at a small board for his chicken stall that read ‘Chikan Stale‘!
I think the same artist is the creative mind behind ‘Kentaki Fryed Chikan‘ pull cart shop in Majestic, Bangalore. Sounds really majestic, huh?
More examples of impressive shop names include the ‘pancher shop‘ that I mentioned in a recent article, ‘Toylat – Gents‘, Chines fast food – all in and around Bangalore and a ‘Panjapi Dhaba‘ near Selam in Tamil Nadu.
Names of people
When it comes to the names of people, I know that most Punjabis prefer English names and most Andhrites, who move to their dream land (USA), change their long names to beautiful 3 and 4 letter American short names as soon as they land. However, I think nobody can beat Keralites when it comes to the most innovative names that you can’t even think of.
The funniest names are usually girls’ names most of which sounds like ‘– i – i‘ or ‘– o – i‘ or ‘– i – y‘ and you can mix and match those empty spaces with any consonant or an array of consonants. Some of the names that I have heard of include the following:
Kikki, Titti, Litti, Sisi, Mimi, Lighty, Booby – obviously they didn’t think about (or didn’t know) their meanings when the naming ceremony took place.
And innovative name for Malayali boys will typically end with ‘ju’ or ‘jo’ – Liju, Siju, Lijo, Sijo, Lyjo, Ijo,…
Mostly this naming convention is prevailing among Christians in Kerala but other communities are catching up well with these kinds of names and aren’t far behind.
Not sure that there’re such naming conventions in other parts of India, if so please do share your opinions.
Note: Please note that my intention here is not to hurt any individual or community. As a matter of fact, I have many good friends with one or the other of the above mentioned names or their variations
That much for now!