My old school friend who resides in the US had to urgently fly down to India this week. The reason being that she had to get her Aadhar Card made. Apparently, the Indian government has made it compulsory to link Aadhar Cards to bank accounts. My friend, like many Non-Resident Indians has investments and bank accounts in India.
A couple of days ago, she called me sounding extremely disgruntled and asked me whether my Aadhar Card was in my married name or in my maiden name. Apparently, my friend uses a hyphenated surname, i.e. both her maiden name and her married name.
This was unacceptable for the authorities issuing the Aadhar Card and they sternly informed her that an Aadhar Card could only be issued with one surname! My friend was at her wit’s end as she could not comprehend why an Aadhar Card could not be issued with two surnames.
This led me to recollect that when I had just gotten married, I was determined to hold on to my maiden surname. I had reasoned to myself that this was the surname that I was born with and had grown up with and that I was surely entitled to hold on to it.
But shortly after my wedding, my passport had to be renewed as it had expired. I had to encounter the authorities at the passport office who told me in no uncertain terms that a passport could not be issued to me in my maiden name. After a lot of protesting on my part, I was issued with a passport with a double-barrelled surname, my maiden name and my married name!
Today, after 17 years of marriage, I have realised that it no longer means that much to me to hold on to my maiden name. I now freely use my married name, as it is much easier to pronounce and spell than my maiden one.
But I have managed to create an identity crisis, some of my papers are in my maiden name, some in my married name and some with both the names! Even my social media accounts are in different names! I am at a loss now as to how to clear up this mess.
However, I console myself by saying, “What’s in a name?”