How Do You Feel About Your Name, Krishna?

Krishna, a 38-year-old from Scotland, hated her name as a kid “because people couldn’t say it or made fun” of it.

She has since “embraced it as an adult.”

Krishna also goes by several nicknames. “I use my middle name Jewel a lot too, as most westerners can’t say Krishna properly. As a result I am called Nagina by a lot of desi friends, as its Hindi for jewel.”

One of her friends calls her Panna, which is Hindi for emerald. “I have unusual eyes, very green which become emerald green at times.”

What does Krishna like best about her name?

The pros are that when I hear my forename, unless I am with Indians, I know its certainly me. In the western world, I feel unique, unlike if I had a western name like Michelle or Lisa. Also, once a person gets their head and tongue around my name, they don’t forget it. In the Indian community, it is a special name as it is the name of a beloved God.

What does she like least about her name?

The cons are that other than South Asians (e.g. Indian, Pakastani, etc.) and a very small handful of westerners, people can’t remember it and many just can’t get their tongue around it. It’s not complicated! Its just Krish na …simple, just don’t trill the R if you can’t. Nonetheless, I have been called a myriad of things, everything from Karisima, Kareeena, Kristin, Krishma, Krishana, Krystal and beyond. One girl in secondary school called me Christmas for a year. Its a mouth full with my very Scottish surname as well…but my parents weren’t to know my married name would also be long and start with the K/C So, as a result, I have most westerners use my middle name, Jewel.

[But] the biggest con to my name is people’s ignorance. I would be a mutli-millionare if I had a pound for every time someone started in with the Hari Krishna crap. Asking where my saffron robes are and other rubbish. Thats all most westerners can associate my name with, they are completely unaware of the importance of Krishna in the Hindu religion, who he was or anything else. Also they only know it as a male name, they have no idea that for a start if I put AA at the end when written in Hindi is it female.

As a result I struggled with my name as a kid. I tried to fit into the western world when I was 12 by shortening it to Kris. It lasted one school year, I hated it. I was no longer unique in that aspect. I never realised how many Chrises there are in the world until then. As much as I struggled with the western mind and tongue over my name, I still used it, it was my name and set me apart from the western kids I knew.

When I turned 30, I got a wild hair and decided to make my life easy. I dropped Krishna and went by Jewel, which is still unique. Made friends and family stop calling me by Krishna – much to the heartbreak of my parents. This went on for 6 years… I am over it now.

Thanks so much, Krishna Jewel!

One thought on “How Do You Feel About Your Name, Krishna?

  1. What a blast reading this account! I too ‘suffered’ with the name Krishna (at 3 years old I’d bawl when the Hare Krishna’s danced down the streets of Sydney “why are they singing about me” I remember crying! By the end of my first year of high school I was completely over being chanted at by peers and changed my name to Kate and refused to answer to anything else. I reverted back to the name Krishna once I left school. Since then, strangely I discovered I had another name at birth given to me by my natural mother which is Cherie (means dear one). Krishna was given by my adopted parents when I was 3 weeks old. Talk about a confused identity! Now at 42 I am sick of wearing the name Krishna like a banner because there is ALWAYS a reaction to it, some negative, some positive. What do you think, should I be Cherie instead? (My middle name is Louise, I don’t like that at all, nothing like beautiful Jewell).
    All the best,
    Your new friend (currently) Krishna

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