What’s in a name said the old Bard feller. Well, if he had to change names - he might have sung a different tune.
I find myself suffering from writers’ cramp every time I write my name these days. The original name pretty much covered seventy percent of the alphabet – the addition of one more name causes a bit of a glut.
It all started when I got married. I have had the old handle for darn too long to willingly contemplate parting with it (its not even women’s lib or anything militantly feministic – just sheer familiarity.)
However, the materfamilias started their collective guilt-tripping – “HOW can you not take their name? They will get offended/hurt/ostracized!”/ “It will be a problem on your passport you know – your marital status will say married but will not reflect in your name” /”What will you do when you have kids – they will have problems with admissions” and much else in the same vein
(Incidentally the in-laws and outlaws have discreetly forborne to have ANY opinion on this.)
I countered with a - I have worked far too long. I have a reputation (sic!) in the industry – do you expect me to throw all that away and go back to being a fresher? Besides, all my official documents are all on the old name. And I am damned if I can remember one more signature (as it is I barely recall the old one).
So we settled on hyphenation. And therein starts the problem.
No one seems to want to use both the surnames. Most people chose whichever they want to depending on temperament and upbringing.
At work, my boss who is a disgruntled ex-advertising-feller-in-a-strange-alien-workplace (like me) usually uses my first surname. The Human resource female (who seems to have made it her life’s mission to remind me of my marital status – she comes wearing a wig of sindoor and has her wedding snaps as a screen saver) always uses the latter (using a prefix ‘Mrs” in all official communication – which incidentally annoys the shit out of me).The rest use one or the other or both or none (“oi ..you there..c’mere”)
My official email id uses the earlier name. My business cards use both. My appointment letter uses the new one.
In Bombay I use the first name. In Pune (depending on who is within earshot) I use the other.
For the purpose of piety (temples) I use the latter (Actually I use only my first name and someone else adds the suffix) and for the profane (shopping!) I use the former.
This whole double identity thing is beginning to muddle my brains a little. I catch myself wondering what name to use when people ask for it these days - occasionally doing a mental inky-pinky-ponky to chose. I have tried using both – but usually by the time I am half way through the first name people lose interest in what I am saying. The other day I actually forgot both the names and stood there blankly for a few minutes. Then I had the happy thought of offering my christened name and sacrificing both the last names. I have toyed with the idea of converting myself into a south Indian and just using the initials (or better still abandon both the names and use the town)
The other day, after ranting on this for fifteen minutes on this I look expectantly at the hero. He grins at me and asks – “I forgot to ask you – what do you use as your middle name?”
Maybe ill just call myself Oi.