Do you know how efficient it has now become to acquire a passport in the democratic republic that is our loving motherland India? No this is not sarcasm nor rhetoric. It is indeed extremely efficient and takes not more than a few days and the tatkal passport may be delivered as quick as less than 48 hours! There is but one problem with this; I suspect it will lead to an unprecedented and inordinate rise in the percentage of marital squabbles. Allow me to explain..
There was a time when a woman married into the family of her partner and that day forth, she was no more the daughter of her father as she was the daughter-in-law in her new household. She would be expected to take on her new role with confidence and grace (mother-in-laws were around to ease her into the process) and in this process, she would even take upon the second name of her now-family.
And thus the process of marriage was deemed complete. Kids et al would follow. Happily ever after, or at least, no public complaining. Then came the breed of women who had careers and more importantly and secondly, had self-respect. They were all willing to be a part of their new family, but didn’t see the point in severing ties with the one that had brought her into this world. They saw little point in changing names to keep up some sham-ritual that didn’t make any more sense than low-calorie butter popcorn.
But to state their views openly would have been to invite the ire of the in-laws and that, as we have learnt from the innumerable serials on the telly, was never good. But smart as they were, they cited practical reasons to shield them from any confrontations. “Do you know how tough it is to get a new license/passport?” “What about my voter id?”
The bank account was another safe refuge, but with the opening of these multinational banks, the kind that will even do your dishes if you are willing to write a shiny penny to their name all in the name of investment, that ‘problem’ went away.
But the passport/driver’s license souci remained and the husband’s side of the family acquiesced. It was agreed collectively that the daughters-in-law may keep their maiden names for it would be just too darned difficult to try and change it on all legal documents. And no good family would want to delay a honeymoon which could signal a significant potential delay in spawning the scion of the family.
And so, women were allowed to maintain their status quo. Maybe some were kind enough to use a double-barrel surname, hyphenating their husband’s at the end of theirs, but for all purposes legal they continued their lineage as much as a boy child would have.
Honestly, that sounds about how it should be. But now with these simplified processes to acquire all official documents, I am scared that the traditional undivided family brigades will be out in droves canvassing their cause, demanding all daughters-in-law to change their names to that of their husband’s. And this time around, these lovely ladies would have little to offer by way of evasion.
So I am taking a stance here: why is changing a name so important? In times when one out of every three marriages can head for a divorce is changing a name really so relevant in ensuring longevity and stability to a relationship? Wouldn’t it be better to allow each person their individual identity and then let them merge to form a new one together? Shakespeare would be saddened to live in times like these when the lovely roses are no more left alone to blossom as they please.
The writer is a lover of wine,song and everything fine...