September 1, 2007

What's in a name?

After 30 years of being called Rekha Raghunathan, I am now Rekha Sathyanarayanan. Why? Because I wanted a passport for my daughter, that's why. The Indian legal system is such that it cannot issue a passport to an infant whose mother's last name is her fathers and not her husbands. I find it comical because the system is so flawed in almost every other aspect starting from application form to address verification. Showing a marriage certificate to prove that the child is indeed legal is unacceptable. The name has to match.

Reasons? Tradition, culture, its the "done and accepted" Indian thing...? Really, does a last name mean that much? My maiden name means a lot to me because I've had it all my life. That's me! I'm not saying that I don't like my husbands name but is it a part of our marriage vows or cermony to say "I take" rather than "I do"? Maybe it should be. All for a passport, that too!

1 comment:

mustirao said...

I hear you sista! Thanks to the Indian Embassy in D.C, my name and identity in the US and outside of it are different. I am S.Rao on my passport because the lady at the embassy insisted that "Indians do no hyphenate their names" (arrgh!) and my GC has my "one and vonly" SM. The only consolation to this we can book tickets and travel as a "party of 4" under the same last name!