This is a major vent out post. And on an issue which turns out to be, in several cases, a question on a woman’s rights, or let me term it as choice. It was yesterday during our evening walks that my mother was telling me the workplace gossip. One of her colleague’s daughter has got hitched recently. Now, the boy’s family was “encouraging” her to change her last name to that of her husband’s. I was dismayed. And I let out a loud and long “Whyyyyyyy on earth are they doing so?” immediately. My mother eye rolled and gave me a “Isn’t this obvious” look. And, I asked her, why did you change your surname, Maa? The answer to which was that “It was expected of me.” Being a teacher, she had an interesting tale to share.
She got married in February and right in March, joined back. March being the examination season in our country, she got busy in a round of examination duties. Now, as we all know, every teacher has to mark her presence in the attendance sheet. I’m talking about 1992, when they didn’t have the fancy electronic devices to do that by marking the finger impression. So, the peon arrived with the list and she got busy looking for her name. Since she has a fancy, though a ‘commonly popular’ name (that’s how I put it, Hah!), she had to search for her’s through the surname. Failing to do so, she sent the peon back to the incharge to edit the list. The peon, dillydallying, came back, announcing in a monotone that her name was there. She got irritated on checking it twice, and failing to locate it, was about to march to the incharge’s den, when the man in question appeared himself, and pointed out to her the name, which to her surprise had been changed. As in, they had already changed the last name. She had no say, and embarrassed (I didn’t understand why, though), she complied, for it had to happen anyway. Now, this was a classic example of the society forcibly putting into effect, it’s own rules down the woman’s throat. But my bone of contention was that why, in 2016, were we still in a dilemma when it came to the last name of a married woman? Why, oh why?
Isn’t it a woman’s choice entirely? If she wishes to keep her maiden name, good. If she wishes to keep the maiden name as the middle name or edit it out completely, that’s okay too (though, the latter decision could also be a desperate attempt just in case you have a hideous surname, man! Yeah? Heh). Some people choose not to have a surname at all, but that’s another debate altogether. My question is, does a mere changing of your last name indicate your love, happiness and feeling of togetherness to the new family you step into? Is that a marker of sorts? I am of the view that changing the surname is baseless. My mother considers it to be a hint of my adamancy and arrogance. Is it so? No! I have a sexy surname, and I have every right to keep it. Hehehe pardon my naive remark. Though I do have something against women who completely change their identity and merge it with that of their better halves, that is, adding their husband’s full name (name and last name) to their first name. How utterly claustrophobic does it look. And according to me it is a marker of dependency. For to me, it only sets out to cement your status as a commodity, which was transferred from one male to another. And to add to that, if a woman herself does that, joyfully, then, needless to say, patriarchy will have the last laugh.
So, ladies, take the reins of your life and identity in your hands. And do have a choice. And strength enough to voice it. And stand by it.