CHENNAI: Welcome to the first Mothership column of the new year. I thought long and hard over what to write about this week, as I felt it would set the tone for the rest of the year. Something filled with hope and optimism? Humour? Actual parenting advice? (Excuse me while I go laugh in a corner). I settled for the bizarre. In a week filled with some truly important news — are Kimye finally heading for splitsville? Was Bean Dad’s behaviour abusive or just what we call parenting in India?
Will the Covid vaccine turn you into a flesh-eating zombie (IT WON’T) — I decided to write about an Instagram ‘influenza’ feud over… a baby name. Now, we all know parenting is a competitive gig. The baby Olympics is a real thing people. Imaginary medals are handed to those who having endured the more torturous delivery, who breastfed longer, to children who were proficient in Mandarin from the womb and can rattle off more prime numbers than any other toddler at Mommy and Me.
And of course, let’s not forget the supreme medal for child with the most unique name that no one else on the planet has. Psalm. North. Sunbeam. Whatever. Or you could name your child after a common, everyday object that no one else would have thought of and voila you have a unique name. Hi Apple! So I’m sure Instagram personality Sasha Benz thought she had gained a one-up over every parent in the world after naming her daughter Baybi three years ago. Baybi.
As in baby spelt Baybi. I mean, I kind of feel like we should give Benz the medal/cup/tiara/gold plated binky for thinking of this ‘Let’s name our baby… baby. Or Baybi.’ And for three years I bet she felt pretty smug in thinking that she’d won the baby name game. Till her dear friend, model and fellow Instagram influenza came along and named her baby… BABY! I mean the cheek of it. Naturally, Benz was ‘devastated’ according to one report, that her friend would do such a thing and apparently stopped speaking to Hart for a time over this name theft.
Apparently, now they have talked it out. How sad, I was hoping for a multigenerational feud where Baby and Baybi name their children Kid and Kidd, who name their children Child and Chylld… and it goes on forever and ever and ever. Till people stop caring about it anyway. I mean if these two lived in Bombay, where girl babies are colloquially referred to as Baby and boy babies Baba, what would they have done? Imagine how many people they’d have to take panga with.
Anywhoo, I was thinking how this might play out in an Indian context. Imagine if two local influencers named their kids… Papa and Paapa. Or Beti and Bayti. The possibilities are endless. Please stop naming your kids Aarav and Aryan! Let’s go for Ladka and mLadka (the m is silent like in mboscodictiasaur). I’m just hoping that Sasha and Jessica realise they can never put their kids in a naughty corner, because ‘Nobody puts Baby (or Baybi) in the corner.’ Mic drop.
MENAKA RAMAN @menakaraman
The writer’s philosophy is: if there’s no blood, don’t call me