My name, just like everyone else’s, was kept once it stuck the fancy of my parents. I grew up recognizing my name as my ‘only’ identity. It meant the whole world to me and somehow I always felt that my name wasn’t complete if it did not have the last name attached to it. Just like all kids, I grew up writing my name innumerably on books and diaries (thank God never on desks and walls) in appreciation of how wonderful the name looked and sounded.
Anyway, everything in my life, with respect to my name, was hunky dory, till I got married and all hell broke lose. No, my husband did not demand that I change my name, nor did my in-laws. They were okay if I wanted to use my maiden name forever. But, the whimsical one that I am, I wanted to alter the name and make it sound ‘contemporary’. (C’mon people, I was young and wanted to experiment, don’t give me that look!) Therefore, I decided to use my maiden name and hyphened it with my husband’s last name. There. I had a fancy name and friends came up with a variety of nicknames for me based on my new name. I was thrilled that I had coined myself a new identity. Only to discover later that celebrities borrowed the trick and knocked one out towards me.
I was, still, hell bent on keeping the name, since I did not know what else to do. It was not long when I was required to get the identification proofs made and I set out to get my first identification in my married name. The first target was getting the PAN (Permanent Identification Number) done, which was already in place with my maiden name. Went online and filled up the application for name change, only to discover that the marriage certificate was not valid till I have a bank statement in my new name. Off to the bank and they claimed the marriage certificate is required. Since the same was in Hindi (certified by the Panchayat) it was rejected immediately. They required a voter id or a passport in my new name for altering on the account. Phew!
What I’m going to tell you now, will draw a lot of jaw-drops and raised eyebrows; the plea is ‘please don’t judge’. I DO NOT have a passport or a voter’s id *covers face with the palms*. Off I marched to the Passport Office, anyway. Applied in the new name.
‘Where are the proofs?’
‘I have the proofs in my maiden name…’
‘Err, how can you have your passport made in your maiden name when you are married!’ She was horrified as if I had asked her to chop off her thumb!
Back to square one…
I understood too well that getting a thing done here would be a mammoth task so I retired. I finally decided to keep my maiden name.
Along the way, when I took up a job (my existing one) I had applied with my married name. At the moment no proof was required so when I wanted to alter my name back to my maiden name (why! for heaven’s sake) I was asked if I was divorced! Huh!! Discovery of sorts, as well was, my e-mail id was recorded with my maiden name and my office directory name was mentioned as my married name. I usually get the question, ‘So what is your real name?’ Aargh!!
After this whole rigmarole now whenever some one asks me the dreaded question again….I go- William Shakespeare! After all, what’s in a name?
Image courtesy : Google