‘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.