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Twin surnames

My name is BetiB Rai Bachchan


So the world has been tweeting name options beginning with alphabet A for the most awaited baby in India to Junior Bachchan, although one has yet to be picked. But what I am more interested in knowing, is whether she will be a Bachchan or a Rai-Bachchan. I am hoping Aishwarya will do unto her daughter what she did unto herself and go the Rai-Bachchan way and hopefully, the parochial Bachchans will fall in line.

I am big fan of twin surnames, not for women, but for babies. I think it's just fair and equal. You keep yours, he keeps his, and when the baby is born, you collaborate. Post marriage, when I refused to tag the husband's last name to mine, I could see he was a tad disappointed (they all want it secretly, however much they may pretend otherwise). I figured Iyer was way cooler and more cerebralsounding than Agarwal, and frankly how many of us have a cool four-letter word for a last name? I also gave him the whole byline spiel, which is all bollocks, but he bought it. It's not like one day I am Kareena Khan and people will stop watching my movies.

But I made a deal that the cats and the babies would have twin surnames. The cats of course scoffed at being appended human names, but the baby was too young to protest and Rehaan Iyer-Agarwal eventually happened.
And that's where the adventure began.

When I applied for Re's birth certificate, they told me, "Are you sure? It might cause complications. You can leave it out now if you want, and think about it later. No hurry!"

I didn't want to think. So on week two of Re's birth, I came home armed with ten copies of Rehaan Iyer-Agarwal's birth certificate.

Soon, it was passport time. When the cop came home for his police verification, he wanted to know a)who Iyer was, b)who Agarwal was and c)why do we have a child with a Muslim name. Till then, I didn't even realise that Rehaan was Arabic. "You people are unnecessarily causing confusion, " he said.

"And what when he gets married? What about his wife?" said someone.

"His wife is hardly my problem. Let her figure it out, " I said.

When I filled his form for school, I was asked, "Two surnames? Are you sure? You want to keep both? Why don't you just write Agarwal?"

"I am still here, " I muttered.

I found that the same people who were cool with me not changing my name shifted awkwardly when I told them the baby was an Iyer-Agarwal.

Almost every single friend of mine who was liberated enough not to change her last name post marriage didn't blink an eyelid giving the baby 'his' name. And what happened to the Sharma-Salujas and the Sen-Sharmas and the Bedi-Ibrahims when they had babies ? Why would Konkona let go of the nice and aliterative Sensharma Shorey, I don't know.

I know why. It's the paperwork. It's a bitch. Especially if you are doing it yourself. My friend Deepa has had hell with paperwork, right from birth certificate to bank account to passport in trying to get her son to be called Dhruv George Vetoskar.

In any case Rehaan Agarwal doesn't sound as cool as Rehaan Iyer-Agarwal. Or maybe it's just me. Beti B may not have those problems. Her birth certificate might have been homedelivered, as will be her passport or Aadhar card. Schools will be vying for her, Rai-Bachchan or Bachchan. Her problems might start decades later. May be when she ends up marrying a Rao-Khan or a Kapoor-Khan (I am sure it will eventually happen, the babies I mean). Can you imagine an Anamika Rai-Bachchan Rao-Khan ? And what about her children? Unless Prateik (of no surname fame) has a boy - who marries BetiB and the Rai-Bachchan legacy continues to remain undiluted.

Reader's opinion (8)

Latha IyerNov 28th, 2012 at 15:51 PM

Oh.. I have the same surname as yours and I also didnt change it after my marriage. More because of the paperwork involved.

Meera KSep 15th, 2012 at 06:53 AM

Nice read. We have the same case regards my I can identify with your situation..

Anshul GargMar 25th, 2012 at 15:09 PM

Its been so long since I a smile lingered over me for a while after I've read an article...A very nice interesting read.... :)

Prakash ChandraJan 9th, 2012 at 01:46 AM

The piece makes me smile. My wife has retained her maiden name, & even the doctor in London asked, why do you two have different surnames!!! He s a Gujrati based in London!

Sandeep JainJan 5th, 2012 at 13:34 PM

Never empathized with Silly obsession of celebrities private lives. Not every happening in celebrity life can be opened for public debate specially child birth.In this case reluctance of B family has been very evident. Any public nuiasance that reduce child of a celebrity a commodity be avoided.

Samikhya BeheraDec 16th, 2011 at 09:18 AM

Nice thought and it was a nice read :)

Priya NambiarDec 12th, 2011 at 16:40 PM

LOL!! may soon be a possibility, after Aamir Khan names his kid Azad Rao Khan. :)

Radhika Kowtha-raoDec 10th, 2011 at 19:17 PM

Neat thoughtful piece :)
I regret slightly that I didn't keep my maiden name as at least a middle name. But I know my kids will retain their middle name.
I like taking the husband's name after. Slightly old fashioned maybe, but it does give a sense of belonging. :)

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