What’s in a name?
Our names are a large part of our identity. Some reflect our cultural backgrounds. Others are indicative of our parents’ values, interest and ideologies.
The truth is, our names can really shape our character.
This week I sat down with Neerali Patel, a first generation Indian American whose name means “unique.” Neerali, now a poet, found that the very things she rejected as a child, i.e. her heritage and her name that was not common and couldn’t be “found on keychains” and that essentially contributed to the “outcasted sentiment” she felt for so long, were the very things that make her well...unique.
We all have a name, that subsequently has a story. Here is Neerali’s name story.
Here Neerali recites her poem: He Traces the Cracks in the Pavement which came as a product of her frustrations while working in the service industry and trying to chase her dream of being a writer. Simultaneously she saw a lot of immigrants' experiences in D.C and what it means to be an immigrant here in America. She witnessed them being misunderstood; not being able to translate their heart, values or skill set and essentially being dismissed as the person in the back the restaurant...not being seen. Neerali was also inspired by her own father as she grew up witnessing his struggle as an immigrant himself.
Edited by Jean Grandmaire