What’s in a name anyway?


Akay’s comment from yesterday set me thinking. I did see the furore caused by Mr Sanjay Dutt and his new wife Manyata. I saw this post by Mad Momma which in turn linked to Goofy Mama and a whole slew of posts debating this issue. I concur wholeheartedly with the spirited women and am proud to put this badge up. I don’t think I can say anything that has not been said already.

However, this comment set my thought  train on an altogether different track. Never did I feel the importance of my name than at the time my marriage was fixed with the eminently like-able K. As the wedding day neared, I gave much  thought to the whole concept of changing my name. I felt the idea abhorrent. As much as I was getting to know K, I realized nothing could compel me to give up my identity of the past 25 years. I was born G Lakshmi and I would be G Lakshmi all my life I thought vehemently. My dad (whom I absolutely adore) is someone I looked up to. Carrying his name as part of mine was a honor I would not give up without a fight I thought to myself. I admit I had often wondered while in high school why I only had my dad’s name as my surname and why my mom’s name was never part of it. I consoled myself that both their names started with G and so I could use it to mean both their names. Mad Momma explains this feeling well. I was nodding my head all the way through her post.

Anyways, back to the time around my wedding, the drama I anticipated over my not changing my name never happened. Nobody gave it a second thought. My FIL asked once and I said it was a hassle changing my passport and such and the topic was never discussed. K couldn’t care less about me changing or not changing my name. At least it has never been raised to this day. Just as he loves his identity of being his parents’ child so also he realizes it is important for me to retain my identity.

With my dad passing away not too long ago, my name is now a souvenir of sorts. Each time I see my name in full I feel pride. I feel love. I feel the warmth of my dad’s affection over me. His name is something of a guardian angel for me. A hook to the past and a bridge to the future. Over time, I may sometimes feel inclined to include K’s name with mine but there will always be an “and” in the middle. We are a couple. It is him and I.

10 thoughts on “What’s in a name anyway?

  1. You said it. Even if the name is my father’s… well I look up to him and have done so for 24 years of my life. I couldn’t just drop it and move on. And you brought tears to my eyes with your line about it being a souvenir… I think a lot of us hang on to it also as a souvenir of a life that we will never go back to.

    @MadMomma: Especially true for me. My dad was and will always be a person I look up to and feel honored to have as a part of mine. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a note.

  2. I understand and agree, unfortunately, I was not wise or mature for me to think so back then. I regret it now. Especially since I love and respect my dad and he raised us sisters like his sons.
    Maybe one day I will change it back too, until then, my blog will carry his name forward. Perhaps that’s a better and a more far-reaching mode than what I do in real life 🙂

    @rads: LOL! your blog certainly is a big part of your life and probably makes more of a statement 🙂

  3. I agree with you fully.My father’s name is one of the few things i have of him now.I am going to hold on to it as long as i could.As for Mr and Mrs Dutt I would like to tie them in a sack and throw them into the river.

    @Anila: Very true. Am glad you decided to keep your name. Re Dutt family ROFLMAO 😀

  4. Well written! Whether we retain a name or not, at least we don’t want to hear it from a criminal and his wife who didn’t even retain her original first name let alone the last name. What identity does she have?

    Good to see the more members are joining in our campaign ‘Say NO to criminals in politics’.

    @Solilo: Thanks for stopping by! My pleasure to be part of the campaign. Most often it is a sense of helplessness that makes people silent bystanders in their own lives. I am really glad that there seems to be a spurt in efforts to get involved.

  5. I am glad all his meaningless statements atleast has generated the no to criminals in politics badges:)

    Ofcourse, I whole heartedly agree with you on retaining names. I have also seen a cousin and a friend willingly change their names with much pride. Its a choice for them. I wont do it and my father doesnt want me to do it either. Its choice.

    But the whole fundamental that he is doing this to garner votes and there are people who would vote for him due to these views, that troubles me lot more. I hope women vote in full power against him.

    @Sachita: Well said! More power to women in determining what they want for themselves.

  6. I completely agree. That was a name that I was born with, had for 25 years before I married, and why should I change it for someone (even if it is someone that I respect and love, and share my entire life with). This sort of regressive thinking is what you get from half-baked star-kids who have had everything in a platter their entire life. As Mad Momma had written in her article, changing times call for change in traditions.

    @Akay: True. Very true. I guess the idea is that the choice of name to keep should rest with the person concerned rather than others around her.

  7. One topic that is close to heart and I always argue about!!! MM,Laksh & A-kay and others seem to agree with me. What is it with people who just cannot understand the simple logic.

    I love my IDENTITY and it is as simple as that. This so called ‘First World’ also has the same mentality.

    @Manchus: Can’t agree more. In fact this whole surname concept is even more etched outside of India than in there. I don’t think prior to the British we had a concept of surnames. Gothrams probably served to identify your lineage.

  8. Absolutely right! Just like everyone has the freedom of expression and everything, one surely deserves the freedom to choose his/her own identity. And after reading ‘mad momma’s’ whole blog, i really feel like saying this: “Dude, good job!”. The way she expressed her anger and her own views…i am seriously glad that people like you and her post blogs!

    @Shalu: I love the way MM expresses herself too. Unbridled is what I think 🙂 BTW I think she is from Delhi too.

  9. Applause Laksh!!! I cant stop feeling elated while I red it. You might even remember one of my early days posts relating to this topic. It wasn’t insisted by my Inlaws family, not G indeed, it was the “Notary Public” who made a big scene of it when I went to renew my pasport and add the spouse name. Since then my name carried G behing my name. But I know G felt happy about it. Being born in a matriarchic family I carried my mom’s family name as initials and my dad’s name behind. I felt far so proud to be called Deepa.P.Madhu. But now no Palat; No Madhu; Why so? Then Why not G having my name attached or as initials? Why so much partiality to this womanhood? I definitely want these “Times To Change” and hope it will. I am so happy that you spoke up. Tight hugs Laksh!!!

    @Deepa: perhaps in time you can express your individuality in your own way like rads said. To me it is the thought that counts.

  10. I am planning to mail a couple of newspapers about our ‘Say No To Criminals in Politics’ campaign. Please let me know if I you mind my linking you up too. You can mail me at goofymumma@gmail.com, by noon tomm. Also please mail me about any other blogs you know can be linked.

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