“There’s not much to tell. ‘Jai’ means ‘victory’ in Hindi and ‘Chandrakant’ means ‘moonstone.’ My family had been jewelers for a long time, and we’ve always been famous for grinding moonstones.”

“I’m sure you’ve heard me give my full name as Myassa bint Leya bint Raaheel al-Thurayya,” said Myassa, “usually when I want to piss somebody off.”

“Well, ‘bint’ means ‘daughter of.’ In most names you’d say ‘son of X, daughter of Y,’ or ‘son of X, grandson of Y’ but I decided to mix it up. So I have my mother Leya and grandmother Raaheel, which you will almost never see in a real name.”

“And ‘al-Thurayya’ means ‘of the Pleiades,’ which is fitting given where I came from.”

“What about Myasssa?”

“Well, it’s not the given name they slapped on me when I was born, if that’s what you’re asking. That name meant ‘chaste,’ which doesn’t really fit in with Dad’s obsession for grandchildren, but whatever.”

“So why’d you choose it?”

“Well, believe it or not, my family was actually descended from the rules of a tribe. Not close enough to actually get many perks, but we were well-off enough that we qualified for the honorific ‘sheikh’ for the lads and ‘shaykhah’ for the ladies.”

“You’ve lost me,”

“Well, as a shaykhah, it only makes sense for me to be known as Shaykhah Myassa,” Myassa laughed.

Jai, perplexed, turned the syllables over in his mouth. “Shake-a my-ass-a,” he said at length, comprehension breaking like dawn across his face before he collapsed in helpless laughter.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!
  • Advertisements