Photo by Laaija
Shanta was expected to deliver our baby somewhere around the last week of December 2008. However, her water broke on the 11th Dec, 2008 and my best means to reach her (she was in our home town then) was the next day. So, I missed the whole drama when Shanta gave birth to Laaija at 2:00 pm on 11th Dec, 2008.
Ever since Shanta conceived, I had told her that I wanted a girl though I was prepared for a boy nonetheless. I went ahead picking a bunch of names for a girl. Laaija is a Manipuri word which translates to Water, more aptly the clear water offered to the deities during religious ceremonies. Even though I’m just spiritual and not religious at all, I liked the name. I was also concerned that it should not be a typical Indian name like mine (Brajeshwar) which makes it difficult for non-Indians. In today’s wired-wi-fi-ed and connected internet world, I wanted a more easier name which can crossover effortlessly across countries, east-west-north-south.
Besides her first Name, I was also on the hunt for a nickname. Being fascinated by Lord of the Rings, I wanted a character name from LOTR but they sounded too mythical — rather unrealistic. BGhose had somehow suggested Obi-Wan if its a boy and Leia for a girl. Being one of the many Star Wars fans, I liked the idea and picked “Padme” as her middle name.
Everybody was happy with the name Laaija, even got a dot com for that name, not so common, not a long one either, isn’t too hard to spell, good meaning and reasoning also made the grand-parents happy. When it came to “Padme” I had to narrate the story of Padme Amidala and everybody rejected it in unison. The reason is pretty simple, Padme however good and smart she was, had to lead a hard life, her husband went to the dark side and she chose death during child-birth.
Eventually, the next best was Princess Leia and thus she will be nicknamed “Leia”.
So, meet our daughter Laaija “Leia” Oinam.