IMG_0005Hi! My name is Mugdha Padalkar-Kulkarni. I am a PhD student at Temple University. Born and brought up in India, got married and came to US.  I usually go back and forth with English and Marathi as I am a bilingual writer. So please don’t get intimidated if you stumble upon something that didn’t actually look like English! 🙂  I hope you enjoy your visit to my blog and I wish you come more often!

Someone ‘famous’ has once said,”What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”But in India, babies names are big deal! Usually baby’s name is decided by the star and time of the birth. Parents name their kids after their parents, grand parents or god/goddess as a sign of respect. Sometimes kids are named after famous personalities such as freedom fighters, actor/actress and sportsperson…(I know I am saying all these three categories in one breath :)) hoping their kids will become like their namesakes!!! If you live in America it’s a different story all together… 🙂 Name should be small, meaningful but the first priority is that the name should be easy to pronounce. 🙂

I was not born as ‘Mugdha’. I chose to be ‘Mugdha’. I was born as third daughter to my parents. My parents wanted to have a common theme in our names and my sisters were named with a name starting with word ‘ksh’. Kshipra (One of the famous rivers in India and also a famous novel) and Kshama ( meaning: forgiveness) so I was named as Kshamata ( meaning: caliber/ ability ). My brother who was born 2 years after me was named Kshitij (meaning: horizon). Our home in Nanded is named as Yaksha which completes the theme. There were 2 reasons for naming our home ‘Yaksha’. One: my dad’s name is Vijay which ends with sound”Ya” and our initials as ‘Ksha’ so the name is Yaksha. Two: My dad is a retired bank manager and Yaksha, a mythological figure was bank manager of Kuber…So everything fell in place!

So coming back to my name. I was born as Kshamata. My parents call me Ammu at home. And somewhere down the line I became Mugdha! How?! There is an interesting story behind this. I remember some part of this story and some part I was told. I was 5-6 years old then. When I was a kid, my dad used to read us bedtime stories. He has a very nice style of story telling so this used to be our favorite part of the day.

Mugdhachi Rangit Goshta (Mugdha's colorful story)
One day he told us a story called ‘Mugdhachi rangit goshta (Mugdha’s colorful story)’ by well known Marathi writer G. A. Kulkarni. This is a story about a small girl, Mugdha who loves to paint. One day she fells asleep and in her dream she forgets her way back to home. She asks duck, sparrows, peacock, parrot, pigeons and snail to help her to find way to her home. They all help her and in return she colors them. (Loose reference for comparison: Alice in wonderland) I loved this story. Mugdha was my hero! She can do all cool things… she can count eyes of peacock and she can paint a parrot’s beak red 🙂 I used to ask my father to read that story to me all the time hence my father had recorded this story on the tape recorder. My mom says one day I asked them to name me as Mugdha. In India, you don’t have to wait for the child to become 18 years to legally change his/her name. I think my parents also liked this name so when I was enrolled in kinder garden I was enrolled as Mugdha Padalkar!

I am different from my siblings…I can draw but not like my sisters…I was good at studies but not as good as my brother and sisters…I always thought I lacked the ‘ksh’ factor (x factor !) in me. Did I change my destiny by changing my name? In my teens, I often wondered what my life would be like if I were still Kshmata???

Now when I think about it as a grown up (really?!) I think I am finding my strengths, what I am capable of realizing my Kshamata! I was born as ‘Kshamata’. But I think I always wanted to be Mugdha … like my namesake dreamy and finding a way to ‘come home’! In my journey, on each turn, I am meeting new people who are helping me to find my way! I chose to be ‘Mugdha’! I think I have accepted the fact that may be I lack the X factor but English is a wonderful language and I still have 25 other factors to chose from!

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  1. Hi Mugdha- I am Jitendra Vaidya, your cousin. I remember in 1989 when I spent some time at vijay mama’s place , we enjoyed time with you and also the story of ‘Mugdha’ even then. I still fondly remember tje time spent in ‘Yaksha’, thought of coming back to meet mamu and discuss many books and subjects , but could not make it. Your article helped me go down the memory lane again. Thanks.

  2. Nice story of your name…

    Came a cross your blog because of your write up on ” Philli”, which also is excellent.

  3. नमस्कार मुग्धा ताई,

    छान लिहिता तुम्ही. तुमचा “मसालेदार” आणि इतर लेख वाचले.

    तुमच्याशी गप्पा मारायला आवडेल मला. मी डॉक्टर स्पर्शिका जोशी. मी मुंबई ला असते.

    मला तुम्ही hangout वर sparshika@gmail.com इथे संपर्क करू शकता. म्हणजे आपण बोलू.

    धन्यवाद ,

    डॉक्टर स्पर्शिका जोशी.

    स्त्री रोग तज्ज्ञ

    M.D. D.G.O.


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