I got married almost two years ago and continue to hold my maiden name. I always knew that I didn’t want to part with my surname. It’s the name I grew up with, it’s my identity and I would never, ever want to change it. My parents are the ones who gave me birth, brought me up, gave me the life I have today and they are the ones who got me married. Why would I ever want to give away the name and surname that they gave me?
Mine was a love marriage but I had known his parents only for a very short while, and taking up his family name is something I was not comfortable with. In fact, ours was an inter-caste marriage and a change in the surname meant I would be leaving behind my Punjabi identity too. And really, I don’t get the whole concept of changing names post marriage. How does it even make a difference?! Moving homes after marriage in itself is a major lifestyle change, why add another unnecessary trouble?
Changing the surname is a whole lot of paperwork. All my legal documents and ID proofs would need work, and that involves a lot of time and running around. Honestly, I’d rather spend my time in some other, better way. And I’m not too fond of my husband's surname anyhow! It suits him but doesn’t really blend well with my name.
I did consider making my maiden surname into a middle name, like the trend popular today - Kareena Kapoor Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Let's admit it, I am no celebrity and soon my middle name would have been forgotten.
Lucky for me, this topic somehow never came up with my in-laws. They are a busy working couple and the one time they asked me about my name change, I just brushed off the topic altogether. I still don’t know how they would react if they ever heard of my decision! I’m sure there will be some sort of a discussion but, thankfully, they are extremely open-minded. And having a super supportive husband really helps!
In fact, when I do have kids, I would want them too to hold my surname. It could be their middle name but they must get family names from both their father’s and mother’s side. I would want them to be as much a part of the Malhotras* as they are of the Singhs*.
But yes, not changing your surname has one major disadvantage. Whenever we both take a vacation (especially in India) and check into a hotel with different surnames, we are bound to get suspicious smiles and stares. It almost makes me feel like I am doing something wrong! Oh, and my husband makes it worse by announcing at the hotel desk, “I hope your husband doesn’t find out!” ;)