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Stunted
10-22-2009, 07:32 AM
Hey, I want to write a story about an Indian American (as opposed to Native American) family, and I'd like somebody to point me in the right direction. What are some good ways to learn about Indian American culture? What are Indian American families like? If I were to pop over to the Indian names on Babynames.com, would I get normal, plausible Indian names, or crazy ones? Is the practice of giving an Indian kid an Indian and an Americanized nickname common?

Thank you.

Stijn Hommes
10-22-2009, 03:34 PM
I can't speak from experience, but nicknames commonly come in existence through friends with a funny idea or a person's dislike of their birthname. I don't think an Indian family would give their children any American names, just to stay in line with their tradition. Then again, morals and values may change from person to person.

Do you have an Indian family in the neighbourhood? You'd be surprised at how much they're willing to answer -- and in the end, that's the best way to gather information.

It's a shame you're asking now; you missed a great research opportunity in Diwali (Festival of the Light).

Sarpedon
10-22-2009, 04:41 PM
I have a friend who has a traditional indian name, but goes by a (somewhat bizarre) english nickname.

Apparently, his grandfather named him the traditional indian name, as is customary, but his mother gave him the (somewhat bizarre) english nickname, in the hope that this would make it easier for him in english-speaking society. When they moved from British Guyana to the USA, the english nickname became americanized, and even more bizarre.

Tsu Dho Nimh
10-23-2009, 04:25 PM
If I were to pop over to the Indian names on Babynames.com, would I get normal, plausible Indian names, or crazy ones?

You get some normal and some names that apparently Americans think should be Indian, such as Dharma.

Try these sites by Indian expats:
http://www.indiaexpress.com/specials/babynames/
http://www.indianchild.com/indian_baby_names.htm
http://www.behindthename.com/nmc/ind.php

http://www.indianchild.com/indian_middle_names.htm
explains the compound naming that creates those 10-syllable names.

http://www.indianchild.com/hindi_names_namkaran.htm Naming Ceremony and rules.

Canotila
10-23-2009, 09:16 PM
My old orchestra conductor is from India and married to an american woman. They have two children. Both those children have Indian first names and they both go by their Indian names.

StephanieFox
10-24-2009, 03:14 AM
I had a professor from India named Krishna Kumar. I know an Indian woman named Lakshmi. Hindu deity names are fairly common. Also, Zubin Mehta a famous symphony conductor, is originally from India.

Tepelus
10-24-2009, 03:36 AM
The owners of the hotel I work at are Indian. Their last names are Patel, which from what I've heard means hotel, and also heard that it's common for them to give themselves these types of last names to go with whatever business they have, and I'm assuming they do this basically in countries other than India. Thus the Patels own hotels...lol! I don't know how true it is, but it's just what I've heard.

padnar
10-24-2009, 10:15 AM
I am an Indian and though I am based in Chennai lot of our relatives are staying there. As a script writer I will ask them many questions.I am a south Indian woman . I wear a thali . This symbolises that I am a married lady . But there many are not wearing one. About food we are brahmins. I think families will not cook but might eat some non-veg food. I was told most settled in USA are telugu speaking . Any more info you can pm me
at padnar1404@gmail.com
padma

Evaine
10-24-2009, 04:30 PM
Patel is a fairly common Indian surname found in the UK, but I never heard of it being associated with hotels before!

Tepelus
10-24-2009, 04:58 PM
The people I work with love gossip and to spread rumors and other BS around, so that's why I said I'm not sure how true it is. I guess I should ask them, for curiosity sake.

Deepspirit
10-25-2009, 09:54 AM
Patel is a surname in the Gujrati community of India, though some other communities may have this surname too. Basically, Patel means 'the chief' , as in the chief of a community, chief of a village, chief of a hotel ;) and so on.