What’s in a name, they ask? A lot, I say. P.S.: Yes, this is an old-ish (yet, younger) pic of thee.

When I made Aliyah, people here had such a rough time, pronouncing my name. It was at the same time, frustrating and hilarious. Linguistically stuck, I would ‘hand-sign’ my name, pointing to the almost-there dip in my cheek. I felt invisible & yet exposed.

I would kvetch and rant about it to my family. I thought, what about giving myself a ‘name lift’? With my fascination for the French language and all that comes with it, wanted something easy and French-ly. Danielle (pronounced very French-ly) was chosen, and I ‘name-lifted’ myself. And obviously, it took some time getting used to it. Then again, rather this, than a mispronounced, incomprehensible, unknown name.

There was a divide, though, due to this. On one side, were people who liked it & applauded me for it, and the other side, were people who questioned it, of course. I got confrontational many a times, and many a times, I gave them my reasoning. And then just like that, it clicked. Just like, with my fascination of sarees. This is my name. This is my identity. What all would I have to change to make it easier for someone else? This is me. I am Dimple.

Dimple. A name my parents (my dad’s idea, in fact) blessed me with. A name that makes me smile, when I say it. A name that brings a curious wonder in most minds. A name that once explained, makes them smile.

All over, people come from varied backgrounds, cultures, languages. With all this comes distinctiveness. So many differences & yet a name, is the first connection. When we are born, the association has begun. A union with you has begun. Your name says it all and more.

And so, off I went and reverted to my name. The name I have always loved. Yes, my name is Dimple. What’s your name & what’s your story?

Day or Night…. I am Indian

When I first decided to come here, among several other things, someone close to me, was worried that I would be “termed” as not Israeli or Jewish (fair or white, whatever you may want to term it). Maybe they would think of me as one of our ‘dear cousins’, because of my colour, that is. It really didn’t bother me as much, but somewhere deep in the pores of my nightly skin, something did tingle.

Well, cant change my colour and absolutely did not want to change my resolve to come here, so I did. And guess what, no matter what I do or wear, I am and always will be Indian. I am that one exotic colourful being, amongst the sea of black and/or white here and yyiippee yyeeaa it makes me exotically joyous. People smile and ask me whether I am Indian and my eyes light up brighter and so do theirs. And then the stories of all those beautiful Indian places they have visited begin. I am as mesmerised as they are.

When we call out to strangers there are a hundred ways by which we try and get their attention. You know how they get my attention? By calling out ‘Hodu’ which means ‘India’ in Hebrew. Oh wait. It also means ‘Turkey’ in Hebrew. Oh darn. Oh well. Anyway, I gladly turn around and give them my loveliest smile. And yes I do melt their heart (wink wink).

Israelis in general LOVE India and why not? Most of them have travelled there after their army or for a vacation and who has not watched Indian movies. They usually travel up north and love sarees and the colours and oh the food. I have had strangers sing “Eechak dana beechak dana” or “Mera joota hai Japani” to me.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE to wear sarees and I HATE HATE HATE the fact that I have fewer excuses to wear one. But believe me when I do, I DO. And that’s a complete ice breaker. Everyone wants to see how you draped one, touch it, feel it (I have to be careful at such times and have to be sure its ONLY the saree they touching. wink wink, again). I am and feel like the MOST glamorous person at that point.

I feel wonderful being an Indian and recognised as one. They know we Indians are beautiful and smart and hard working and awesome and great friends of Israel, so that helps too.

I cant wait to get back to India and stock up on some ethnic kurtis and pyjamas and duppattas (stoles) and jewellery and what not. Hey I cant change the fact that I am Indian (I absolutely dont want to) so why not envelope myself in that cocoon and rub it in… Rub it in, in my exotic dusky skin, huh?