I've never attached a lot of importance to my name. My identity of myself was always very distinct from it, maybe attached and coloured by it at times, but never truly defined by it.
My name today carries my maiden and Nino's Dad's surname. That's how Nino, who is currently in the phase where he refers to everyone in their 'full name', no doubt inspired by roll calls at school, calls me. Why? Perhaps because my father's name represented the culture I'd come to be familiar with while the husband's stood for a culture I was willing to accept. It's a odd thought coming from a person who has survived mix-breed parentage, because the fact that you grow up on the borders of two totally diverse cultures should be a life-long reminder that tags hurt, tags type-cast and tags build barriers.
My name now often attracts two distinct sets of attention: there are those, including the husband's sisters who 'appreciate' it and then there are those who seek to define it in terms that are usually enough to get any sane person's heart-rate high. Surprisingly, the husband and I have no take on it. Neither on the fact that I use my maiden-name passport or bank under two identities. There is so much more to me and my opinions than the name that you use to refer to me, that it honestly does not matter if I'm Acme, you know? As women, we tend to understand this more. The roles we play, sometimes define our existence and frame of mind so completely at times, that our multi-faceted personality is at peace with the one facet that is visible at that time.
I've seen fiercely independent and identity conscious friends simply change names after marriage and I've seen friends add in their maiden name years after having carried their husband's name. What sets them apart, is that either ways, it was a decision of choice, not a social/cultural/family diktat.
Which is why Sanjay Dutt's quote that 'girls who become part of a new family after marriage must assume their new surname and all the responsibilities that come with it', really ticked me off. This is what this man had to say about his sister, who still carries her maiden name, a fact, the actor says, 'maybe fashionable these days, but is dis-respectful to the person she married.'
Stopping short of calling Priya Dutt a fame hanger-on who uses her father's famous surname for her own benefits, Sanjay, who has recently entered the political fray, also manages to rubbish her identity - as someone's daughter, as a wife, a politician and a mother. It's alright that Sanjay uses his nomenclature heritage: his father's goodwill has managed to save him from conviction even.
What gives a son the right to use a particular name, while the same is denied to a daughter? This reformed junkie/gun-loving social deviant believes there's only one Mr and Mrs Dutt, and that's him and his latest wife Manyata, someone who carries as many dubious distinctions to her credit, as her latest husband. Not considering that she has changed names several times over to suit her divorce statuses and starry aspirations.
With his regressive views and criminal background, Sanjay seems the likely choice for Amar Singh and his party. And as for Priya's husband Owen Rancon, may his I-don't-give-a-damn-what-my-wife's-ration-card-says tribe increase.
3 hours ago