Do you remember sitting in a circle in your classroom when you were about 15 or 16 year olds, passing your lunch and grabbing a bite of your classmate’s chapatti, looking at each other and smiling and then bursting out into loud laughter with heads rocking up and down and covering your naughty smiles with your hands? And the reason for those carefree giggles and laughter of freedom? Your best friend was describing how her dream boy should be and the beautiful saree she would like to wear in one of her wedding functions. And how she would wait for her husband to return back home from a long day’s work, tired and exhausted. Giggles and cute noises follow. She would get a little irritated and the disturbance breaks the flow. She would rewind and repeat everything all over again just to say the next point that how she would keep dinner ready for him and sit together and eat with him.
Time passes. All those whims and fancies about your marriage just remain in your thoughts and are lost amidst the walls of the classroom and those times.
Talking largely about the Indian culture, on an average, every girl who gets married or is going to get married starts associating herself with her husband and his family as hers from day one. This is exactly what she is expected to do. I am not against this. It is the duty of the girl to uphold her husband’s and his family’s name, culture and respect. It is her duty to keep all of them happy and bound together with a single thread. Along with this, she starts doing something that is not mentioned anywhere in any of the rituals performed on the auspicious occasion of a marriage or mentioned when the marriage was fixed by two families. What is that .She starts losing her identity.
She starts doing and talking and eating and everything she can as per how her husband and her in-laws want her to. She is no longer the same old “herself” as she was before marriage. And the biggest loss to her is the change of her name. Since time immemorial, this tradition has been followed. Not only in India, in other parts of the world too. The girl has to change her surname or the last name to that of her husband’s name or his family’s title. Doing this is not a little bit of paper work and troubles of changing the girl’s name on her passport and other important documents. There is much more to this. Name is the basic identity of an individual. Changing your name is like changing yourself. The girl is slowly moving towards forgetting her identity and undergoing a transformation which is not an easy one. To suddenly associate yourself with a name different from what you have been called all your life till you just got married is unjust and not fair on the girl’s part.
Changing the name should be a personal choice. If the girl is ready and happy, it can be done. But most of them do not believe and agree in the logic behind this. Now-a-days it’s not mandatory. It’s the girls call entirely on this matter of whether she wants to change her last name or not. This is an excellent change in mindset and must be encouraged. Earlier, as there was no other option, the girl had to accept the harsh truth. And even after this, those few girls who do not change their names give their children the husband’s name. Why not give the children the woman’s family’s name? She has as much rights as her husband on the child too. Nonetheless, it will take ages to get this change in mindset. Until then, all girls must enjoy this freedom and opt for not changing their last name after marriage.
Another essential thing associated with or after marriage effects are that the girl has to give up her dreams and passion. There is an evident change in her behavior and she is no more “the complete herself”. Some women stop taking care of their themselves in terms of their looks and hair-style. Because she is married now and need not look pretty so as to catch the attention of a man’s eyes. It is only her husband who is going to look at her and he already considers her the most beautiful woman in the world, however she looks. This thought is superb on the men’s part to accept their wives as they are, at least physically. But this definitely does not mean giving up taking care of your looks. The girls or women have enough to deal with adjusting in a new place and learning new rules and regulations, lest at the cost of completely wiping up one’s identity.
The catch here is to encourage women to be their own selves at least to the extent of not creating a completely new identity after getting married. They should make an attempt to fulfill their dreams along with the dreams of their husbands and the family. They should pamper themselves and dress-up and even apply make-up if they like doing so or follow their passion as they did before marriage.
Ideally, a handful of women are there who love themselves too much to undergo a change of this kind after marriage. Women must be given their space as individuals and their way of living which has been ingrained in them since childhood should not be allowed to loose its essence , both by the women herself and her husband and the family.