My parents named me Deepen. I love my name. Deepen means light. Specifically, “deep” refers to a ghee lamp (candle) used in poojas (prayer services) and the “en” is a suffix that means by or from. The special light that comes from a ghee lamp in religious ceremonies is Deepen. Linguists might criticize this etymology; that won’t change the facts that my name is cool, my mother imbued my name with that meaning, and the label fits.

The name “Deepen Kothari” can be difficult for non-Indians. Getting a table reservation invariably involves saying my name three times, then spelling it. The good news is that you don’t need to remember my name.  I hope you not only think of me as your neighbor, but also as your friend.  Just vote for your friend.  I’m Deepen “My Friend” Kothari on the ballot.