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 www.ispeakhindi.com 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.