Indian Name Change

My middle name – Miriam – means "sea of bitterness and sorrow," but that's nothing compared to Indian girls with names like Nakusa or Nakushi, which translate as "unwanted." Yikes. In a ceremony on Oct. 22, though, girls took back power by choosing new names for themselves.

Girls are, to an extent, unwanted in India – it's hugely expensive to marry off girls, while boys bring home a massive dowry as well as a bride. Hospitals in India are actually forbidden to reveal the gender of a fetus, lest parents decide to abort a female baby-to-be. The percentage of girls being born is still dropping, though – from 927 girls for every 1,000 boys to 914 girls for every 1,000 boys.

In the ceremony, 285 girls from the central Indian district of Satara chose new names inspired by Bollywood stars, Hindu goddesses or more positive meanings. I say, congrats to the girls on giving themselves new names and – hopefully – a brighter future.