|Image courtesy: Google|
I wouldn't say that one’s identity is tied to a name but I do believe that a name, over the years becomes a part (however small) of one’s identity. We grow up being known by a particular name. Some people choose to keep them; some change them of their own accord or under pressure. Ultimately it is just a matter of choice. However, it is more common among women than men to change their surname after marriage. Some of the reasons given by people who prefer to change their names post marriage are:
1. Everyone in the family will have the same surname, creating a sense of belonging and it is easier to identify members of a family.
2. It avoids hassles especially while travelling abroad, inheriting property etc.
3. It helps the new daughter in law adjust easily and accept the new family as hers.
I’m accepting of the fact that everyone has a right to choose what they want for themselves. But I would definitely want to keep my original name. It is a name I have grown to like over two decades and a half. Everyone knows me by this name. I have been Vidya Subramanian for my friends, teachers, family, employers, colleagues, students and many others. Even my husband and his family got introduced to me and even liked me while I sported this name. My certificates of birth, my achievements in academics, sports and art have been inked with my maiden name. Why would I want to change that? Is there any pressing reason? Not that I know of.
About blending into the new family, I have accepted my husband’s family even without a surname change. I am as much a daughter as I am a daughter-in-law. And a xerox copy of our marriage certificate is enough to convince authorities that we are married (whenever there is a need), so there is nothing to spoil our plans of going abroad. So what if surnames differ within a family? It doesn't make a person a stranger at all. My mom has kept her name since birth, but we still are a loving family. Isn't it strange that the same is not expected of men? Don’t they too have to accept the girl’s parents?
And having said that, why should anyone change a part of themselves for any relationship? Two individuals willingly sharing their lives, love and family without compromising on their identities - that’s marriage for me. It is bad enough that my name is tagged with my father’s, when I would have preferred just “Vidya”. I’m too lazy to take the arduous journey to Indian government offices to add, subtract, replace and modify my name. So I let it be. Vidya Subramanian it is, from birth to death and even after!!
P.S: I understand that people have their own reasons for keeping/changing/modifying their names. To each one his own! I'm thankful that my husband finds the idea of my name change equally absurd.
This post was written for the IndiSpire topic Should a woman change her maiden surname after marriage?