How To Name It? ...Naming Houses

Mayank Pokharna, Ambareesha Athikunte, Subbu Athikunte

How to Name It? is a famous music album by Ilaiyaraaja, one of my favourite music composers. The story goes that he didn't know what to name the album after he composed it; he left it at that and the album's name remained 'How to Name It?'

Although rare, some buildings don't come with any names when we onboard them. We don't have strong opinions about naming houses. We prefer owners give a name to the house; it saves us from unnecessary thinking. We are so terrible at naming houses, we take the easiest approach; we just start calling the house by owner's name. It's natural after all. Owner's name is the first thing that we know about a new property. That's how Kiran got its name (that's the name of the owner). We realized it was a terrible idea and now force owners to suggest a name, and it has worked out really well. For owners its a personal thing — something that they deeply care about — they spend a lot of time naming their properties and it shows off in a positive way. See some examples:

Mirai

Mirai (未来) is a Japanese given name, meaning 'the future'. The owner had lived in Japan and fell in love with it, I think that inspired him to choose this name for his building.

Oudumbara

According to the Buddhist sutras, the Sanskrit word 'Oudumbara' means 'an auspicious flower from heaven.' It may mean 'happy butterfly' in Kannada, but I don't have a citation. The house belongs a scientist.

Easiest approach for someone like us is to name all the buildings with English names; it makes the decision process easier — this is what every startup in this space has done. They are short, easy to pronounce, and sound millennial. But I am partial to old-school, traditional, non-English names. Do I sound ancient? Probably. See these: Sapthagiri Nilaya, Shravanthi Nest, Jai Mata, Aditi. They are a mouthful and sound beautiful. Moreover, they highlight a relation between the house and its owners. The name represents something the owner has felt at that point of time — Happy. Aspiration. Blissful.

Not having a uniform naming is actually a good thing. One small downside we see with this approach is — repetition. We now have multiple Guru Krupa's and multiple buildings named Sumukha.