The house is full of friends and family. Every corner of the house has been decorated with garlands of flowers.and tiny bulbs which have added to the beauty of the bunglow. It almost feels that stars have landed on earth for Pooja’s wedding. Groups of guests are seen spread all over the house- chit-chats, banters-laughs everything unlimited. The air smells flowers, lovely sweet dishes, loads of samosas and crispy kachori’s accompanied with masala chai and masala milk. A typical Indian wedding atmosphere that is so full of colors, aroma, people, and livelihood. Indian weddings are one of the highlights of our culture. One of the important turning points of our life is marriage for some it may not be as in today’s world there are hardly who believe in this institution. Pooja is a sweet, confident and smart girl with a degree in economics. She has been a University topper and has high aspirations for a bright career. After the wedding she will move to the States with her husband. She is right now nervous and happy rather experiencing a whirlpool of emotions. Leaving all the known, loved ones behind she is heading towards a future which is unknown yet appealing. She wants to travel to her future but she has to leave her past. Everything will change her name, her relations her life and even more ‘herself!’ The toughest task would be bidding adieu to her past, her parents mainly and everyone whom she loves. She is in her room, very quiet engrossed in her own self. Trying to figure out the change She met Raghav through common friends and then bloomed their love story and with acceptances from both the families they are getting married. So she knows the person in and out with whom she has decided to spend her own life but yet there is a hitch. What is it? Suddenly disturbed by the knock on the door, she almost misses her heart beat and with her palm on her heart she opens the door to find her loving Grandma standing there wearing a warm smile. She melts in her Grandma’s arms and starts sobbing. Grandma knows that these are all pre-marital jitters and sits down with her to soothe her. Pooja wiping her eyes and nose says “ Ammu, were you scared when you got married? Were you ready for this big change which was to change your name –your identity? Hence forth I will be known as Mrs Raghav…I don’t want to lose my identity!’. After posing this question Pooja looks at her Ammu for the answer. She knows she will get one.
To this question she first smirked and looked at me...held my hand and very gently massaged it with hers. With lots of memories in her eyes she started telling me her story.
Grandma: I had no much choice about my marriage. Your grandfather’s family was the first to have proposed for marriage and it was happily accepted The elders decided and I accepted. They knew what was right for me and I happily accepted their decision. It was from a very young age when we were taught that we are born here but belong to someone and one fine day that someone would come and take me along with him. I lived in that fantasy getting my doll married to my friend’s male doll, sent my doll away and it never felt odd. It was natural as though it was nature’s law. I was taught to be accomplished in household duties, taught to care for elders, respect them and never utter a single word in front of them. I never saw your grandfather until the day we married. That time was different and nobody ever asked me whether I wanted to marry? Did I like the bride-groom? I never felt that I needed an identity to live. Neither had I bothered nor did anyone else thought about changing surname make such a big difference to my identity. In fact after so many years of togetherness with your grandfather I realized that he was my identity. The day I lost him I lost my identity. After all this explanation she looked into my eyes with that witty smile on her face, she said to me, “I accepted your grandfather and everything related to him. There were never any issues about right-wrong, ego but yes we had self-respect and that is more important than identity. There are many important issues in life rather than thinking about loss in identity by changing name.”
Pooja was speechless and this discussion with Grandma was enough to set a storm of thoughts in her but she got her answer. About to ask her next question she saw her mom coming in and soon there were three generations speaking about identity crisis! Pooja’s mom could sense that she was disturbed. Pooja turned to her mom, rested her head in Mom’s lap. The moment she did so, she was out of the storm, her lap is the best place in the world-so serene, peaceful. Mom started.gently running her fingers in Pooja’s hair and started putting her words together.
Mom: I was the eldest of all and was considered to be responsible for my every act. Baba (Pooja’s grandfather) gave me the right education and teachings about everything. He gave me the freedom of expression when required. He always supported me when I rejected a marriage proposal as he knew I never took disadvantage of the freedom bestowed. As a growing girl child I saw him as a caring husband. He never treated Maa (Pooja’s grandma) as a slave or with disrespect. This is when I learnt that having respect in a relation is the most important. He realized the sacrifices Maa made for him and he always made sure that she gets her due respect. Today I am the Principal of a school and I know the world better now but then as a growing child I knew what to expect from my husband. Rajesh (Pooja’s father) has been a wonderful husband, partner. We saw many ups and downs in our life but we faced them with one identity. I never realized the necessity to retain my own identity that is because Rajesh never forced anything on me. I accepted myself as Mrs Rajesh because I liked being addressed so. By nature Man and Woman are of different temperaments. Man is more aggressive and Woman is sober. They are with 2 different energy levels and the best happens when they strike a balance. So, if I took a back step doesn’t mean that I was inferior or had no say but I thought this was the best solution. Looking at Pooja, she said there will be more real things which you will face as a couple and then you will realize that there is nothing like individual identity-everything is based on how well you know each other, accepted each other as Man & Woman. Your love, commitment is to each other is what matters, rest all are petty issues.
Pooja seemed very settled with all these explanations and philosophy. She was ready to face the change named ‘Marriage’. A 21st century girl but yet confused about her identity. Will Pooja Rajesh Mehta accept herself as Pooja Raghav Joshi?
If I were Pooja, I would happily have taken Raghav’s name. As I know everyone accepts this officially but find a problem to accept this publicly. Whatever I change my name to but I will always be a daughter to my parents, a sister to my brother, a grand-daughter to my grandma. In science my Blood, my DNA is my identity, the good deeds I do is my identity, the right way of living I inculcate in my kids is my identity. Let us not complicate life anymore with such petty issues, there is much more value to our life.
Remember; everything good and sensible in this world is ONLY due to Woman and why does she need an identity? She is just like water – takes the shape of a container but never loses her form-her identity!
P.S: I am Trupti Jamalpure-Sharma on social networking site only because my school and college friends weren't able to find me on the net with the name Trupti Sharma....but officially and whole heartedly I am Mrs Trupti Kamendra Sharma...:)