28 November, 2020


My youngest daughter is called Tir. The English can't pronounce it. They interpose a 'u' sound as though they were saying 'deer' or beer'. Then there's the soft 'Th' for 'Tir'. Europeans, at least those who haven't trained in acting school, can't manage it. Poor Tir comes out as 'Tear' and the die-hard hippies who hear it swoon - Wow, 'tear' - that's a far-out name man!

If the truth were told, the name came to me in my mother's bathroom, which happened to have a Parsee calendar hanging on the wall. Practising my faltering Gujarati, I was reading the names of the days of the month. As a good Zoroastrian child I had memorised them, half as well as seven-times-tables: Hormuz, Bomon, Adibess, Surrevar.... Some of them I recognised as names. I have a cousin called Bomon and a sister called Meher. Then I came to the name 'Tir'. I have never heard it used on a child before, but it passed through me like an arrow. A strong, unusual and undoubtedly Zoroastrian name.

It had the advantage of being a beautiful 'Indian' idea too: the Hindi word for an arrow....



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