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Named By The Stars, With Naveen Farrani

The Namedropping podcast logo, a coffee cup with a scratched-out name
Art by Tara Jacoby

While recording this week's episode of Namedropping, we caught our guest in the middle of a name transition. At the time of this interview, they were Naveen Kundanmal, but as of publication, they are Naveen Farrani. Both halves of that name are relatively new. The first name changed for gender (they are trans and nonbinary), and the last name for marriage (they did a Sindhi remix of their partner's surname).

In terms of executing a wholesale name swap, Naveen is not alone in their family. As we discuss in the episode, their mother changed her first, middle, and last names after marriage, to align with an astrological recommendation. So when Naveen came out and adopted a new name, they had reason to believe their father could keep up with the changes: "'In the time that I've been alive, I never heard you call [Mom] her [old name] Kalpana. Like, by accident or anything.' And he was like, 'Ooh, that's a good point.'"

Overall, it's an episode about honoring old traditions—in this instance, Hindu astrology and Sindhi naming conventions—while staking out a new identity. Naveen, who works at Equality Texas, also walks us through the painstaking bureaucratic details of a name change in the Lone Star State.

A transcript for the episode can be found here.

If you've never listened to the pod before, check out our season opener with comedian and mathematician Sridhar Ramesh.

Subscribe to Namedropping on AppleSpotify, or wherever else you listen to podcasts. Here’s our RSS feed. You can email us at, or follow us on Instagram. We hope you're enjoying the new season.

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