It took me until I was nearly 16 to spell my middle name correctly, consistently. Or maybe 15 1/2 when I needed to place it somewhere on the legal document that became my driver's permit. Growing up, I remember threatening my parents that as soon as I was 18, I was going to change it to something less familial--something boring that would blend. What exactly? I had no idea. What blends with a Russian first name and an Indian last name, when pronounced correctly sounds like "Money"?
So inertia got the best of that situation. Somewhere along the line, I started to use it in my publication credits, though I now wonder if that was wise? My name counterpart in S. Africa "Natasha Moni" uses only her first and what I assume is an acquired last, because again who pairs a Russian first name with a last name that in Sanskrit means "Jewel"? When you do a Google search you will be swimming in a sea of two that is she and I, but if you add my middle name…you'll only find me.
Ko-chich-er-il "What does it mean?" new friends ask and I give them some long story about how it's a family name--how all of my cousins have different last names, but we have some connection to this. I tell them how my father's first name really was/is Moni (again, pronounced "Money") so depending on the situation he is phonetically either "Money" or "Dr. Money", how I will be the second "Dr. Money" in the family. How in Kerala, where my father is from, the wife and children take the husband's first name as their last name and my mother in her foresight knew this would prove confusing, so my brother and I were given this middle name of Ko-chich-er-il.
How when I try to fall asleep at night, running through all the details of my upcoming book release and the subsequent readings, I hope I have spent enough time with the phonetics of my middle name, so that I will not have to make up some story about "Kochicheril" (the significance of which I am still a little cloudy of myself).
In preparation for my book launch of The Cardiologist's Daughter, I've realized something critically important is missing from my planning. And that thing is chocolate. At first, I considered tapping our lovely local chocolate makers at Theo to see what they could generate for such an event. They do, after all, offer specialized wedding bars with a variety of seasonal fillings to choose from. My East Indian blood was already favoring the Ghost Chili imagining that many of my guests, beyond the abnormal Bastyr crew many of whom would pride themselves on how much cayenne they can take in one sitting, would wonder why out of all the options I would have chosen the most painful one. Which is perhaps a metaphor for more than my selections of chocolate bars to be discussed at a later time…
In a sense, this book feels like a marriage to me. It started as a proposal by publisher, Annette Spaulding-Convy, followed by a honeymoon period and then the reality that marriage requires work. In essence, it's the proposal I've been waiting for--the end result this 106 page creature that will continue to pulse well beyond me.
That said, my Capricorn senses quickly kicked in and I reasoned it will be way more fun and affordable to do this myself. And when I say myself, I mean by recruiting my mom and our estranged cousin from B.C. (originally from Holland, whom we've yet to meet) both of whom will be in town the day before the launch (lucky them!) and (potentially) a school friend who I knew would feel equal if not more enthusiasm for such an endeavor.
I'm talking anatomical chocolate hearts, friends. The order has been placed for these Etsy molds and we will only be pouring the most excellent of chocolates into these miniature models of what keeps your circulatory system flowing. Chocolate of course!
Natasha Kochicheril Moni is a writer and a licensed naturopath in WA State. Enjoying this blog? Feel free to put a little coffee in Natasha's cup, right here.