First Names Matter – by Nikita Parik

by TBLM

At an almost-dawn one February, I
tell you how my parents had
almost named me after a
Mahadevi Verma poetry
collection
(twice)

निहार(इका)। नीरजा

before the Russians
invaded the familial
decision-making, and
I was christened

Никита| Nikita

Funny how poetry finds
ways of coming back
“, I chime.

Like Gulzar and so many
others, I want to write
a poem on that precise
moment when one falls in
love with their first names for
the first time as I

imagine the syllables
forming in your mouth-
the nasal n rushing into
the voiceless velar stop,
both holding on to the long ē
that shapes your lips into
the ghost of a smile, ending
in the hushed softness of
an alveolar sound:

निकिता

But you only ever address
me with ‘you’ in its various
shades, using the elusiveness
of language to your advantage.

‘Names don’t matter’, you decide.