Ritika Wadhwa is the Director at the Cultural Intelligence Centre and this is her name and her story.
“Why did you call me Ritika?”.
I asked my mummy when I was a little girl.
Mummy replied, “high up on the highest mountain, the Himalayas, is a place where it is extremely cold. Where it snows throughout the year and nothing survives. Right there, right on the top of that mountain a flower blooms. A beautiful flower that never withers. That flower is called Ritika and so I named you Ritika. Because I want you to blossom no matter how extreme the conditions and really, also because I love flowers”.
There isn’t such a flower but what a story for a little girl to hear right? Filled with love, hope and resilience which marks my character to this day.
“In India we believe that our name can define our destiny and is the foundation of our character.”
That is the significance of a name. It is given to us with love by our parents. It is our identity, signifying our roots. In India we believe that our name can define our destiny and is the foundation of our character. It is chosen carefully after consulting with priests, horoscopes and what not.
Ritika really means tradition and is not a common Indian name which I was always proud of. Easy to pronounce by Indians and so never a thought was given to the sanctity of it until after I left India.
It started getting butchered here. Rih-Tea-Ka, Ritz, Teeks, Rikita, Nikita etc. In fact, even to date I never make a restaurant booking in my name. It is just hard work. So much so that I chose to name my 1st born with the simplest name possible. That translates easily across cultures and continents. Full of meaning and love too, but just so much easier to get through life with.
Please treat a name with the respect it deserves. Make the effort. Ask if you aren’t sure. Such a great conversation starter right there. It shows you care.