My series, The Name Project, showcases excerpts of interviews with the people I meet. Names are my inspiration and I hope to share with you photographs of people and stories about their names.
The Name Project: Sonia
People with the name Sonia are known for preferring a direct approach to life. That is, according to Roy Feinson who wrote a book on the impact of names on people’s lives.
This particular Sonia, however, comes with a little different perspective to her name and her life. That’s because her parents are from India where parents select names for their babies in a different manner than most Western cultures. In fact, parents can wait up to a month or so to choose a name for their baby.
Even with extra time allotted, Sonia still hated her name as a child. “I was teased by kids at school since it seemed like I was named after the then prime minister’s daughter-in-law “Sonia Gandhi”.
Sonia remembers telling her dad at the tender age of ten that she wanted to change her name. He responded that she would have to wait until she was 18. As luck would have it, Sonia fell in love with the name before she turned 16 thanks to a little research about its meaning. “My name is derived from the Greek name ‘Sophia’ which means ‘wise or wisdom.’” That inspired her and although she admits to having a ways to go, she likes to believe that she’s growing wise with age.
I asked Sonia if she felt there was ever a time when a person should change their name. She responded that if a person felt strongly enough, they should go ahead and change it. That’s because Sonia feels the power of having a name that fits her life. “I’ve never shied away from introducing myself to people which is partly due to my personality, but also it’s about my name. I believe people need to love their names, and if they don’t then change it. Even though I have a relatively difficult last name to pronounce, I didn’t change it after my wedding because I love being identified as ‘Sonia Chawdhary.’ Even as I write it, i feel myself holding my head up high!”
I believe people need to love their names, and if they don’t then change it.
Sonia feels her name has had an impact on her life, even though she’s had a difficult last name for people in the Western world to pronounce. In fact, she shared a funny travel story about her last name. As a poor graduate student she found herself stranded at an airport and called a friend who lived in the area to come pick her up. When the friend arrived at the airport the announcement came over the speakers, “Sonia Cou- *pause* dhaa- *pause* -ery. Please come to the help desk.” Needless to say, Sonia didn’t recognize the butchered attempt at pronouncing her last name and she continued to wait. It took her awhile before finally connecting with her friend and she learned from this experience to listen and respond to anything that sounded remotely similar to her last name.
Sonia is inspired by people, quotes, the world, and everyday joys like the laughter of a loved one. A recent addition to her list of inspirations has been food. Yes, food! That’s because food led to the birth of her food blog, which in turn led to a company, Velvet Aroma, that she shares with a friend of 16 years. How fabulous is that!
I titled this post Golden Sonia because it reflects what I see in the name. Wisdom. Beauty. Growth. It’s all good as gold. I’m glad I took time to pause and experience getting to know Sonia.