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To Change or not to Change

Me and my girl friends have been brainstorming over this issue for some time now, whether or not to change the maiden surname after marriage. Till few years back, this was not an issue at all. It was pretty obvious for girls to change their surnames after marriage. It is a norm, something mandatory. But over the recent past, there has been a change, within me and the thought process of girls at large. It is no more mandatory for a girl to give up their maiden surname and embrace that of her husband’s. She can very well carry on with her own surname and be very much married and committed to her spouse.

When I was a kid, I wished that when I get married, I get a good surname, better than my present one. So much so, that one of my grand moms once joked, don’t fall in love with a guy who has a lousy surname or you have to bear the brunt too!But now, my surname has been a part of me, it is not about good or bad. It is just me!

By the time I reached college, I read more and my eyes of wisdom had opened a bit more than before. With debates & discussions in classrooms and outside made the idea of my identity even stronger. I am bearing a certain identity for over 20 years now. How can I just shun that and replace it with another one? Does changing my surname bears the certificate of love for my husband and my new family? If that is so, then why can’t my husband and new family prove their love for me and just let me carry on with my maiden surname?

What irks me most is, the husbands can go ahead and enjoy their established identity whereas the girls have to undergo the process of changing surname, altering certificates, bank accounts, credit cards and God knows so many things! One solution for me is, no matter how wishy washy it might seem to be, the husband and wife can add each others surname at the end of their respective names. For example, few years back, a Bengali model cum actress got married and her surname became Mitra Haq (maiden and husband’s surname respectively), and her husbands surname was changed to Mitra Haq too! I found that quite amazing & cool!

I have seen some ladies from South who use their husband’s first name as surname. For example, Vinita Raman or Geetha Suresh. But hardly do guys carry their wife’s name as their second name, such as Raman Vinita or Suresh Geetha. It would have been so cool na!

I don’t have any issue with women shunning their own surname and accepting their husband’s one. It is after all their personal choice. I have a little bit more respect for those who keep their own second name and add the newly acquired surname at the end of their names. But the women who are capable of maintaining their original identity even after marriage, I have huge respect for them & salute to them for being able to do it.

The husbands deserve a large part of kudos for letting their wife be! Without their support, it would be pretty difficult. Be it maintaining their identity or carrying on with their careers, support from husbands and in laws is a huge back up.

I wish to write Sreetama Datta even after marriage. Even if I get married to a guy whose surname is Dutta (same surname with just a different vowel), I would not change it. I would really appreciate my would be husband (whoever the unlucky person is!) and his family to wholeheartedly support me on this. Kindly understand, it is not an act to malign the tradition or culture or the family values, nor would I disrespect your family in any way, but it is a small role I would play for myself to let me be. What I strongly feel is, this is a very personal choice and decision and this much should be respected. After all, what’s in a name, err, surname?!