(Wk 28) Joy is…


…Discovering a new meaning of your name!

While walking to our room in our hotel in Bangkok, Mr. A observed, “this wing seems to be named after you!”.

A brief wave of megalomania aside, I was really intrigued… wondering if the presence of the word (albeit with a slightly different spelling) in Thai, could be traced back to Sanskrit influences on the language.

A quick session with Google, to my delight, threw up images of a night-flowering Jasmine, which is called “Kannika” in Thai.

A small tree of these used to grow in my childhood home (we used to know it as harsingar), and I can still remember the heavenly fragrance of the white and orange flowers that were carefully picked for my grandmother’s puja, as they lay carpeted at the base of the tree, every morning.

I think I have a new answer for the next time someone says to me, “What a lovely sounding name, what does it mean?”

No more of disappointed or (worse) pitiful silences to my response, “In Sanskrit, Kanika means a small particle – a molecule or an atom”.

I get it.

There’s nothing unique or wondrous about an atom.

Unless you’re a science nerd.

This flower, on the other hand, has beauty, fragrance, mystery (the scientific name means “sad tree”) and a mythological story too, to appeal to the masses. In one shot, you have the visual, olfactory, intellectual and emotional senses covered.

A worthy and satisfying fulfillment of the auditory promise.

For me, it has something even more endearing – memories.

And that’s why I’m appropriating the Thai meaning from now on.


P.S. Except in Indonesia… I’d worry that “Night-Jasmine Sugar” (Sugar is what my surname means in Bahasa) might leave people with the wrong impression of my career aspirations.

P.S.S. Do check out Yvette’s joy, as she takes us around the 4 corners of the US. A bit late, thanks to my erratic posting schedule… but better late than never.