Our Indian society has numerous parameters to define a girl's character; her loyalty towards her husband and dedication towards her in-laws. It keeps putting you on a test module one after the other until it proves you a failure.
I have always been perceived as a rebellion when viewed through the lens of tradition, mindset and stereotype.
Couple of weeks back, we had a function in our society. A few residents contributed towards the event and I was one of them. All went well and everything was done in the perfect manner. Then, a 'Thank You' note was published to pay gratitude to all contributors who contributed in any way. In that list, I found my first name suffixed with my husband's surname. Though I have no problem with that, but those people clearly knew that I still write my father's surname with my name.
For a split second, I thought what's with people associating everything with somebody's spouse? As Shakespeare had said, "what's in a name?" I just dismissed the thought.
The following weekend, I had my son's PTM at his school. I wrote my name next to my son's name while filling up the feedback form. The attendant curiously said, "Ma'am, You have given the wrong names". I looked at her for a full minute & then said, "No, I have given the right names." She looked puzzled. I said further, "My son's surname is same as his father's. Mine is same as my father's. Hope that's not a problem?"
She smiled and nodded and so did my son who had asked me once why his mom had a different surname? I was able to convince him that it's been my identity way before my marriage. I don't need to change my identity just because I got married to a man with a different surname. He was assured and in his innocence, pledged to support his future wife to carry her maiden name.
Yes, I am still carrying my father's surname, even after 10 years of our marriage. I am happily married. I proudly introduce myself with my maiden name without any stigma.
I personally feel that my life and my name is a gift to me from my parents. I was born because of them to live a happy life in this beautiful world. I got my characteristics, my features & my habits from them. They shaped me for what I am today.
When I am still carrying their genes, why can't I carry the identity given by them? My identity-My Name. When a boy can carry the same name for his entire life, why can't a girl do the same?
I am not a commodity whose label has to be changed as and when required. We talk about gender equality and miss the most basic thing- Our Identity.
Before becoming a wife to somebody or D-I-L to a family, she is a daughter first. Before becoming a #Woman, she is a girl first who loves to carry everything that belongs to her parents all her life.
I remember one of my cousin's happiness when she was getting married to somebody with the same surname as hers. She was happy because she would be known by the same name even after marriage. I don't have any hard feelings for the people who do not agree with my point of view but I have the full freedom to not adhere to any stereotypes.
Though we’ve had a few experiences in the past where we were asked to provide evidence of our marriage because of different surnames. Sometimes it was funny and sometimes absolutely irritating. Our marriage certificate is something that we need to keep handy in case we are traveling to some place. But all these hassles are worth it when I stand for something I believe in.