Crazy for Chappals

By Raajeev Aggerwhil

At Berkeley, I took a Native American history class where I learnt the accomplishments of the people who were the original inhabitants of the United States. Some of the famous Native American chiefs were: Rain-in-the-Face, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull.

Inspired by this naming convention I started exploring nick names for my children based on their characteristics. For my children, based on their attributes I came up with “Dances-like-a-Punjabi," “Bargains-like-a-Bania", and “Gets-hot-from-a-Dot." I came up with potential new names: “Running-from-the-British" “Born-to-do-tech-support", and “Eats-curry-in-a-hurry."

As a kid, growing up in Old Delhi, we used to walk by shops with names like: “Bhondu Mal Stores," “Gainda Mal Stationary," and “Koora Mal Hardware." These shops were named after the founders of the family business. We used to make fun of how older generations would name their children: Bhondu (Dumb/Stupid), Gainda (Rhinoceros) and Koora (Garbage).

Now that I reflect on this, I am glad the Koora Mal family decided to stay in the hardware business. Can you imagine a name like Koora Mal Cosmetics or Koora Mal Perfumes where the name has the word garbage in it? I don't think there would be any creative way to market those products. I started coming up with other business names where there is an inherent contradiction such as The Gandhi School of Fashion, Gandhi Hair Salon, and Mahatma Gandhi School of Kick Boxing.

Former President Donald Trump also provided some ideas: Trump School of Diplomacy, Trump School of Etiquette, and Donald J. Trump Monastery.

Some new business names could also be inspired by existing business names. Here are a few examples: McDonald's Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, Ruth Steakhouse Institute of Ethical Treatment of Animals.

As the influence and wealth of Indian Americans increases, businesses in the US could find inspiration from Indian mythology: Shakuni Poker Room, Arjuna Archery Range, and Yudhisthira Casino Royale.

Indian American businesses could also come up with creative business names inspired by Indian mythology: Draupadi Sari Boutique and Kansa Jewelers. Indian doctors may attract new customers by pandering to their ambivalence of their current gender with a unique name like Shikhandi Gender Reassignment Surgery. That will make an interesting sales pitch with some not-so-well-known-facts from Indian mythology to even Mahabaratha aficionados!

In the business world, people impress each other by using buzz words. So, I came up with some new names that had no relevance to any medical condition known. At least, not yet.

Nature Deficit Disorder, Fiscal Year Hypochondria, and Slow Arousal Deficiency.

How about names of some diseases coined by Math wizards? Here are a few: Hyperbola Tangential Deficiency, Pythagorean Right Angle Alignment Syndrome and Differential Quotient Abnormality.

Hollywood movies and popular culture can provide some interesting takes on new business names. Harry Potter Optometry, Darth Vader Asthma Center, Elle Woods LSAT Prep, Norman Bates Motel, and Hannibal Lecter Meat Balls. I would recommend avoiding a business name like O. J. Simpson Marriage Counseling and Bill Cosby and Associates, M.D., Gynecologists. You never know how that could end up.

I wonder what my name could be if I could adopt the Native American tradition of highlighting one's strengths and attributes. Perhaps “Funny-For-Life," “Makes-People-Smile," or “Witty-With-Words." I asked my wife and she responded, “Too-Cheap-For-Chocolates" and “Hates-Washing-Dishes." I asked my sons, and they came up with “Gives-useless-Dating-Advice," “Too-Tight-For-Taco Bell," and “Crazy-for-Chappals." On second thought, I think I like the Indian system of naming better. Raajeev. Simple, easy, and effortless.


Los Angeles-based comedian Raajeev Aggerwhil has starred in Nickelodeon's TV show 100 Things to Do Before High School and also acted in the film based on the television series. See his videos at