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).
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.