The girl who never forfeited her family name

Story by Baishali Ghosh

I feel a great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences and appreciate each other and their choices.

My journey from Baishali Ghosh to Baishali De has been something that might seem ordinary to some but can empower some others. Not that I chose to keep my maiden name to make a difference as such, I did so because despite getting married to Kaushik De, I will always be a Ghosh.

Coming from an interior designing background with great patronage for music and teaching, nothing very socially empowering happened post marriage that led to me not giving up my maiden name and adopting a new family name. For me getting acquainted with the Kaushik De family as their daughter-in-law was a different wavelength altogether. Ghosh is something I have spent my childhood with, something that shall always stay with me. It's like my maiden name is not just a name, its an emotion, a memory of major events in my life and you just don’t let go your identity one fine day.

The decision of keeping Ghosh as my Maiden name wasn’t something that would socially come along well with people. In a society where daughters are sent off to their husband’s place as a commodity to belong there for the rest of their lives, the thought of taking a step towards a more inclusive and revolutionary ideology was envisaging.

On expressing my desire to call myself Baishali Ghosh, it was patronizing to see my husband and his family being firm and accepting towards something that doesn’t fit in a predefined set of rule books. Their support to continue identifying the way I wished to was a great support in this entire series of events.

There have been days when people in my son’s school or activity classes address me as Mrs. De. It's the assumption that most women identify with their man’s name post marriage that compels me to think about the underlying patriarchy and misogyny that promotes such behavior. And that is when I have to correct then mentioning how I identify as Baishali Ghosh and not Mrs. De.

It is scrutinizing to see most folks not comprehending a basic understand but I believe it’s understandable to give our society some time to understand the essence of the aforementioned instance and what significance it holds. The roots of patriarchy are such that it would take a good long while to bring about quality changes. But if steps like such are more often taken, we will soon be able to highlight our women’s identity as more than a confined individual in their in-laws and an individual with their own distinct identity.

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