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Winter 2010

Second Place in Kahani's Fifth Annual Writing Contest

Shayla’s Name Hunt 
Riya Kalra, 10

“How was your Friday, Aashney” my mom yells.

“Good” I reply. Five seconds later my sister storms threw the door. She’s like an angry thunderstorm bursting from out of a cloud.

My mom asks “What’s wrong.”

Shayla, my little sister says “I’m changing my name!”

“What!” I shout.

“There are too many people named Shayla” she says.

“So, what’s your new name” I question starting to find this funny. Mom glares at me and that look means don’t encourage her.

So mom says “Aashney, go do your homework.”

“Okay” I say. I run upstairs and crouch down near the stairs so I can still hear what they are saying.

“Shayla” my mom says “You’re just kidding, right.”

“No!” Shayla answers. As I listen I trot over to my room and start on my homework. I know Shayla will forget about this before dinner time.

As we sit down for dinner Shayla announces to my dad, she is changing her name. I’m shocked; I thought she would forget about this name changing business by now.

My dad says “Really, what’s your new name.”

“Can we talk about this later” my mom mouths to my dad.

“So when’s uncle Ronak coming” I say to change the conversation.

My mom says “He’s coming tomorrow. We have to go pick him up at the airport.”

It is a warm and sunny Saturday morning. We are at the airport picking up my uncle Ronak. Uncle Ronak walks out of the airport doors and spots us right away.

He says “You guys have grown so much!”

Shayla shouts “Uncle Ronak, I’m changing my name.”

“What! Oh! Wow! Why!” uncle Ronak blurts.

Shayla continues “There are just too many Shayla’s in this world.”

“Well, I was thinking how about Anjali” uncle Ronak suggests.

“Anjali” I interrupt.

Shayla says “Anjali is such a sad name, but thanks!”

“Well how about I take you guys to the beach tomorrow” uncle says trying to change the topic.

The next day we drive down to the beach. After a few minutes at the beach Shayla says “Let’s build a castle.”

“Okay” I tell her. We sit down on the blistering sand and begin making a sand castle.

I tell Shayla “Your name could be Alisha.”

“That’s the name of my friend’s dog” Shayla says rudely.

“Oh” I whisper.

Then, uncle Ronak comes over to us and says “Let’s go fly the new kite I got you, Shayla.”

As they walk to the kite he bends down and says “I changed my name to Aarin when I was little. I didn’t like the change one bit. It was so confusing, sometimes I was Aarin and sometimes I was Ronak. The name Ronak describes me, gives me character and life and it’s hard to think of me being anyone else. I finally realized that my name characterizes my culture, my beliefs, my values, my roots, but most of all my name defines who I was and am.” Thus, Shayla’s name hunt was over.

Contest Info