The White Hindu has moved

The White Hindu has moved! This blog is no longer updated, but Ambaa is still writing The White Hindu every weekday at

Saturday, May 1, 2010

My good name

I don't know if anyone noticed that one of the commenters mentioned that the name he signed was his "pet" name. It is my understanding that in India people have two names, a "good" name that is the full name that gets used on official documents, and a "pet" name, which is like a nickname, though not necessarily related to the person's good name.

A new reader came over here from the message boards and was confused because there my name is Carolyn and here is it Aamba.

The reason for that is that my real name is Carolyn. I have never had a nickname and I use my real name to sign up for everything because I don't have another one. When I first started this blog it was important to me to be anonymous and that is why I selected an Indian name (it isn't chosen randomly, there is a post about why this name).

My immediate family does not know about this blog. A few years ago I had one like it on Livejournal, except it was about more than just my religion, it was about my hobbies and my life in general. When my mom found out about it she asked me to remove it, saying that it was offensive. She's very private and she does not understand my drive to tell people all about my thoughts and feelings and life, to share with everyone and find common ground.

The reason I started again was not to defy my mom. Last year she noticed this trend among books that a lot of people were publishing books based on blogs where they explored a topic for a year. She said I should write a blog about being a white Hindu and get a book deal out of it. It was another one of those parallel universe moments. "Weren't you the one who told me not to do that?" I think what's happened is that my parents have finally realized that this is not a game to me. There was a turning point when I was on the phone with my dad a couple of summers ago and he said, "But you're not really a Hindu, you don't do the rituals and pujas and such." I told him, "Yes, I do. You've been to my home, you've seen my shrine." He paused and said, "Well, maybe you are a Hindu."

Still, I have not told them about this blog. I want to be able to say things honestly without worrying about upsetting them. I don't want my thoughts or feelings to "reflect badly on the family."

It was a big step for me to link this blog to my Facebook and other online profiles, to admit that this is me.

So, through this blog, I have gotten my "pet" name of Aamba. No one in my life calls me that, it is only here.


  1. yes. in india people have more than one names. one formal , for official use or used by the people who are not very intimate. another informal - to be used by the dearer and nearer ones. often one has more than one informal name.

    off topic,

    i was going through your older posts . you said in hinduism there is no concept of hell. but i got confused because certainly hell/naraka is mentioned in many mythological stories.

    - basu

  2. Most people I know at this point call me "Mouse".. even in my daily life. My real name is something even I rarely use.. I sign my name with my initials. My online blog and my real name aren't linked in any way.. I do that for personal privacy reasons.
    My parents & good friends know about my blog but my inlaws don't.. and I really hope to keep it that way.

  3. Hmmm...not sure about that one. I don't have one. "Pet" names are more common in some parts of India than others. For instance, it is quite common in West-Bengal.

  4. Nice blog...Would like to discuss about religion with you sometime...
    As for "pet names", I have seen them to be common in South India.Dunno about the North though.My dad used to call me 'Goldie', much to my embarrassment during my teens(I'm male). I dunno what changed, but he started calling me the way my mom calls me -Thambi- literally means 'Younger brother' in Tamil.I don't have any siblings.I wonder why she calls me that... It so happened that once when she came to the train station to send me off, my fellow passenger asked me if she was my sister :) Can't blame him though, cuz my parents looked very young despite having a 22 yr old son...

  5. Feel free to email me, Vignesh, I love to discuss religion!

  6. I'm so glad I'm finally starting to read your blog at last, I just wish I had more time! You are very brave to link your blog to Facebook, etc. I refuse to do that! I don't tell anyone about my blog, particularly friends and family, because I too like writing freely without them all reading it and knowing my thoughts. I know the day is fast approaching when I won't be able to keep hiding though.

  7. I'm surprised that you've managed to keep it anonymous this long, you are such a sensation on the Internet.

    It took me only a few months before I decided to be public about who I am. I'm not a private person, I'm an open book!