Delband o Delavar
Going back in time to pick a poetic name
March 24, 2000
Her voice shaking with joy, my friend shared her happiness with me.
After eight long years waiting to become a grandma, she had just learned
that her daughter was expecting.
Like all Iranian mothers she had begun to worry after the first few
years had passed without a grandchild on the way! Private conversations,
gentle reminders, wishful sighs, offers of help and even a suitcase full
of hand-knitted baby clothes had no effect on her only daughter. She had
almost given up on holding a grandchild in her arms when she heard the
good news. She could not wait to let everyone know that soon she will be
We talked for a while, sharing experiences about being a mom for the
first time, enjoying our children, and things we wished we had done! She
then asked if I could give her some ideas about names. Her daughter was
looking for a bi-cultural name that was not too common, such as Sara, Layla
I had struggled with the choosing a name when my own daughter was born.
I remembered that I had made a list and I promised my friend that I would
forward it to her.
Looking at the old list, I realized that a little updating was in order
as some of the names seemed so "dated". I began to think about
the names of my own friends and their children, my mother's friends, names
I had heard or read about in books and memoirs and noticed a pattern. You
can tell the age of a person by their name. For instance, how many two-year-olds
do you know with names such as Shahin, Mahin, Simin, Parvin or Nasrin!?
I started to think of names that are easy to pronounce, sound pleasant,
have a beautiful meaning and are bi-culturally acceptable. I remembered
some very different names from past eras; names that we seldom hear, but
are so poetic and beautiful they make you imagine the moon, the sun and
mAhroo, sonbol, mAhrokhsAr, yAs, mahtAb, golchehreh, khorshid, mAhrokh,
shabAhang, narges, kokab, afrA, mAhbanoo, golAb, sarvenAz, golrokh, golnAz,
shabnam, golbAn, mAhvash, lAdan, mAhchehreh, shidrokh, parvAneh.
Surprisingly, some old names are very sensual. They bring to mind images
of Persian miniatures or a Qajr prince in his harem frolicking with his
delband, delpasand, vesAl, delbar, shAdi, mehrnAz, deldAr, mehrAvar,
nAzanin, delArAm, parinAz, negAr, hoori, shifteh, mehrvarz, sAghi, shAhed,
paricheher, parivash, and also delAvar, aziz, pesartalA, and bAlAtan!