Just a name

‘You changed your name?’ is the first reaction that I get when I meet some long-lost school chum. Some even go to the extent of saying,’I didn’t even change my surname and YOU changed your NAME’. Earlier I used to argue or tell the history of changing my name, now I do not bother (though my mind screams that its my name, I can change it or keep it).

It so happens that in typical Konkani tradition a bride on her “grihapravesh” is given a new name. No one really knows how this tradition came about but my aunt suggests that it may have happened because of the infant mortality rate being very high in olden days. Though infants are named on their 12th day itself, boys got to use their real names only when they started working; till then they were Babu, annu etc and girls got entirely new names when they got married. (till then they were ammu, ammanni etc). And so the tradition of renaming girls continues.

In recent times, the renaming is just perfunctory and females continue their maiden names, I had my name changed. Why? Well I was given some options and it was so thrilling to choose a name for myself; I mean how many of us do get a chance to do that.

Secondly it so happened that when we went to register our marriage, newly married, so much in love and lost on reality, that while filling in the form, (partly in jest) my husband filled in my new name. It was only when the clerk informed us that an affidavit has to be filed that reality stuck. And after that the formalities of getting it gazetted and getting a passport with my new name followed.

So do I regret changing my name? No, I don’t. I use both my names at my fancy and in many a times it helps me to remain incognito.

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15 thoughts on “Just a name

  1. Interesting, Reema.. so what r the two names? Bhagya and Reema? 🙂
    Even I changed my name.. i mean just the spelling of it.. and I have gotten attached to my new spelling so much that given a chance i’d like to keep it. 🙂

  2. In punjab old times too this was done the bride was given a new name.
    Lucky you two name mix and match as you please
    I guess as long as you are happy its got nothing to do with anyone.
    So tell us too wt are the two names.

    • I didn’t know that Punjab too followed this practise. Actually we GSBs ( a community in Konkanis) were originally Kashmiri Brahmins who travelled from Kashmir to UP to Gowd Desh in WB and then to Goa and down South, so we have amix of cultures and cuisines

  3. Lovely read. I know there is a custom of changing names. Now a days many do not change names during the grihapravesham.

    My name ws not changed . I don’t know hoe I would have felt. Lost a good opportunity .

  4. I find that a little odd too. I mean I really love my name and changed my surname as traditionally we do that. Yet, it would have been fine to retain both my maiden and married surnames, the only reason I did not do it was because it would be too long. But, if you like it, then that it what matters :).

    • As u said u changed ur surname as is done traditionally, well in ours name change is traditional although few do it legally. I did not find it very odd, bcoz I have seen it in my family from long 😀

  5. This is a revelation. 😀
    I don’t like/dislike the idea of getting one’s name changed but it sure is a major step. It was interesting reading your account. 😀

  6. I find the changing of names a not too pleasant thing but reading your perspective is a revelation. Goes to show we can be positive about anything under the sun, if we want to 🙂

    • I didnt give it much thought, partly bcoz it is a tradition in our community and also bcoz I was more bothered about a new life, new adjustments and a new commitment

  7. Naming oneself sure beats being named…and most definitely beats being called names 🙂 lol

    Being saddled with a nom de plume which may not meet ones approval or ends being made fun of…in formative years ( children as peers can be especially cruel ) is the largest reason why people change names. I had a worker , a welder in my dept, whose name was ” popat lal pareshan bhai patel”..when he migrated to the gulf he came to meet me and showed his passport. It read Ramesh Paresh Patel, not very imaginative however forever he rid himself of a tag that embarrassed him. It may have hugely positive psychological impact on him.

    So to each his own…even my name would get murdered early on…but it got shortened to the first phonetic..Kau…i grew up on it…but did i feel like changing it. Never, i like the sound of it…and on a culinary front i love “cows in my plate too ” hope am not offending brahminical sensibilities here …but then thats just food

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