Kelkar ’15 on names


This is the fifth post from our new column highlighting the voices and experiences of students of color on Brown’s campus. In this entry, Krishnanand Kelkar ’15 talks about the significance of his name. He has previously written about interracial dating as a part of this series. Though this will be the last entry in this column for the semester, we plan on continuing it in Fall 2014, so feel free to email if you want to be involved!

That’s not my name,” is something I say often. I always have to correct people on my name—partly because I am a twin, but mostly because very few people here have heard my name before. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to correct teachers and professors calling roll, or how burdensome I feel when someone asks me for my email address (especially over the phone). My name is Krishnanand Kelkar, and I often go by “Kris,” because in the West it’s easier. But I love my full name, all 11 letters! My name has history—it means so much more to me than just a random string of sounds by which to call me.

Just after, you know, life, the second thing my parents gave me was my name. And the name Krishnanand in particular was special. I’m named after my uncle; my dad knew he wanted to give his first-born son the name Krishnanand to honor his brother since he was married. After 12 years and 3 daughters, my dad finally got his boy(s). Born on the same date as my uncle, it was more than fate that I ended up with this name. And, not to toot my own horn, it’s a beautiful name too. It’s uncommon in India because it’s a combination of the two more popular names, Krishna and Anand. Together, my name means the “Bliss of Krishna.” But more importantly, my dad’s name is Anand. My name manages to respect the familial love of the generation that came before me, but also incorporates a special respect for my own father.

This wasn’t an easy name to love. It’s long, and really hard to write in cursive (hello, 3rd grade struggles). And more often than not, when I tell people how to spell it, I get something addressed to “Krishnand” because they assumed the second “A-N” was just me repeating myself for clarity.

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