How I Named My Baby: Aadya Dash

How I Named My Baby: Aadya Dash

Puja, a service analyst, and Partha, an engineer, are a Bangladeshi-Canadian couple living in Toronto. Their daughter, Aadya Dash, was born in September 2022.

Here, we speak with Puja about how she and Partha named their baby girl.

Tell me how you named Aadya!

We first had to decide which letter her name should start with. My mother-in-law and father-in-law both have names that start with P and used them for all their children. Puja also starts with P, so Partha and I wondered if we should keep the tradition going.

But instead of the first letter, we chose to give our daughter a name that starts with the last letter of our names, A. It felt like a new beginning.

We wanted a short and sweet name, which helped narrow it down. Another factor was her due date, October 2. Durga Puja is the biggest religious festival for us, and in 2022 it was at the beginning of October. Durga is the goddess of power — she’s a strong woman. We wanted to pick a name for our daughter that resonated with that.

We researched names that related to Goddess Durga, ideally something short and sweet, uncommon but trendy. Then we found Aadya! It means “first power” and is another name of Durga. Aadya felt perfect — it starts with A, has five letters, and means something beautiful.

How do you feel about your own name, and how did it influence your choice?

Puja means “worship” in our language, and part of Partha’s name relates to Lord Krishna. It was very important to us to choose a name for Aadya with a nice meaning behind it.

When my aunt heard the news that I was born, she was performing puja. She suggested it to my parents, who liked the name. They were very much on trend! Puja was a common name in nineties Bollywood movies.

Growing up, my name was so popular. There were two others in my class. That was another reason I wanted to pick something uncommon, because any time you go to an Indian store or neighborhood, you will find another Puja! It’s a very common name in Bangladesh and India. Spelling-wise, Puja is a bit different, because the majority of people spell it Pooja.

Maybe Aadya will become more trendy down the road, but at least for now, I know my daughter’s name is not very common!

What are the trendy names in your social circle?

We hang out with a lot of people from Bangladesh, many with Muslim backgrounds. They have children named Mohamed, Ahmed, Issa, and Maryam.

We know other Bangladeshi and Indian children named Rani, Kinjal, and Attia. My neighbors have a daughter named Anubhuti, which means “feelings”. Nowadays, people are trying to pick uncommon names, but somehow they still end up being common — I know three kids named Preety!

Did you have any big fears related to baby names?

No! Names are just names. And luckily we are in Canada, so changing a name isn’t a big deal. If somebody doesn’t like their name, they can easily change it.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting the baby name process?

If you want to name a baby like Elon Musk, just go for it! But I suggest picking a name with meaning, especially if it’s important to your cultural background. I always look for the meaning and story behind anyone's name. I think it can impact the child's personality too, at some level.

Does Aadya have her own space in your house?

Not yet, but soon she will have a nursery. We want it to have a bird theme because we have birds. She is very curious about my bird Putul, whose name means “doll”.

We bought her miniature parrots from a place called Bird Kingdom in Niagara. We want her to be familiar with birds from the get-go because eventually she and Putul will be buddies.

What are the cool things for parents and kids to do in your area?

Mostly I just incorporate her into my daily life. We hang out with my birds and go to the beach when it’s warm.

It’s nice to be outside, even when it’s cold. When Aadya is older, I’m excited to take her on walks, garden together, and play in the snow in the winter.

Kids in our neighborhood are always outside running around, riding bikes and scooters. She’ll do those things when she’s older.

Partha wants her to play more, because he’s more into games. And I want her to learn music. She already has an interest — any time a song comes up on YouTube, she is interested and happy.

Puja's (and Aadya's) Favorite Things

Koala Toy

Collapsible Baby Bathtub

Momcozy Baby Wrap

Starfish Swaddle

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Thank you so much, Puja!

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About the Author

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm has been writing for Nameberry since 2015. She has contributed stories on the top 2020s names, Gen Z names, and cottagecore baby names. Sophie is Nameberry’s resident Name Guru to the Stars, where she suggests names for celebrity babies. She also manages the Nameberry Instagram and Pinterest.

Sophie Kihm's articles on names have run on People, Today, The Huffington Post, and more. She has been quoted as a name expert by The Washington Post, People, The Huffington Post, and more. You can follow her personally on Instagram or Pinterest, or contact her at Sophie lives in Chicago.