Airplane Baby Named Pawan-deep

plane

On the morning of August 27, 2008, a woman aboard a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Adelaide went into labor. Paramjit Kaur gave birth to a baby boy over Northwest Territory, and the plane made an emergency landing at Darwin airport.

A day later, Paramjit and her husband, Jagtar Jaswal, announced that they’d decided to name the baby Pawan-deep Jaswal

His parents said Pawan-deep meant “ocean and air”, in reference to his unusual place of birth.

The name Pawan comes from Sanskrit and does indeed mean “wind.” But Deep (also spelled Dip) typically refers to a “lamp” or a “light,” as in the names Amandeep and Jagdeep, so I’m not sure where the definition “ocean” is coming from. (Maybe the parents spelled it d-e-e-p to coincide with the English word, making it a sort of poetic reference to the ocean?)

Source: Cunningham, Matt. “Miracle baby named after ocean and air.” NT News 29 Aug. 2008.

P.S. Want more airplane babies?

Name Quotes 87: Kamala, Simon, Genghis

From a recent CNN article about how to pronounce Sen. Kamala Harris’s name:

Harris wrote in the preface of her 2019 memoir, “The Truths We Hold,” “First, my name is pronounced ‘comma-la,’ like the punctuation mark. It means ‘lotus flower,’ which is a symbol of significance in Indian culture. A lotus grows underwater, its flower rising above the surface while its roots are planted firmly in the river bottom.

From a 1982 Washington Post article about actors Lucie Arnaz and Laurence Luckinbill:

Lucie Arnaz, whose illustrious pedigree is evident in her name, and actor Laurence Luckinbill were Simonized several years ago.

He was on Broadway doing Neil Simon’s “Chapter Two.” She was on Broadway doing Neil Simon’s “They’re Playing Our Song.” They met at Joe Allan’s, the famous Broadway restaurant, and started seeing each other entr’acte.

[…]

Twenty months ago, they had a son, whom they named…Simon.

From a 2015 Indian Express article in which Rebel Wilson talks about her name:

A little girl named Rebel sang at my parents’ wedding. My mum is really big on theme names like that – my sisters are called Liberty and Annachi, and my brother is Ryot. I did pretty well in comparison. I love it.

You can’t be a shrinking violet if you have a name like Rebel. It gives me an edge and helps me not give in to my fears. I try to live that way.

From a 1998 BBC article about All Saint singer Melanie Blatt:

Melanie and her boyfriend, musician Stuart Zender [of Jamiroquai], revealed in a magazine interview that they intend to name their daughter Lily Ella [sic]: Lily after the first flowers he bought her during their courtship and Ella after the music legend Ella Fitzgerald.

(Technically, her name is Lilyella.)

From a case study (pdf) of Amtrak’s automated customer service representative, “Julie,” launched in 2001:

Julie became popular with callers and even garnered national acclaim through blogs, YouTube videos, and as an answer on the TV quiz game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Her persona was even featured on Saturday Night Live. “I’ve been surprised about how attached people have gotten to Amtrak Julie,” says the woman who provides the voice of Julie, Julie Stinneford. “I find it funny. Because they’re not really talking to me. They’re talking to a computer.”

From a 2019 NPR interview with musical duo (and identical twins) Tegan and Sara, who originally called themselves “Sara and Tegan”:

We changed the name only because we had a manager [who] gave us one good piece of advice during that time. He said, “When people say ‘Sara and Tegan,’ it all blends together into one word and they don’t know what you’re saying. But if you say ‘Tegan and Sara,’ you have to enunciate. So I think you should switch your names around.” So we did.

From a recent Crunchyroll article about parents who named their son Asta after the anime character (Black Clover):

We came up with that name early on but had other names we considered like Natsu, Sora, Roxas, and Yuki.

From a 2007 Times Colonist [Victoria, British Columbia] article about unusual baby names:

The time was when naming a baby Conan or Calamity could doom a kid to years of schoolyard drubbings, but if Genghis Charm Usher’s experience is any indication, the times are changing.

Genghis, 13, can’t recall any friction caused by his unusual name, pointing out “that you don’t have to have a weird name to get teased.”

[…]

“I love my name. Once they get my name, they don’t forget it,” he says.

Baby Named “St. Louis” After Ship

St. Louis ship

On July 8, 1895, a steerage passenger aboard the steamship St. Louis (traveling from Southampton to New York) gave birth to a baby boy.

The passenger, Marie Sillanpau*, named her son St. Louis “in honor of the ship.”

(She was also given a gift of $69.50, collected from the saloon passengers.)

Sources:

*Her surname may have actually been the Finnish Sillanpää.

The Emergence of Makeba

miriam makeba, singer, baby name, 1960s
Miriam Makeba

The baby name Makeba started appearing in the U.S. baby name data in the early 1960s:

  • 1966: 8 baby girls named Makeba
  • 1965: unlisted
  • 1964: 5 baby girls named Makeba
  • 1963: 5 baby girls named Makeba
  • 1962: 5 baby girls named Makeba
  • 1961: unlisted
  • 1960: unlisted

It saw peak usage in the early 1970s.

What launched the name?

South African singer Miriam Makeba, who was born near Johannesburg in 1932 to a Xhosa father and a Swazi mother.

Her birth name was actually Zenzile, nickname Zenzi. (The English name Miriam was adopted later for career purposes.) According to Makeba, the name Zenzile means “you have no one to blame but yourself” or “you have done it to yourself.”

But “Zenzile Makeba” wasn’t her full name. Her full name was Zenzile Makeba Qgwashu Nguvama Yiketheli Nxgowa Bantana Balomzi Xa Ufun Ubajabulisa Ubaphekcli Mbiza Yotshwala Sithi Xa Saku Qgiba Ukutja Sithathe Izitsha Sizi Kkabe Singama Lawu Singama Qgwashu Singama Nqamla Nqgithi.

Why so long?

The reason for its length is that every child takes the first name of all his male ancestors. Often following the first name is a descriptive word or two, telling; about the character of the person, making a true African name somewhat like a story. This may sound most unusual to Americans, but it is the custom of my people.

Miriam Makeba began singing professionally in the early 1950s. In the late ’50s she met famous Jamaican-American singer Harry Belafonte, who introduced her to American audiences. Her fame grew (both in the U.S. and in Europe) during the ’60s, and she became “the first African artist to globally popularize African music.”

I haven’t had any luck tracking down the etymology of Makeba, but I know the name came from Miriam’s mother, Nomkomendelo Christina Makeba. The name Nomkomendelo means “the one whose father was commandeered” (as she was born on the day her father was forced to join the British army to help fight the Second Boer War).

Do you like the name Makeba?

Sources:

Image: from the movie Come Back, Africa (1959)

P.S. Here are a few more names inspired by the Second Boer War

Names in the News: Luca, Indica, X AE A-Xii

Some recent baby names from the news…

Indica: A baby girl born in the U.S. (in Baltimore?) in February of 2020 was named Indica, after the strain of cannabis. Indica has an older sister named SaTiva, after another strain of cannabis. (Metro)

Luca: A baby boy born in Ohio in December of 2019 was named Luca in honor of Dr. Luca Vricella, the pediatric cardiac surgeon who’d operated on Luca’s late older brother, Jack. (IndeOnline)

Ranvijay: A baby boy born in India in March of 2020 was named Mohammad Ranvijay, middle name in honor of police officer Ranvijay Singh, who’d helped the baby’s father attend the birth during lockdown. (NDTV)

Smokey: A baby boy born in New South Wales, Australia, in November of 2019 — while the Gospers Mountain fire was burning — was named Smokey. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas: The baby boy born in England in April of 2020 to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his fiancee, Carrie Symonds, was named Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas — Wilfred after Boris’s grandfather, Lawrie after Carrie’s grandfather, and Nicholas after Dr. Nicholas Price and Prof. Nicholas Hart, “the two doctors that saved Boris’s life last month.” (The Guardian)

Wyatt: The baby boy born in April of 2020 to news anchor Anderson Cooper was named Wyatt after Anderson’s late father, Wyatt Cooper. (PinkNews)

X AE A-Xii: The baby boy born in California in May of 2020 to entrepreneur Elon Musk and musician Grimes was initially named X Æ A-12. (The “A-12” part refers to the Lockheed A-12 aircraft.) On the birth certificate, though, is an altered version of the name: X AE A-Xii. (BBC, People)

P.S. Speaking of both Smokey and the ligature Æ (pronounced “ash”)…the first baby koala born at the Australian Reptile Park in New South Wales following the New South Wales bushfires was named Ash. (CNN)