Monday, 15 December 2014

so what's in a name...

literally! what's in a name?? every time you meet someone, and the first thing you exchange is a name! Strangely a lot can be said about the person from the name, atleast the country I come from, more often than not you can.

I read this piece recently and it got me thinking..

We had some friends over for lunch yesterday. And coincidentally this topic came up again. It was already on my mind, and I was only waiting for those 'free 20' minutes to put it all together...

After all these years, today I prefer to be called by my 'short name'. My full name is hardly used (except on my legal status). 

I have had huge debates when I got married to retain my maiden name. But legally then, the process was 'easier' if I shifted to my 'married' name. And so the shift was made. I always felt it should be a matter of 'choice'. Even whether you decide to take on your dad or mums' name or sometimes both. 

The solution could be that when you turn 18 years, you get to make that choice. Thankfully, I had parents who had the same family name, so the debate never arose for me. But in my kids case, I have added my family name to theirs. I am not sure what they will retain or drop it when they marry, but I would like that decision to be made out of choice!

More often I am also questioned on why I named my elder girl 'Zoya'. This name is associated with a certain race (that I or my spouse don't belong to). It was tough for family and friends (then) to accept it. But we thought very 'openly'. The moment we heard the name, we loved it. The meaning was even more beautiful. We never once looked at it from a 'racial' perspective. Was that my 'forward thinking' or was it me living at that point in Dubai and being used to hearing that name? I am not sure. 

My younger one carries a more 'normal' Indian name-Ira, thought this often gets twisted to 'Era' or 'Aira'.

We often have debates at home on this whole 'family name' topic. And of course my voice is a bit strong on this issue.  Seeing the Chinese system, where the middle name is often the family name, we have even got school letters addressed to the dad as 'Aditya Menon Gupta'. It thrills my daughters to see my name tagged along to their father's. But India, this is close to impossible.

I don't think there is 'one' right answer to this issue. Every society probably follows a different norm. But I still feel, the individual should have the 'choice' that they can make at a later stage in life.

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