[LMB] Vorkosigan series: Padma

Divya divyasatyam at satyam.net.in
Tue, 27 May 2003 18:34:27 +0530

"Laura Gallagher" <kelts at earthlink.net> wrote:

 > > That's really weird. In India, _Padma_ is exclusively a
> > female name. It means "lotus flower", so in India, it
> > would be a terrible thing to name a male child that.
> > He'd have a horrible time, poor thing. It's much more
> > common to give kids names like_Padmanathan_ or "lord of the
> > lotus", or some such thing.
> Perhaps his name had been Padmanathan, and it had been nicknamed down to
> Padma - especially if the culture was far enough removed that the
> memories of the name details were gone.  (My mother, Barbara-Kay,
> apparently spent part of her teenage years nicknamed Bobby-K, even
>though Bobby is typically a male nickname)

>Or perhaps generations ago there had been a Padmanathan, and this later
>generation just chose to use Padma, meaning unknown.

Yes, I think that's an excellent and plausible explanantion for "Padma"

I was curious because Ziviya mentioned a book with a male villain named
Padma. I'd (perhaps erroneously) assumed it was in a contemporary setting -
hence the "weird". Because "Padma" isn't just a meaningless
pleasant-sounding name - most Indians understand that it means "lotus".
Whereas few people know that "Giles" means "young goat" or that "Jonah"
means "dove". Can you imagine a male villain in a book being named "Rosebud"
or "Jasmine"?


"Don't ask who's influenced me. A lion is made up of the lambs he's
digested, and I've been reading all my life."
-- Giorgios Seferis