Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Much Ado About a Surname

I was named after someone my mother admired, an acquaintance of hers, at her work place. I was okay with my name. It was a rare name at the time. My full name was Preethi Kannada then. But I didn’t like my mother’s family name which was my surname because of two reasons. First, it was a synonym for glasses in my native tongue and secondly it was also a language name. I had plenty of nicknames and adding to the woe was my surname. I never wrote it on my books. I kept my name short. I was just Preethi.K . Only a few knew the expansion of my initials all the while. My brother and sister had adopted the family name without any issues. They were brave souls!

Those who knew my surname would ask me whether I knew Kannada language or ask me about the meaning of the bizarre family name, or ask whether I wore glasses. I was ill equipped to face the ridicule that followed usually. You know how mean kids can get in school.

So my surname hid under my initials for a long time and it was never revealed. Then I got married after I completed my Engineering degree. My husband’s name is Venugopala and he is known as Venu or Venugopal to his friends. I quickly adopted his name as my surname as it sounded cool. It was also the name of Lord Krishna, the most worshipped and loved God among the Avatars of Lord Vishnu. I quickly created a Facebook account with the name and I became Preethi Venugopala to all. I loved my new name.

Nobody had asked me to change my surname. It was my decision. But our names do change us, doesn’t it? I have mellowed down with this change in surname. It is as though the name has given me a new identity.

The numerology sites help me argue my point. Look at the reading about my name before and after the change in surname.

I am not in favour of changing surnames after marriage as a custom. If you like it, adopt it. If you don’t, keep your maiden name. There should not be a compulsion. It has to be done with love.

After marriage you do get a new identity. You become somebody’s soulmate and become a member of a different family. But that doesn't mean that you should change your surname as well.

Didn’t we all doodle our names with that of our crushes while in school to check whether it matched, whether it was awesome or whether it sucked? Same way, doodle your name, find the impressive one, and keep it.

I have read about traditions of families where the bride is required to change her name after marriage. Not surname, her first name. But again, it depends on love and ability to adapt to the change. No one should be forced to follow it.

After all, in the illusion that life is, we do create much ado about everything. And why to spare a surname?


  1. Nicely shared, Preethi!

    Yes, the girl/woman should have the freedom to decide.

    No matter what our names mean or even if we change, I believe we remain the same person with the same qualities/personality :)

  2. Good reasons Preethi. I too changed but I don't know why. :D
    I never gave it much thought. :P :)

  3. If something is forced upon you, whether it's surname or anything else, it takes away its natural charm. :)

  4. Hahaha. Most of us change it without any reason I guess. :)

  5. We do change through the years, don't we?
    I have certainly changed. If we don't, our circumstances make us change.

  6. True. Hope we all decide for ourselves & be change-agents :)

    I was referring to the basic qualities & our beliefs in the context of the Name-meaning-website that you have shared :) Thanks for the info!

  7. This line is perfect - "Those who knew my surname would ask me whether I knew Kannada language or ask me about the meaning of the bizarre family name, or ask whether I wore glasses.",
    read about this types of blogs here - http://www.resetaddiction.com/

  8. I briefly changed my name on my office database after marriage. More than anything, it was out of sheer excitement of being married :P For the same reason that I was briefly in love with sporting sindoor. But I reverted to my maiden name awhile later. My husband was cool with it. Had he forced me to retain his name, then I would have had some pretty strong views about this topic! :D

    Oh, and you think your family name is funny? My mom's family name is Pacha! My brother had to take this surname and I know how much he's suffered.

  9. I sometimes find it funny how all this works adding a character to the surname or name .. Maybe it works.. I ma happy with the name i have and i would not want to change mine for anything .. and dont think anyone should ..

    the thing is I am sure if my name was GABBAR SINGH I would still be ME .. how will the change of name change.. :)