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Married not changed
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An apt title for what I used to think about when I first got married. Thanks to Twinkle Khanna.

Married not branded

A shy newlywed woman

As society has it, like every other female, even I was led to believe that, once married, a woman is obliged to change her last name by law. All my aunts had their husbands’ surnames. Everyone I knew had their husband’s surname. Even my Mother had my Father’s surname. Initially, the mention, of my name with a different surname, would excite me. I did not give it a second thought until I officially got married and was actually about to change my name for good.

One fine morning, halfheartedly, I followed my husband to the embassy in order to do the great deed; a necessary alteration as a married woman. I felt as if I were on the way to become someone else. I felt like I was forcing myself to do this as I was there only because I believed it was compulsory. We filled the form and I, reluctantly, looked at my new name staring back at me and wondered why the surname change was mandatory when I could’ve filled in any name in those given spaces. Suddenly, it didn’t make sense to me but then again many customary things didn’t make sense to me.

Married not branded

Lost in the perils of married life

We queued before the counter and waited for our turn. I wanted to run. I knew I didn’t want this now that it was actually going to happen. I didn’t want to be anyone else. I suddenly began loving my name. It was something that I had never given a thought to as it was taken for granted ever since I can remember, but, that day I realized how much I wanted to be called by my name only. How could I change it to something else? Yes, there is a saying that a rose will still remain a rose even if we called it something else but why should it be called anything else? Did it make sense if we called it a ‘table’? Various thoughts ran through my head. We were still in queue.

When we reached the counter, a friend stood on the other side smiling at me. We exchanged greetings as we had not met for a while. Then, we handed over the forms to her. She looked at them and said to me, “You know that name change is not compulsory, right? And, if you want, you can change your name when you renew your passport.” Suddenly overjoyed with the new information presented to me, I confirmed, with her, what she said and changed my decision. I asked her merely to add my husband’s name as spouse and trash the forms we had just handed over to her. Maybe, if required, I would change my name at a later time. Or maybe, if I had a gun to my head.

I was showered with many questions as I didn’t change my surname because I was a woman; a married woman. My husband was confused with my sudden decision but supported me and that was all that mattered to me. He knew I would be his wife whether I had his surname or not. I would still be nagging him like a wife. I would still care for our children and be a good mother. I would not turn into a better person after taking his name and neither would I become less evil.

My daughter once asked me why my son, husband and she had the same surname, and I had a different one. I patiently explained to her that the way she was given her father’s surname when she was born, likewise, I was given my father’s surname when I was born. She happily accepted my answer and explained it to anyone who mentioned my name along with my husband’s surname. Why can’t the world be like my daughter?

Married not branded

An Indian married woman

People should understand that ‘marriage’ does not mean we are obliged to be branded with the husband’s family name. ‘Marriage’ does not give a husband the right to force his name on his wife. It should be a matter of choice; like some women want to take their husband’s name because they, perhaps, feel closer to their spouses while some only add their husband’s surname after their own, separated with a hyphen or an ‘e’. People like me don’t do either. Nevertheless, this decision, according to me, should be left to the new brides. Don’t you think?

Cindy D'Silva
Cindy D'Silva
Cindy D'Silva, besides being a mother of two angels, is a belly dancer, writer and photographer. She loves partying, bowling and eating sushi. There is a detailed biography about her on the ABOUT ME page in case you would like to know more. :) You can like and follow her Facebook page to get all updates on the latest blogs and more: https://www.facebook.com/blogaberry/

37 Comments

  1. Amrit Kaur says:

    I feel that feelings and relationship matters more than changing a surname. It should be one’s choice to change surname or add husband’s surname after marriage.

  2. Dr Bushra says:

    That’s a never ending debate by women as well. But nevertheless, yours decision is good. I also believe in not changing my surname as it’s part of my identity.

  3. Things are changed now, I willingly changed my surname, I love my previous surname and this one too so I don’t have an issue, my sister in law is using her before marriage surname only and my parents didn’t force to change her surname.

  4. Roma says:

    Absolutely I didn’t change my name because all my documents were on my maiden name and so the debate never arose at our place. I like adding his name to mine so I add it after my maiden name at some places

  5. Well I think it is completely a personal choice. if you feel you are not comfortable in changing your surname after marriage, then you should not do it. at the end it is all about your love and care that nurture a beautiful relationship called marriage. changing or not changing surname is a small thing and all should avoid judging others on this matter.

  6. Now a days many women stick to their maiden names. Many of my friends have retained it but it highly depends if your spouse is supporting of it. I have seen a colleague going through a hell lot of agony just to retain her maiden name.

  7. Varsh says:

    Oh, this is nostalgia. I did a similar post years ago! I have changed my name, by choice, but the attachment we have for my maiden name and surname never goes.

  8. Absolutely, your name is your most prominent identity and it should be a choice how you want to change it post marriage. In some communities, its not just the surname but also first name that is changed. And that just not done, atleast in my opinion

  9. Zahra Jani says:

    Names are identity by itself. It is really amazing and bold to stick to the decision. Especially when you are at the brim of a change. But yes it does matter – the self identity before marriage.

  10. I so concur with your feelings ! I hope this practice is really dropped off because it feels just a lot of paperwork for not good purpose . I heard in Maharashtra in some cultures a woman has to adopt a new first name too at the time of her marriage…

  11. Alpana says:

    I haven’t changed my last name after marriage. And I don’t feel bad about it. Afterall that’s my original identity. But if at all I decide to change it then I would go for both the surnames. That will look complete to me.

  12. Richa sharma says:

    Your blog is certainly a breath of fresh air. Our culture is so deeply rooted with the thought, that after marriage our life is all about our husband and their family. I hope your article will bring a positive change to society.

  13. Marriage should be liberating in many ways but the social fabric in which we live kind of complicates a lot of things for a lot of unnecessary reasons. Your blog post makes a lot of sense and I totally feel the need that we must challenge stereotypes.

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  14. What I liked the most on this post is the title of it, ‘Married, not Branded’, that is so true. And our society take both the terms as same. It should be acceptance of each other and life rather than imposing each other, esp the names.

  15. I also get thousands of questions because of the same reason, not changing my surname after marriage. But I have been hell bent in not changing it.

  16. Sundeep says:

    Good to see that your husband supported you. I am totally agree you on this. And I love the way you explained to your daughter.

    • Reubenna says:

      I think its also going through a lot of hassles, like changing the name in every official documents legally. I am fine with my original last name and my husband is super cool with that.

  17. Amrit Kaur says:

    Yes i agree with you no one should be forced to change the last name. I had similar experience to fight with authorities when i wanted to replace my father’s name with my mother’s name but I am glad that i made that happen in every document of mine.

  18. Noor Anand Chawla says:

    I agree that changing one’s name is purely a question of personal choice. I chose to keep mine and take my husband’s too.

  19. Manisha Garg says:

    I can relate to it. It’s actually a personal choice some woman find it exciting. Legally there are not many complications now so I am glad we can make our choice.

  20. Rituka Bisht says:

    Well we are living in a world where everyone expect us to adjust and change after marriage and I am glad your hubby supported u

  21. Anitha Reddy says:

    Cindy I totally agree with you we have our own personality so name should not be changed.

  22. Hema says:

    Nice write up cindy ! Loved reading it. Luckily I never had to face the embarrassment- my husband and me shared similar second names even before we got married.

  23. Lux says:

    Absolutely agree with you. It took me awhile to get used to the new surname.Change of name felt like change of identity.

  24. Verushka says:

    I whole heartedly agree with you!!!I legally didn’t change my last name because for me personally I felt a little lost with my maiden last name not attached to me. But at the end it’s each ones choice. Awesome article loved it!❤️

  25. Vidya says:

    I agree with you…

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