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What’s in a name? Kurinji Malar

What’s in a name? Kurinji Malar

Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

I some times get asked about the meaning of my first name, Kurinji.

I thought it would be a wonderful way to start blogging by sharing this little story! Kurinji is a name of a shrub flower ((Strobilanthes kunthiana) that blossoms only once every 12 years in the Kodai hills region in South India. When it does, there is lots of excitement and people travel from all over the world to see this flower. Girls who are born when the Kurinji flower blossoms sometimes get named to mark this rare event and my parents did the same. In fact, I was named “Kurinji Malar” which literally translates into “Kurinji flower” in english.

I have been told by many that it is a sight to behold when this flower blossoms in the hills! Miles and miles of gently sloping Nilgiri (meaning “Blue Mountains”) are carpeted with this purplish blue flowers for a few months. You would have gathered by now that I have yet to see this flower myself. I had two realistic opportunities (when I was 12 and 24 years old) and some how I did not get to travel to the hills to see it. The next season for this flower falls during 2018, I do plan to travel to the hills to see this flower blossom for the first time! My children are keen too, particularly my boy who is 16 years old, since they never saw this flower after which mum was named! It is a journey that I look forward to.

You can the flower in a picture here and the blue mountains (Nilgiri hills) here and the Kodai hills here. You can read a newspaper story of the flower when it blossomed last time during April 2006 here.

One of my colleagues, Dr. Panos Maouris, a skilled laparoscopist and well respected Obstetrician & Gynaecologist in Perth, WA once alerted me to a very simillar sounding word, “Karajinji”. It is a National Park ( in the Hamersley Ranges of the Pilbara region in northwestern Western Australia just north of the Tropic of Capricorn. It is a sparsely populated, rugged region and it is hard not to notice the vastness of the flat, landscape when you drive through the region. It is one of those places where nature decided to paint every thing on a mega canvas and sprinkle the picture with supersized gorges made by a banded combination of Iron, Dolomite and Shale! The rock pools are obsoutely magnificent on a typically scorching day and the sunsets in the bush are truly beyond spectacular!

I am sure many names have some significance or other about places, things or events and I am happy to have one such. As an obstetrician, I see parents come up with lovely names for their new borns virtually every day - all with special meanings, significance and more than anything else, hope!!

So, there we go! A little story and now you know what my name means! Happy Australia Day and hope you had a lot of fun!

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