We turned 6 today! February 14 2020
6 years ago, on this night, Tina, Siljith (one of our closest friends) and I were having dinner at our home in Bangalore. The topic of discussion was the name for the new company we were starting (after Manta Ray had to close operations in end Dec 2013). We’d tried out more than 50+ names by then and even shortlisted 5, but we weren’t really happy about any of them.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, the word KOKAACHI sprung to my mind and I blurted it out. The Kokaachi is the monster our grandmothers (or mothers/ aunts) told us about when we were kids – a creature that came to catch little children who made a fuss about eating food. It was a scary monster from our childhood, the star attraction in the first story we remember being told.
Tina wasn’t sure at first; the evil, negative connotations of the childhood story worried her… and it would take another three weeks for her to warm up to the word and love it. In the meantime, we polled our close friends, brothers and families… and most of them loved the name. Rajiv (Eipe) told us he loved this more than any of the other options we had thought of, that the name came from our roots – his feedback was a huge eye-opener for us, ‘cos we hadn’t considered this at all. Another friend (I forget who) remarked that it sounded like the name of a Japanese gaming company; we took that as a positive sign, that Kokaachi had an international flavour.
But the most exciting element was the possibilities the name offered us. All the other names we had thought of were standalone English words or combinations, and none of them had the website urls we’d wanted. But when we typed “kokaachi” into the search bar, even Google didn’t know what it was. We immediately knew we had something special in our hands - the name offered us an infinite canvas to explore and imagine and create with – and we’ve had the good fortune of doing this with our friends and collaborators and their Kokaachis, and will continue to do so.
On the flip side, we’d anticipated (and faced in these past six years) snarky comments, smirks, jibes and jokes made at the expense of our name – at the post office, when we introduce ourselves to strangers, when people read the name on our masthead at book fairs, events or flea markets. But, the name immediately transforms into a conversation starter, people are curious about the name, why we chose this, and we love to tell this story about our origins. And we love how KOkaaCHI contains the name of our beloved, home city where we have made our base.
KOKAACHI wouldn’t exist today without the kindness and good will of so many, many people. From Prabha (Mallya) who designed our look + identity (and the various explorations which you see here), to all the storytellers, creators and illustrators who have worked, collaborated and published with us; from the clients who have commissioned us to bring their stories to life, to the mentors who have guided us; and our friends and family who have stood by our side, given us courage and supported us in more ways that we can count or ever repay – we are forever thankful to each and every one of them.
We have so many memories from these 6 years, and as we enter the 7th year of our life as Kokaachi, we excitedly look forward to the new ones that await us!