A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Manipulative and dominating? The labels I have to live with.

Posted by Pepper on June 7, 2012

This one is going to be a rant. I apologize for engaging in such a stale discussion, but having crossed my endurance limit, this is something I have to talk about.

I have, like a lot of other people, defied tradition by choosing to retain my own name after marriage. Oh by the way, what is the deal with calling it your ‘maiden name’? Hell, your name is your name, no matter what. Where does ‘maiden’ fit in? Anyway, I digress.

After we got married, I really did not see any need to change my last name, or even add Mint’s name to mine. I am emotionally attached to my last name. It is a family name, one that is shared by every member. It brings with it a certain history, other associations and traits that connect me with my family. As per tradition, a girl is supposed to drop her own last name and take on her husband’s name after marriage. Not being the kind to follow tradition blindly, I rejected this idea immediately. If there is any reasonable explanation behind this custom, I’d really like to hear it.

Honestly, I have absolutely nothing against women who choose to change their last name, or add their husband’s last name to theirs after they get married, if they do it out of their own FREE WILL. What I cannot stand is the societal pressure on those who choose to not do it.

Let me say my family name is ‘X’. That makes me Pepper X. Mint, like a lot of people in South India, does not have a family name. Since he has to comply with regulations formed by the Western world, he uses his dad’s name as his last name. Let me call it ‘Y’. That makes him Mint Y. Unlike me, he is not attached to his last name at all. Mainly because, it is not even a family name.

Unfortunately, the world just cannot accept me as Pepper X and him as Mint Y. People assume I am Pepper Y. Every time we get an invitation card, I see myself addressed as Pepper Y. It bothers me, and I don’t know what I can do about it. The other day I happened to browse through my aunt’s phone book, to make sure she has my new number saved, and I saw my name saved as Pepper Y. This, despite telling her a lot of times that I continue to be Pepper X. They just refuse to get it.

I am working on my passport renewal, and I don’t even want to talk about how much of a struggle it was to convince the agent of my choice in retaining my own last name. Why do I have to even give him an explanation you ask? Well, because he refused to do my job. After a couple of lengthy arguments with him, I hung up and decided to figure out another way. It’s sad, when I have to struggle so much to accomplish something that is well within my rights.

My dad, for the longest time has been telling me to add Mint’s name to mine. Why, I ask him? He says a common name links the couple and establishes their marital status more evidently. And why do I need to establish my marital status? He says I don’t need to. A common name according to him, publicly unifies the couple and for him, it brings in a feel good factor. Umm. Hmm.

I’ve given this a lot of thought. Would we save ourselves the umpteen administrative hassles if we have a common name? Sometime ago, I discussed this with Mint. He asked me if I wanted a new name altogether. One that we create and share, one that didn’t originally belong to either of us. I toyed with the idea for a while, before tossing the thought aside. I wasn’t willing to drop my own last name. To add another new name at the end would sound silly.

We gave it some more thought. After which Mint came up with another idea. He said if we had to have a common name, he would change his last name to mine. I stared at him, asking him if he was serious. He said it was only logical. He is not attached to his last name, the way I am. He does not have a family name, unlike me. If one of us has to change it, it makes more sense for him to do it. How does him being a man make a difference? I remember feeling extremely proud of him and congratulating myself for marrying such a guy who was capable of thinking like that. I know very few men would consider that thought.

Him changing his last name to mine is a possibility we are willing to consider. We may or may not end up doing it. But what matters is that we have the option. Since the time we evaluated this thought, I’ve taken it upon myself to tell all and sundry that “Mint might change his last name to mine”, just to test their reactions. When I told my parents, they thought I was kidding, and that I was making this up. Until Mint told them on his own that I wasn’t. He really didn’t think using our family name was a big deal. A lot of people laughed out aloud. A lot of people shrieked in horror, asking me if Mint was insane. Some were convinced that I was the evil overbearing wife who made her husband dance to her tunes. I was called manipulative and dominating. Somebody asked me if Mint had no ‘family pride’.

And the same people expected me to take on his name without a questioning thought. Interesting world.

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144 Responses to “Manipulative and dominating? The labels I have to live with.”

  1. Smita said

    It is so saddening that for a somple personal choice we have to give so many justifications. I too was mot very willing to change my surname but then certain things happened and I decided to go ahead with it. But the underlining fact is that if the law allows us to keep our name who is XYZ to question it. If it was just society pessure I wud have understood but the fact that they are creating hurdles in government documents as well, it is sickening.

    And seriously Mint is one gem of a guy not because he is ready to change his surname but because he is so level headed and pratical in his thoughts and evidently cares so much about you 🙂

  2. Smita said

    My comment has landed in spam 😦

    • Pepper said

      I unspammed your comment. No idea why that happened 😦
      Yes man, having the society pain you is bad enough. But when you have to deal with legal hurdles, although what you are doing is within the law, it gets really, really maddening!

  3. I loved this post Pepper.
    Nobody has asked me to change my name but am sure they take it for granted that will change it or it has been changed already. or well, they may have updated their “contacts” and made me kismitoffeebar – new surname. I always tell K (my better half) that I will never change my last name. I grew up with it and well, in this case name matters. He is so cool about it. I said I’d call myself Kismitoffeebar – old surname-K’s first name (coz’ I am mroe than happy to have my husband’s name alongside) but not change my surname ever. I am yet to go thru’ passport and all that but we have pretty much agreed to let this be 🙂

    I sometimes do get irked when so much of time and energy is spent on telling people that not everything needs to be followed blindly with no rhyme or reason. We know we are married and for all the doubting eyes, we have the certificate too. Beyond this call me what you want.

    oops, I rant-ed too 😛

    • Pepper said

      Okay, so you have your husband’s first name alongside your last? Not your husband’s last name? Is that how it is supposed to be? I found it a little awkward to do that. 🙂

      • No Pepper. There is no “supposed” to be at all Pepper, if you ask me. my mom hadn’t changed her surname and had issues with passport but later got sorted out somehow.
        I did this coz’ I am okay with having my husband’s name in the end. Anyways people will still call me by my first name 😛 and I have the joy of having papa’s and husband’s name 😛 Some weir madenss I worked out.

  4. DI said

    Hmm. I have not changed my last name either for purely convenience purposes. I don’t know about attachment to it, it’s just a name afterall. But everyone knows me by my name and it is just so much more me, I feel.

    That being said, I would also take the easy LOL route about Mint changing his last name to yours. No, seriously. So you’re Pepper X and Mint Y. So? You are together and married, and nothing can change that. But still, it will simply be funny for him to go ahead and do that, because that’s not how it is in general. And I don’t think I am hypocritical when I say that if you chose to change your name, it would seem normal because that’s how it is. Usual. Regular. If The Dude suggested he would do such a thing, I would be horrified, yes.

    It’s like if it’s abt a common name afterall, why don’t you pick a third name, neither yours nor his and attach it ? Say Z. Pepper X Z and Mint Y Z or if he doesn’t care Mint Z. Just a suggestion! 😀

    • Pepper said

      Haha, I don’t blame you for being horrified DI. Even now, I said we MIGHT consider that possibility of him changing his name to mine. I am not sure we will really end up doing it. If at all I discourage him, it would be because I wouldn’t want him to go through the ridicule. The very fact that he is willing to go through the ridicule, without caring much means a lot to me.

      Yes, if I change my last name, it is normal. If he does it, it is abnormal. Perhaps we should think about why that is so, instead of just accepting it as a way of life. Also, if more and more men are open to this concept, it wouldn’t really seem too abnormal. Ultimately, it is our ‘own’ name. We all should have the freedom to choose without having to answer the world, right?

      Arey, I already considered that idea in my post. You didn’t read it or what? 😀 I just thought Pepper X Z would sound funny. No? I am not sure.

      • DI said

        Oh yes, I missed that set! How lame of me. However, goes to prove how great minds ting alike 😀 I would suggest some super-corny name , like ‘Jaan’ or ‘Love’ or something. Ok?

      • Shweta said

        I agree… If the men want it.. not forced into it.. but as of now.. men who would will be called not man enough.. joru ka ghulam… sissy and words like that.. which personally i think is pathetic… but then lots of other things are too…

  5. Oh the hassles of getting a passport with different surnames. the only reason I had to change my surname was because of this issue. We were desperate as the husband was already flying to US and the passport office denied issuing me a passport…..It was a horror.

    Interesting world indeed 😦

    • Pepper said

      Are you serious? The passport office you denied a passport because you and your husband had different names? Oh my God! Mera kya hoga?

      • Oh yes the New Delhi office and I had to get help from NHRc to finally get one. The clerks there wanted to cash in on the fact that we had an intercaste marriage without the consents of our family and was making life hell for us. Still gives me nightmares.

        • Pepper said

          I so hope I do not suffer a similar fate 😦

          • A couple of years ago, Pepper had a horrendous time, getting my schengen visa because of different surnames. My Sister in law had a tough time traveling with her son because of different surnames – though this was some 9 years ago

            While i am my maiden name, for the sake of avoiding all of the above in my passport i have added my surname to the same.

            But you know what – i think if you endorse your spouse;s name in your passport should work. You want an agent – i know a good one. let me know!

  6. Smitha said

    This name thing.. I heard all this too when I did not change my name. Luckily for me, in my family, we don’t expect women to change names, my mum hasn’t. I can’t understand the concept of a common name increasing the ‘bond’ . My parents are one of the closest couples I know, and each of them has retained their name.

    And yes, the change has to be with the woman changing her name, god forbid a sensible man like Mint offers to! Hypocrisy!

    Personally, people should decide for themselves and that should be the end if it. Whoever wants to change their name should, and whoever doesn’t want to, should have the freedom to do so.

    • Pepper said

      Your last line sums it all so well. Ultimately, it’s just about having the freedom to do what you want to. I might just want to use my close family friend’s last name as mine. Ultimately, it’s my call and I’d hate being questioned.

  7. R's Mom said

    1. I have changed my last name after marriage
    2. I am still suffering the after effects
    3. My advice to all married ladies is Please think 100 times before you change your last name to your husband’s because remember all supporting documents need to be changed, bank statments, pan cards, electricity bills, passport, etc etc etc
    4. Its no easy task, after SIX years of marriage, I still have my maiden name in some document which needs some gazette or something to authorise our marriage certificate..its crazy!
    5. I think Mint taking up your last name makes a lot more sense, if he doesnt have a last name anyway
    6. If you really really want to change your name, then add your husband’s last name to your last name..for example if your name is India Bharat before wedding and your husband’s last name is Hindustan, change your name to India Bharat Hindustan instead of India Hindustan…things become much easier for you!

    Big hugs Pepper, I can so understand the frustration…

  8. Visha said

    Even if Zack would wish to change his last name to mine, his family wont….

    Kudos to Mint for being so broad-minded.. 🙂

    Arrey Pepper, leave passports, the domestic travel is also a pain. I have not changed my name after marriage. I still write Ms instead of Mrs in the bookings. The confusions on the face of the security people when they check our I-cards is noteworthy 😆

    • Pepper said

      What do you mean when you say “Even if Zack would wish to change his last name to mine, his family wont….” Isn’t that obvious? 😀
      Mint’s family would get a heart attack if they even found out we’re considering this possibility. He says he would deal with them.
      Yes, I write Ms instead of Mrs too. And it does create a lot of confusion. Lol.

  9. Nachu said

    Thankfully till date I have not gone through this yet. In my case it is the other way round, I have my father’s name as my last name and my husband, being north indian, has a family name. Till date No one has actually hinted about this to us yet. And even if people give me horrendous labels, I would not change my name.

  10. Arch said

    Good God, is all this even true? Why am I being so surprised 😦 I did not know till now, all this may happen to someone.

    My mom and her sisters never changed their names. But, we did not have family names too. Only initials. Amma’s passport has her name followed by her dad’s first letter as her initials. It is the same with most other women too.

    Get another agent, pepper! Silly people.

  11. hAAthi said

    Oh my god, dont even get me started on this one. I have chosen to keep my “maiden” (ugghh) name too. And while it shocked most of my in laws at first, and a few instances of trying to probe to change my mind were tried, it is a topic that got quickly dropped because I made it evident that it is just a name and it shouldnt bother anybody else, if my husband and I don’t mind what we’re sticking with. I suggest you ignore those who dont get it. Because the truth is it is something so personal, no amount of trying to make people understand is going to help. they will never see if your way and vice versa. It is just a name and not worth the heartache that comes with it, especially having people label you. In through one ear and out the other should be the way to go 🙂 Trust me on this one. This is another post that made me go ditto ditto in my head, as I was reading it.

    • Pepper said

      Oh my in laws still have no clue that I haven’t changed my last name. 😀 I am sure it will be a wholly different issue, once they find out.
      You are so right, I try hard to not let others bother me, but when I am addressed by a name that is not mine, it does anger me. And people keep doing that. I guess I should just learn to ignore it.

      • hAAthi said

        I know the feeling completely. Especially the invitation card bit. When its prefixed by a Smt and Sri, it enraged me even more. But then I figured I cannot possibly convince every person who will ever address me that I am not an Smt, and more so I have my own name. So it was a futile exercise getting upset. Now I just chuckle, thinking “oh its another one of those unliberated types. poor thing.”..even at the risk of sounding condescending, i let it go.

    • darkcomedy said

      I’ve had similar experience with in-laws. I don’t know why but I’m not particularly averse to the idea of having another surname added to my full name, though many people who know me think marriage has taken the sting out of me when I say that 😀 Yet, I have always believed that it’s something that should happen of my own accord and with time. When I’m forced to do anything, well, all bets are off. Which is exactly what happened. The more I was “gently prodded”, the more I dug my heels in and all my official documents, email IDs, bank accounts are still in my maiden name. The more I am beginning to see the “we’ve given up” attitude, the more I’m relaxing about it.. and the only step has been to add the husband’s surname to my Facebook display name. I think it’s just my way of saying I can’t be forced to do anything. Just wanted to set the context for my stance on this, since this is very close to my heart as well. Here is a list of pros and cons of adding my husband’s surname, as per me:

      Cons
      1. My name and surname are both two-syllable short words and that’s how I have always liked it. With the third name, it just gets too long. And then, in the interest of space, most people are conditioned to just drop your “middle name”. So my maiden surname sort of becomes redundant which defeats the purpose of retaining it in the first place.

      2. Since we’re from different communities, I like the fact that my surname sparks the conversation in that direction and people don’t just assume stuff. Whereas, it is common to be introduced as “Mrs. ” once the name is added, and you lose that opportunity.

      3. I’m not a fan of paper work and the documentation involved in changing every single important number/detail makes me drop the idea.

      4. My own surname is rare and unique, and I just think I’m killing the proof of our existence on earth if I simply remove it 😀

      Pros
      1. Sadly, I’ve learnt that whether or not you officially change your name, some moron will go ahead and do it for you. On invites, forms, tickets or whatever. For example, the census guy who came home last year told me that since I am married, it is impossible for him to put down my father’s surname in my surname, it has to be my husband’s. And this guy was a government teacher 😐 So it sort of cancels out point 2 above.

      2. THE BIGGEST POINT – PASSPORT/ VISAS. The last time I was at the immigration desk, travelling with my husband and his family, the officer refused to believe I was his wife or related to them in any way. I don’t know which village these people come from, but it was embarrassing and annoying. We have taken to carrying a copy of our marriage certificate when travelling. I’m always nervous about it becoming a bigger issue some day, despite the fact that no law mandates it. In our country, villagers call the shots.

      3. I’m told that the paper work (my nemesis!) for joint ownership of assets is tedious, when it’s two different surnames. I can only confirm this when I come to that bridge.

      4. People at medical institutions look at us shadily, when we put down different surnames. I’ve had to explain multiple times that we are married. But I still get the two-teenagers-come-for-shady-consultation vibe from them.

      I don’t know if I missed something, but that’s most of my thoughts. Sorry for the long comment. Edit if you please 🙂

      • Pepper said

        Why would I want to edit your comment?! You’ve put it across so well. The more I am forced to do something, the more I get put off by it too. This explains a lot of my choices.

        Point 1 in your Cons list is something I have always feared. Perhaps you could use a hyphen between the two last names? It will still occupy space but people will treat it as one name, so atleast it won’t be eliminated.

        Point 1 in your Pros list is what really maddens me. I have all sorts of idiots who insist on changing my name for me.

        I’ve never had an issue with international travel so far. We just keep a copy of our marriage certificate while applying for visas. Never been questioned. Let me see how the passport renewal goes though.

        Regarding point 3, I’ve been told the same. I only hope that isn’t true.

        LOL at point 4. I never thought of this! 😀

      • hAAthi said

        Ditto ditto again. And this has held true for most change aspects post marriage. The more things become issues of discussion with multiple opinions being offered to me, the more I have stuck to my guns and what I believe. Except the stubborn taurean in me doesnt let go as easily, and in some cases where it matters I have and still do stick to my opinion.

        Your list is spot on. And paperwork and forms and unnecessarily complicated red-tape ridden processes are my nemesis too. So we havent even had our marriage registered. And I know this is one day going to be a huge hurdle for us to cross. We dont have a joint bank account, as a result. I know that if we decide to say, buy a house or property, it will be an issue. But we’ll burn that bridge when we get to it, I guess

        The travelling thing scares the crap out of me. On our honeymoon the immigration officer glared at me, and I had to very sheepishlu show him my mehndi, my stupid mangal sutra and PROVE to him that we had JUST gotten married two days ago, and were not exactly planning to camp at the registrars office to get it done before we left for the maldives. Pf course I promptly came back and didnt get the marriage registered anyway. We’re off to thailand this month, and a teeny part of me is scared. Though I dont get this obsession with having to prove that I am married to travel overseas with him. What if we were in fact just friends going on a trip together?!

        • Pepper said

          Immigration office glared at you during your honeymoon? I am surprised. I have never had an issues with international travel. Seriously, what right do they have to stop you from travelling with your friend? It’s mainly pesky people like far off relatives that get to me. Not immigration officers! We didn’t even have any problem obtaining visas as a couple though we had different names. Don’t worry about it. Have fun in Thailand without worrying about petty issues like this. They can do nothing to stop you.

  12. Ashwathy said

    First of all, hats off to Mint. Not many men I know would agree to this …and that too of their own accord. Shows a huge broad-mindedness and perception of thinking that I really appreciate. 🙂

    That apart, I really don’t see a reason why you NEED to have a common surname. Hubby dear and myself have totally different names. In my case, it’s a little more twisted than yours.

    Lets keep my name as Ashwathy X. The X here stands here for my MOTHER’s name, not father’s. (Don’t ask how, it’s a long story, will tell you about it when we meet next.) Hubby’s name is…er… Hubby Y. Now Y here stands for his father’s FIRST name. Now it gets even more ironical. The Y is the same for both of us. Meaning, both our fathers have the SAME first name. 😀 Yes, believe it or not. So if I am changing my surname, I ultimately end up linking it to my own dad’s name! :mrgreen: It might as well make people wonder if HE got his surname from MY dad!! 😆 😛
    The only other option is to keep my name as Ashwathy Hubby, as in hubby’s first name directly after mine.

    It didn’t really make sense to me since it’s a sort of unnecessary tagging. I m assuming it won’t matter until we have to travel internationally and someone has to check whether we are really husband-and-wife (since we are yet to renew our passports by adding the spouses name in the particular column).

    More importantly, having to change my passport, PAN card, voter’s ID, bank accounts, drivers license, phone and utility bills….. is a HUMONGOUS task which I simply don’t have the time or energy for. Seriously not worth it.
    Especially when I am planning to study further and all my certificates will have my earlier name and my new IDs will have the new name. Aaargh! As if life wasn’t complicated enough already 🙄

    Hubby’s family has never asked why where when what. I have not volunteered any info either. Not required. And thank goodness for that! 🙂

    So, my dear “manipulative and dominating” soul sistah….when are we meeting next? 😀 😀 😀 (And considering I m ur soul sistah, I should have all the qualities you have. Gee, I feel proud of myself!!! :mrgreen: )

  13. darkcomedy said

    Wow. Just like me to post the longest comment and still miss saying the most important thing: Mint is awesome for offering to do that 🙂

  14. aame said

    Wow to think of it i was apprehensive about this question coming up around or after our marriage but to my surprise till date none of our families or even relatives bothered about it !!! And so i continue to have my name as it is on my tenth certificate ! Reading your post actually made me check and that’s what i realized ! Cool na ! 🙂 🙂 Though i willingly lovingly added my hubby’s surname to my fb id…just to see how it feels like..he he 😉
    But yeah Kudos to ur husband Pepper for being so liberal and rational in his thoughts ! I am actually shocked to learn when some girls have to change their maiden name too after marriage.I mean what’s the need in the first place ??

    • Pepper said

      Your relatives didn’t question you about your name change probably because they assumed you got it done. Especially with the name on your FB id and all 😀 Good for you. Having to answer people is not fun.

      • aame said

        No yaar i got my fb id changed recently and all my family and relatives know what my full name is.Moreover it’s basically the older ones the aunts and uncles who generally are expected to ask such questions and they don’t know anything about FB 🙂

  15. ashreyamom said

    hey, i didnt change my surname, as i too had an attachment to it. my in-laws were ok with it, as all my certificates and passport had my surname. i made sure that even my marriage certificate has my surname attached to my name. so, i didnt have any problem even while adding spouse name yesterday to my passport. yes, in invitation’s ppl do write my husbands name as my surname. that is tamilnadu tradition to add dad’s/spouse name. they don’t understand the concept of surname. so, we too dont bother. but ppl around me understand that my surname is different from my husbands.

    • Pepper said

      From the sound of it, people seem to be less particular about the whole name change business in South India. Perhaps I could be wrong, but that is what I gather from the comments. So glad you didn’t have too many issues with this..

  16. Shweta said

    We Indians are big time Hypocrites… We don’t change and We don’t anybody else change… if someone comes up with a more logical idea which is more apt in today’s time.. its called absurd.. whimsical.. and what not.. and when all this does not have a desired effect and the person still wants to go ahead with it.. then starts the name calling and stuff…

    No its not just about equality or women rights or men dominant society.. we Humans are not just human enough…

    Animals move in packs … Humans were given brains to think, rationalize, develop, civilize… but no.. we don’t want to break the mold take the risk…

    I somehow feel our long lost ancestors were more civilized and intelligent than we ever will be.. they made some rules by analyzing their times… but We… we just follow the path already taken not using our brains or asking why we r doing it.. now that times have changed…

    I don’t think even Mint need to change his last name to ur name… He coming up with that thought is brilliant and so heartfelt.. but when you should not change something just coz people speak about it.. even he should not.. You did not want to change ur last name coz u feel connected with it and u dont care about what people or the so called society thinks….. but if he changes his last name to urs.. u actually r giving into what people want out of u.. just through the opposite direction…

    Its Simple – If two people want to get married they should if they are above the legal age.. if they don’t want to change the name they should not… they can co-exist with different names… u had a marriage ceremony that unites u socially… else marriage ki kya zaroorat thi.,. its legal that u could have lived in together…

    • Pepper said

      Your comment makes so much sense!
      I am not sure I am giving in to what people want out of me if he changes his last name to mine. Even the idea is blasphemous. People would continue harassing us if we had a common name that came about with his name change. We’d not have thought of it if he felt connected to his last name the way I do to mine. But yes, the whole process is unnecessary.

      So true. I did a post on how I wanted to have a live in relationship with Mint. I only got married to obtain that certificate from society, but really, who cares?

  17. As both the husband and me are South Indians, we keep our respective father’s name as surnames, till date. Once, this surname issue cropped up when my co-sis hinted as to why she had to change hers while I kept mine. Thankfully, it was not addressed directly to me but my in-laws and they managed it somehow. I was spared of the outrage! 🙂 🙂

    Both the logistical hassles (of changing my name in the passport/DL/bank docs/certs) and also, that I wanted to retain my dad’s name ‘cos I am so attached to it lead to keeping my surname as it is. After my kids were born and until we were in the US, there was one other problem cropping up time and again – all of us have different surnames. My husband has his dad’s, I have my dad’s and my children have their dad’s. So, explaining this was becoming increasingly difficult in the US. Now,that we are back to India, I haven’t encountered this problem as yet!

    • Pepper said

      If and when I do have kids, I will want them to carry my surname too. Not just Mint’s. So we think of hyphenating both our first names and using that as a last name. But that comes with a separate set of issues. And again, we end up with different last names 😐
      I can imagine how hard it must have been for you in the US.

  18. Vidya said

    I want to duck under my desk or simply vaporize after reading this post 🙂 what started as a means to irritate the hubby, has come to stay 😐 Though I did not officially change my name, I loved adding his name to mine (those ignorant times!!) to simply embarrass him, and it has stuck on!

    • Pepper said

      Eh? You adding his name to yours would embarrass him? 😀 And how did it end up getting stuck?

      • Vidya said

        Sigh!!! Without his knowledge, I sneaked in my CV through a common friend for an opening in his office. And I put the name i’d taken a fancy to (eeeww!), mine followed by his’.. My yahoo, hotmail, gmail ids were created that way.. the email id given in the company was with the names strung together too! There was no need to make a gazette entry to add the hubby’s name to yours then (and i don’t think there still is..) And because I got a job and the official name was the one given in the CV, all my other applications following this- driving license, passport.. etc is, well, issued in the name of vidya vasu 😦 Silly I know, but that is the truth.. Folks in the office love to irritate me even now by simply calling me as Mrs..V!!! 😦

  19. metherebel said

    It is so hard on the women right? All the years before marriage they are known by their father’s surname and post marriage it is their husband’s surname. It is like they don’t have an identity of their own!

    And the ones who retain their maiden names are branded arrogant, disrespectful and what not!

  20. Koockie said

    You are absolutely right, no one should have any say in YOUR name. However I do want to point one sentence out…

    ” I am emotionally attached to my last name. It is a family name, one that is shared by every member.”

    Maybe you’d want your kids to feel that as well? Just my opinion! You’ve found yourself a good one with Mint 🙂

    • Pepper said

      You are right Koockie. I am not sure what I can do about that though. Our kids will just have to live with their family members having different names. They might end up detached like Mint, but then, perhaps that is not such a bad thing. 🙂
      Or maybe, they will be attached to their name for other reasons? Who knows!

  21. Vrushali said

    Hi Pepper
    I’ve read your post, and I can relate what you must feel about the name changing issue. It’s exhausting, along with other number of things. But about your passport , along with your marriage certificate, you can submit in the passport office, an affidavit ( that you and mint are married & you wish to keep your family name ) and Add Mint ‘s name as your spouse on the passport. This should help you keep your family name on the passport ( you can use this as proof for many administrative purposes )

    • Pepper said

      Oh, would the hassles end if I give them an affidavit saying I am married and that I want to retain my name. Cool! Let me figure this out. Thanks so much!

  22. R said

    The world and it’s half brother should go s**** themselves. (Sorry, I have nothing more to say. I have been thinking over a couple of these ‘what the world says’ nonsense myself and my bloody vessels are bursting)

  23. Nisha said

    I thought I had the best husband in the world. Yours seems sweeter!!!
    Even I have retained my ‘maiden’ name because I don’t want to give it up. If I add my husband’s surname in the end.. it becomes the most funny name in the history of names! No one has ever questioned me on it because there hasn’t been any incident to bring up this discussion. I think if it happens, I wouldn’t be able to defend myself. It’s an interesting world indeed.

    • Pepper said

      Oh they’re all sweet in their own way. 🙂
      My name sounds quite ridiculous when I add Mint’s first name to my last name as well. And yes, I hope you are never required to defend your choice.

  24. Swetha said

    Like Mint, my husband doesn’t have a family name. So his dad’s name is his last name. My family name is my last name and it makes me feel part of my family. I didn’t want to change my last name after marriage and so i didn’t. My husband and the in laws have no problem with this. But my problem is with the other people. When i go out and meet my husband’s friends, they add my husband’s last name to mine. Even all the invitations that we get have my last name as husband’s last name. I hate it so much. I find it weird to see my FIL’s name as my last name.

    I personally don’t think that husband and wife should have the same last name.

    I love the idea that Mint is ready to change his last name. He is being practical but many people may not see it that way. And just ignore them.

  25. Kavs said

    I’m sorry you had to go through such inane argument with the passport agent. 😦 I havent changed my last name nor added my husband’s. None of my sisters have either. I dont know about others but my name is my name, so much of my personality comes from my name, really. So the thought of me changing my name had never crossed my mind. After my marriage some people hinted that this would cause a lot of unncessary trouble with passports, joint property ownership etc. But my parents were very encouraging and were of the opinion that we’d face no such issues. Truly enough, I have had no problems while buying a house with my husband, getting a joint home loan, registering my marriage or even with passport renewals. I really didnt have to do any explaining as well. Cool right?

    Funnily, a lot of my friends end up addressing us as Mr. and Mrs. X (my last name) 😀

    Just like your aunt, a lot of my relations insist on addressing me as Kavs Y on invites, entries in phone books, etc. I used irk me earlier but now I just go, “People! that’s not my name.” 🙂

  26. Having retained my surname and having had quite a few people question it, I can see where you are coming from. ( Passport officer refusing to do his job for your case is unpardonable BTW, what the heck!)

    But, when you question ‘maiden name’, the reaction of people when they heard Mint might change his last name to yours – I think we need to step back and look at customs ( though they are chauvinistic) that were carried on since thousands of years. People are bound to be influenced by social conditioning. To break out of the normal thought process isn’t easy for many. But, am sure, given the time quite a few of the people who you have spoken to might think over it and agree too, at some point.

    The rest, well, they cannot be helped now, can they? 🙂

    Applauds to you for sticking to your guns and to Mint for standing out of the sheep herd and doing what he thinks is right!

    • Pepper said

      Oh AHK, I do understand what you are saying. They are socially conditioned and trapped within their own rigid mindsets. Which is why I am so gentle with everybody around me. It angers me no end, but I shut up and put up with it all. I only came back to this blog to rant. I can’t hold back the angst in this space. I don’t watch my words here. In person, I am more gentle and understanding than what I should be.

      Trust me, it is extremely hard when you go through such a struggle on a daily basis. It isn’t just about people who can’t deviate from regressive customs. Let them live the way they want. This is about them forcefully deciding for you. It is simple things like telling somebody that you haven’t changed your name, only to have them change it for you. It is about having to answer a million questions. It is about being made to feel accused for no reason. It is about fighting endless legal issues. All of it tires me out. I don’t say much to them, but I do come back to my blog to rant.

  27. Jazz said

    I’m glad there is no name changing as our custom. I would not have liked to change because my last name is really cool, I so love it.

    And when I had gone for my passport work, the girl ahead of me was denied her work, because they said if you want to include your husband’s name in the passport, which says you are married, you will have to change your name as well. Poor girl, I don’t know what she did later.

    If it is bothering you guys to have different surnames, one of you might have to change. 😐

    • Pepper said

      Oh God. I am hearing such horror stories about the passport. It’s making me nervous. I really need to get mine done soon. Or I’ll be in trouble.
      Having different surnames isn’t bothering us. Him changing it to mine was just a thought, for convenience sake you know.

  28. Bhavani said

    Maybe I am the odd one here. But I did not have any issue changing my last name to my hubby’s first name as per custom. Infact it is fun to see the reaction in people’s faces when I say my last name is his first name. So technically my hubby’s last name is his dad’s first name. Me and my kids have the same last name ie my hubby’s first name. And we are always referred to as a couple because of my first name and his first name attached to mine:)

    Regarding my maiden name again it was more like an initial which was my Father’s firstname first letter during school college days.

    To me it is just a name:)) am not emotionally attached to it:))

    Bhavani:)

    • Pepper said

      See, that’s great then. If you aren’t emotionally attached to it, and if you changed it voluntarily. I know so many women who have been offered no choice and have to get it done much against their wishes. That makes me sad.

      Okay, so I understand you and your husband have one common name (i.e your last and his first), but on paper you guys still have different last names right? Do you have to offer explanations to official authorities about how this system works?

  29. abhivyakti said

    Your post made me feel happy that I am not the only one who thinks that our last name is also a part of our identity and who we are and just because I was born a female, I should have no qualms in changing it. I have friends who think it is a cute gesture to change to their husband’s last name and I think it is completely fine as long as they WANT to. But being expected to do this and the passport office creating problems is not done. I wonder what will happen when I will renew my passport.

    We have often had aunties saying that since our last names are so different, they know our wedding was not “arranged”. Sometimes it is funny as my husband would be addressed by my last name by people as they would assume that we share it. I have heard about a community where the daughter-in-law’s first name is also changed after marriage and the in-laws give her a new name as part of this “new” married life. I could not help thinking about how the girl would feel…

    I also think that it is a good idea for kids to share both the last names of both the parents. One reason that sons were considered to carry the “vansh” forward was because then the family would not lose their last name, a daughter after marriage would lose it and so would the generations after. I think a family name is as much a daughter’s as it is a son’s. Don’t want to sound cynical but I feel that if the kid is okay with it, it is a good idea to have both the parents names. Again a matter of personal choice.

    Hopefully the passport issue will be resolved soon.

    • Pepper said

      The passport office hasn’t created any problem for me so far. It was the annoying agent who was hard to deal with. I really hope the passport office guys don’t have issues.

      Well, I belong to one such community. They usually change the daughter-in-law’s first name too and I just cannot imagine how the women put up with it. In fact, my mom did it too. And my mom is one bold, independent woman who cannot be forced into things. But each time I ask her, she says she had no issue changing her first name. She could choose her own name and she actually liked the idea or renaming her self. Had she been against it, she would have refused to do it. I know my grandparents (her in laws) would never have forced her. So when I hear all that, it becomes a little more bearable.

      In my opinion, kids should definitely carry both their parents names. It does become a little complex and lengthy, but it is worth it. My family name has been going on for generations. My dad does not have any son. And I would be damned if I let go my last name now and end the growth chart. If daughters also start carrying forward the family name, it would result in fewer biases. And regarding the kid being okay with it, I think they are okay with whatever they are made used to. They always have the option of changing their name once they are adults.

  30. Dhivya said

    We have been married for 4 years now and I have not changed my name. Since we are south Indians , I ‘need’ to take my husbands name. I surely will not be taking his last name since its not considered ‘correct’ in South India. I am very happy with my name since thats what people have been calling me for almost 27 years and I cannot suddenly change it just because I got married.

    Luckily we have not had any issues with getting visa ( we have done dependent visa for him and also for myself in the past). We just gave the marriage certificate and it was fine. Also no forcing by people to get names changed , not like I would have bothered about it.

    I think its cool that Mint is willing to change his last name to yours. And if people ask you too many questions, you can tell them that in Germany, its the guy who takes on the girls last name (know this cos of my friends is married to a german and he has taken her last name..dads name in her case).

    • Pepper said

      Do you, as a South Indian ‘need’ to take your husband’s name? A lot of them seem to say it is okay to live with your dad’s first name as your last. You can’t take use your husband’s last name, if he uses his dad’s first name. I am told, by that logic, you are married to your father in law.

      We did not have any issue with US visas with different last names either.

      Didn’t know that about Germans!

      • Dhivya said

        These days you don’t need to but thats the norm. I think more people are not changing it mainly due to the large paper work involved. I contemplated the name change for a day but my hubby thought i was crazy to do that. I definitely cant take my hubbys last name for the reason you have mention- the though itself kinda grosses me out.

        Most European and some Asian countries its the guy getting married in to the gals family and hence they take their name.

  31. Nice post Pepper, I did blog about its sometime ago and I can’t agree more with ur views. I cannot understand that even educated girls and their families do consider change their surname and real name. I don’t agree that surnames can bring more love between couples. There is no way to change this tradition unless we all agree to change it.

    • Pepper said

      I am not against educated girls changing it out of their own free will. But yes, this tradition always bothers me. Maybe because of it’s underlying implications.

  32. Meenu said

    Hey Pepper, been a long time since i commented but i had to on this one! Me and hubs both are south indians and we do not have the surname concept. I have my dad’s name as my last name and he has his dad’s. Although mine is not a surname, i am attached to my last name and would not change it for any reason. I would be horrified if somebody asks me to change my last name, i just would not be able to do it. It is that dear to me. I would be equally horrified if my hubby offered to change his last name as his last name is his and his only as mine is to me. As much as my family surname is important to me so should be his to him. But then, he also doesn’t care much about the last name (like Mint) as of now but then i have a strong feeling that maybe later at some point in his life may want to have his father’s name back as his last name. Atleast i wouldn’t give up on that. He keeps his last name and me mine. Now i don’t know how children are going to fit in in this scheme, that is something which we need to work out and come to a mutual agreement.

    But as you said, having a common surname or last name is more of a convenience practically. It makes things easier and simpler to deal with. But then since me and hubs are ready to face the hurdles that lie if we have different common names, we are ok with it.

    Also, not only in India i have seen complications with surnames everywhere. Here in the US, one of my close friends had delivered twins and one of the babies had to be retained in the hospital for some medical issues while the mom and the other baby were discharged and sent home. Two days later, when the other baby was all set to leave the hospital, the baby’s dad had come to pick the kid up since the mom was recuperating back home. They wouldn’t give the baby to the dad just because he had a different surname and they wouldn’t accept that he is the legal dad. No amount of convincing, arguing or showing papers worked and the dad stomped out of the hospital furiously. The mom was made to come to the hospital and only then would they hand over the baby. Needless to say, that incident left a bad taste in their mouth and my friend thought it would be better if they have a common surname to avoid a lot of complications.

    Finally, it is your name and you get to decide what to do with it. People keep saying a lot of things, keep giving free unwanted advices but then we just don’t care. Say whatever you want but this is how i am going to lead my life.

    When we brought a joint property, my in laws once hinted that changing last name would be easier for practical purposes. They may be right but then it is my name and is very dear to me and so i told them i am not going to do that and i am going to retain my existing name come what may. They said they are fine with it because we are the ones who are going to deal with the pro’s and cons of that decision.. So that is how it is with us!

    • Pepper said

      It works pretty well until you have kids. It’s so much harder to figure out a way once they come into picture. I know I would want my child to have my name as part of theirs, just like I would want them to have Mint’s name as part of theirs too. Especially because Mint and I had an inter community marriage. I would want some of my culture and history to be visible in their names too.

      I think in the US they are a little too particular, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I know it gets inconvenient and troublesome to deal with their stringent regulations, but it does give you an added sense of safety. But then, I can imagine how hard it must be a for a dad to not have access to his own child!

      We don’t own any joint property yet, and I hope we don’t face issues. Your in laws sound very reasonable.

  33. Aditi said

    I so applaud Mint for the thought! We are both S Indians and I am super attached to my name , the way it is. I wouldn’t change it for anything . I toyed with the idea of a common new last name for us and then decided I couldn’t do it.

    I have had people – a few relatives come up to me and ask why I have retained my maiden name and that there is no big deal to it and I should change my name. I don’t have a problem with people changing their name as long as they do it of their own volition . There are a few who ask and leave it at that and then there are a few more who will keep questioning coz they believe it isn;’t the right thing ! The latter I have issues with

    The only inconsequential difficulty I have when women choose to change their last names is , I have probems locating/searching for them on social media 😀

    Swaminathan Aiyar – the journalist was super cool, he took his wife’s maiden name and added it to his ! But yes, this or appending another name to yours should be done if you want to not because you have to .

    • Pepper said

      LOL. That’s true. Sometimes I get added by girls on FB and I am left wondering. It’s hard to place them. Only when I see their profile picture does it strike me. So that is another valid problem. If I were to search for them, I wouldn’t ever be led to their page if I didn’t know their new name.

      Yes, totally!

  34. Naresh said

    “Mint, like a lot of people in South India, does not have a family name.”

    It may be true of Tamils, but Telugus have a family name and they won’t put their father name as their surname.

    • Pepper said

      Oh, sorry for the generalising then.
      But, really? Mint is actually Telugu (though he considers himself Tamilian) and he uses his dad’s name as his surname.

      • Naresh said

        Hmm interesting and it is understandable then. I think it’s hard to escape the feeling of being a Tamilian after eating their Sambar 🙂

        I’ve read somewhere, it was estimated that around 20 % of Tamilnadu population is of Telugu ancestry but they consider themselves as Tamilians.

        This list includes ,

        – Karunanidhi
        – Vyko
        – Vijayakanth
        – Bhagyaraj etc…

        But as I said, Telugu people have family names like in this list,
        – Nandamuri Taraka Ramarao (NTR),
        – Nara chandrababu Naidu,
        – Duvvuri Subbarao (RBI Governor),
        – Survepalli Radhakrishnan,
        – Neelam Sanjeeva raddy (ex Presidents)
        – Nallari Kiran Kumar Reddy (current CM)

        Nandamuri, Nara, Duvvuri, Survepalli, Neelam, Nallari are Telugu family names.

        • Pepper said

          That’s right. In Mint’s case, even his great grandfather was born in Tamil Nadu. They’ve lived there for generations. Mint has grown up speaking Tamil. He can’t even speak Telugu. So he does consider himself to be a Tamilian.

          I knew the names ‘Reddy’ and ‘Naidu’ are Telugu family names. Didn’t know the rest were of Telugu origin too. 🙂

          • Naresh said

            In fact Reddy and Naidu indicates their caste. Some other last names which indicates castes in telugu are Sastri, Sarma for brahmins, gupta, setti for vysyas, raju (satyam ramalinga raju) , karma (ramgopal varma) for ksathriya etc.These are last names to indicate their caste. But these people still have family names.

            Like Nara chandrababu naidu. Nara is his family name, chandrababu is his name & Naidu is his caste name.

  35. vethal said

    boy !standing up and clapping for Mint !! tumne kitne temple ke chakkar kiyaa to get such a husband bolo !!

  36. pixie said

    Well! you know this is a topic close to my heart right?! 😀
    I have ranted and raved about this a million times.! People just don’t get it. Your name is your name. Simple. No changing business unless its by Free will!

    This time too, when I visited home, I had this argument with my aunt and uncle. They were so surprised with our thinking and very surprised that my surname hasnt been changed to K’s name! Its irritating.
    Here, one lady said – “we HAVE to change our names after marriage because we BELONG to the husband and his family after marriage”!
    I almost burst out, but instead, controoled myself and said – “I am my own person, and I don’t BELONG to anyone. I’m a person not property”
    That shut her up.

    Another funny incident – we were visiting my parents’ friends when they visited last yr and the man was writing down my name and email id and he wrote it as Pixie K.
    I kept quiet because I knew it was no use explaining the whole story to him. My dad, extremely agitated said – “She isn’t Pixie K, its Pixie X itself!”
    The man raised his eyebrows and said – “Oh! you are amongst the new brigade of people eh?! Not changing names?!” Sheesh!
    this from a man who is older than my dad, whose daughters are doctors who haven’t changed their names after marriage and kids! 🙄

    such a long comment! Will stop now!

    Of course it shows how mature and braod minded Mint is! 🙂 🙂

    • Pepper said

      The reason I feel against this name changing business is because a part of me does think the reasons are related to you ‘belonging to and adopting your husband’s family’ after marriage. I just cannot relate to that idea.

  37. I belong to a different age (63), and a community, where if you sort our community on last names and middle names , you can get an entire set of family trees listed. In our time, getting stuff changed on passports and stuff was not as cumbersome and problematic and time consuming as today..

    But what I wanted to tell you was that there is a well known economist columnist called Swaminathan Iyer. Writes a column called Swaminomics. I have no clue on whether his fathers name appears here or not, but he married a lady called Shernaz Anklesaria, a Parsi.

    His name has been , officially, for many years, Swaminatahn S. Anklesaria Iyer.

    Talk of creativity ….:-))

    • Pepper said

      Now that does sound very creative. It is a little too long though, isn’t it? I hope he hasn’t encountered issues caused by the length of his name!

  38. ilawise26 said

    Interestingly put and i agree most girls would have gone through the same dilemma.
    Even i feel strongly for retaining my last name.
    So whats this passport thing?
    Can you elaborate so that i am prepared before i get married 🙂

    • Pepper said

      So far, there has only been one annoying agent who harassed me. I have still not encountered any problem from the passport office’s side. Let me see how the renewal goes and I will get back to you 🙂

  39. Hi pepper, I enjoy reading your blog and this post forced me to leave a comment because I was in the same situation when I got married. I wanted to retain my surname, partly because all my records(company, bank, passport, pancard etc) was on this name and changing them would have been a hassle and also I feel everyone who knew me right from my childhood knew me by this name. This was my identity and well someday if I became famous I want the world to know my dad’s name 🙂
    There was so much pressure on me to change it from my husband and his family. I fought them all and retained it for a good 5 years.
    When my daughter was born, in 3 months I had to fly to France to be with my husband and we had only 3 weeks to get everything ready. My first shock came when we had to get the passport done for my daughter. The Indian laws require that either the mother should have the father’s name or the father should have the mother’s name on the passport. well that was the end of my struggle. I ended up changing my surname. Having my husband change his surname was out of the question. I could have retained my surname and had my husband’s name as well. but my name itself is long, I have a frst, middle and last name….So there…But the best thing about the name change has been not having to answer anyone anymore. I had to explain to everyone (at the ticket counter, tax office, bank loan person, club membership) why we had seperate names.And now I am absolutely comfortable with this and even wonder at times ‘did I actually have to struggle so much those initial years?’
    But I have retained my ‘maiden’ name in my company records and all the social networking sites.

    • Pepper said

      Really? The law does not allow the child to have a unique last name? This doesn’t sound good.:( What if you put in both your last names together for the child?
      Anyway, in the end, I am glad you are comfortable with what you’ve chosen. And hey, thanks for delurking!

      • 🙂 Nope, that wont work. Both parents and the child should have a common name!

        • Pepper said

          Great. Now I really don’t know what we will do once we have kids. Sigh.

          • Kavs said

            I’m surprised…because I recently read in news about a law passed in Mumbai high court (not sure of the exact date and judgment) that states that women have a right to retain their names after marriage.

            I guess the above comment suggests you may need to show your marital status and husband’s name and (husband to show your name) in your passports. But again, in my case my husband traveled on a dependent visa with me to the US and none of our passports had been updated to show our marital status nor included our names. The marriage certificate was sufficient. Most of the times the endless hassles we face are because of the people we deal with in such offices and not the laws per se.

            After all we are sticking to our names not just for convenience, right? It’s a matter of preference.

            I’ve to tell you the story of my marriage registration just for the feel-good factor if not anything else.
            We procrastinated for a good 4 years after our marriage to get it registered. And then rushed to get it done as we had to apply for US visas. I was nervous if the registrar would think something’s fishy – I mean it was so late after the wedding and then our names have nothing in common. It took that gentleman less than a minute to look at our application and supporting docs to sign off the certificate and congratulated us as Mr. Y and Ms. X! No bungling up even then. 🙂
            I’m so sorry to hog your comment space like this!

            • Pepper said

              Hey, I should be the one thanking you for sharing your experiences and stories! Why would you apologize!
              Yes, I traveled to the US on a dependent visa and we had no problem either. Submitting the marriage certificate was sufficient.

  40. chandni said

    well, you ended kindly by saying “interesting world”. I’ll say its an idiotic world. Family pride came in when people thought of Mint changing his name. Don’t you have the same? I am proud to be from the family I am from and I’d be damned before anyone makes me drop my surname. I don’t think there is anything least bit romantic about sharing the surname. Two people have chosen to lead their lives together and that’s that. They have different names, because they do.
    I in fact am opposed to name changing and wonder how any woman thinks it alright. Even if they choose to, I always think its a “compromise” to keep larger peace, but I really don’t understand women who are happy about it. How can it be okay?
    In my case, whenever anyone asks me why not, I ask them “why in the first place”? I see no decent logic to explain why its a good idea/necessary/better.

    • Pepper said

      Oh Chandni, I was just trying to tone down the sarcasm and the anger. The part where somebody asked me if Mint didn’t have any family pride really made me see red. The same people believe I cannot have any, considering I am a woman.
      In all honesty, I am quite opposed to the name changing too. It reeks of patriarchy. But then I try extremely hard to not be judgmental. I tell myself they have a right to choose for their own selves. But yes, the acceptance doesn’t come easily to me. You’re brave enough to be yourself and criticize what you think is wrong. I am timid and I try to guise my own feelings and convince myself that I am the non judgmental kind.

    • Bhavani said

      Wow Chandni….you dont need to be so harsh on women who have no issues changing their names (I am one of those). Nobody forced me I did because I wanted to thats all. To me there are far more real important things in my relationship with my parents/inlaws which takes priority than a mere name. Changing my name does not decrease even little bit of my bonding/respect with my paternal home. What I dont understand is girls fight their parents/inlaws and ready let go of them in a jiff when they love somebody and move on to the next phase in their life. But they cling on to their mere names for pride. Hmm ok to each their own.

      Pepper thanks for trying to be non-judgemental. I am not saying I dont judge people for various reasons. It is an in-build human nature:)

      Bhavani.

      • chandni said

        Don’t get me wrong Bhavani, I have numerous friends who taken up their in-laws family name, my sister too! All I am saying is, I don;t understand anyone willingly wanting to. My not understanding doesn’t make it wrong, but I am being honest about my own feelings. To me it is not a “mere name”, it is a big deal and a huge part of my identity. Well, people move on to new relationships….that’s what happens, why should the name even come up?

  41. Jack Point said

    ““Mint might change his last name to mine”, just to test their reactions.”

    He he

    I made the same suggestion on an online discussion.

    Its funny how looking at something from the opposite direction suddenly makes people think.

  42. Shalini said

    Hey pepper,
    I must give u my experience..when marriage talks happened n i started knowing my hubby n all that initial excitement , i created an e-mail id for myself which had my first name.hubby first name , i wrote my e-mails to friends stating my first – hubby first …just took it on that immediately after wedding i even changed my signature to my newly obsessed name, that i now get stuck with difference of signatures on bank checques n for debit cards…No one told me to do so..i did it with pleasure…this is one part of the story….but i had’nt gone abt some official name change procedures as marriage cert was’nt ready
    Here comes the other part, 3 mnths after my wedding one of my technical article at work gets published in a japanese magazine, take note content was written before wedding n the Author name was First name+my dad’s first , name…There came the blast i never expected from my father-in-law – asking why it was such n why my name was’nt changed at work n all that…i felt really bad! Felt shattered…even when i’d voluntarily taken upon my hubby’s name…just hated it when they’d EXPECT me to do it!

    • Pepper said

      I am so sorry you went through that Shalini. That is exactly what I meant when I said women are ‘expected’ to do it. Little consideration is given to their choice. When women say they’ve done it out of their own free will, I think their ‘will’ is largely influenced by their social conditioning. They perhaps believe it is their own free will, but a lot of them are not even capable of thinking in a non biased way. Which is why, we only hear of women who say they changed their last name out of choice. How come no man feels like doing it?

      I am guessing you truly felt like changing your last name, without being influenced by other factors. In that case, it is really sad that you had to face brickbats, despite making a choice that confirms with the norms. Did you tell your father in law that the content was written before your marriage?

      • Shalini said

        Completely Agree with your say – Pepper….Ofcourse, i did explain that the content was written before wedding and all that stuff..but what hurts is the fact that you’ve to face these trivial matters that were no where expected in the path of life…Anyways, there are attitudes that cannot be changed !

  43. Mads said

    Okay, I’m a first time commenter here and belong to the school of thought that a woman does NOT have to change her surname after marriage. After reading your post and some of the comments, I gave this a little more thought… Many people had the same question as to why this has become a societally acceptable custom over the generations? Say for example my DH and I name our baby, Boy A-B, A and B being mine and DH’s respective surnames. He grows up and falls in love with a beautiful young lady whose equally progressive parents name her Girl X-Y. They get married and retain their respective names. One fine day, have a baby of their own. Are you with me so far? Now, what do they name their little one – Child A-B-X-Y??? Scratching my head here, help please? May be this was the simple reasoning behind a common family name? Just a way of indexing (like a database index?) and keeping track of family trees for endless generations? Any thoughts?

    • Pepper said

      Interesting question. One that has has crossed my mind too. I don’t have an answer to that one so far. The child’s last name being A-B-X-Y doesn’t sound too practical, right? It is way too long. And then what would his/her kids be named? At some point, somebody has to give in and let go of one of their names, I guess. Which is why, at times I think for my child’s last name, we will use mine and Mint’s first name. That way, when he/she has kids, they can probably retain their last name and give their child their first name? I don’t know. It’s just a thought and it comes with different complications.

      Also, I know a lot of women who have retained their last name, but have let their child take on their husband’s name, only. In that case, there wouldn’t be too many issues.

  44. Jo said

    My bows to ur Gentleman, dear Pepper.. Whether he is gona change or not is altogether a different question. But the fact that he came out with such an honest suggestion.. my kudos!! 🙂

  45. techie2mom said

    Kudos to both of you…
    But Life would have been equally difficult in case you decide to change the name, in that case you would have to maintain different documents, get the new documents made with the new name…so basically either way life is difficult…

  46. Mads said

    Ummm… Where did my comment go??

    • Pepper said

      I am sorry. Thanks for checking back. Made me hunt down your comment. Was lost in the midst of junk :(. WP has really been troubling me.

  47. Anjana said

    Your passport will be just fine, the agent is just being annoying. I did not change my name after marriage (mine was nice and alliterative as it was!) and got my passport renewed and added my husband as spouse on it using the marriage certificate as proof. It’s all good. Many people still address me as Mrs.Maiden Name though :-/ it’s a pity that Indians haven’t caught on to the Ms. Prefix!

  48. MoRS said

    I did not get my changed. Nor do I remember facing problems getting spouse’s name added on the passport without changing mine. It was all smooth. But that was 10 years ago. Are we regressing? 😀 I really thought keeping original name after marriage was a non issue now. But apparently NOT! Heh heh.. I would love to see people’s reactions if Mint does actually change his name 😀

  49. Shashi said

    I think its a matter of choice these days. Some change their surnames post marriage and some don’t.

    In some cases, I’ve known girls change even their first names. And even that is decided by the in-laws.

    I also know of a family where the child born to the couple bears mother’s surname.

    But yes you are right. You don’t have to change your name. It’s only an inconvenience these days, especially if you are travelling abroad. Names in degree certificates and passports don’t match due to this. And to prove its just the same person, so many more documents are to be shown to the authorities.

  50. KB said

    I am totally opposite here.. I didnt have a surname(atleast till first 18 years of my life when I had to give surname for the sake of passport) and I really wanted to change my second name to husband’s first name after marriage. But never got an opportunity to come to India & complete all those formalities..
    I guess it is about what every individual want. If I was forced to do it, I might have rebelled. But now, I know if I come to India for a decent number of days, I am going to make an effort to change my second name 🙂

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