Considering I don’t come from a community that uses surnames, I want to know why every 9 out of 10 women I know who’ve gotten married have changed their last names from their father’s to their husband’s. Transfer of ownership eh? Right from their Facebook profiles to their Instagram handles to their names on their passports all of them.

I, for one, have never been able to understand this concept. When you’re born, though you belong to both your mother and your father, your only add your father’s name to your name. Why couldn’t my name have been Annapurani Kalyani Vaidyanathan instead of Annapurani Vaidyanathan?

Okay. That was then. Then, when the women in the society were docile. Then, when no one bothered to question anything they were subjected to.

But today is different. A tiny bit different from yesterday. But not a tad too different how it was years ago. Yet, even today, the moment a women gets married she adds her husband’s name to hers. To show to the world that she belongs to him? Maybe. To show to the world that she is taken? Maybe. But then, the same applies to her husband as well. Does he do that then? Not because the society wants him to, not because that is the norm but because the same technicalities apply to him as well? NO.

Stop doing it because it is the norm. Stop doing it because people want you to. Stop doing it because it sounds fancy. Stop doing it to show to the world that you belong to someone, because you don’t belong to anyone, except yourself. Do it if he doesn’t find any shame in adding your name to his. Do it because if he is as proud of you, as you are of him. Do it if he respects you as much as you respect him. Do it if he finds as much happiness in being a part of your life as you do, in being a part of his.

Because hey, you don’t need anyone to complete you. Woman up. You are as good an entity in this world as the man.
You aren’t in anyway beneath your man.

To those who want to argue it is her choice and she ain’t required to do it – I’m talking of the practice that’s been going on in the society for ages now. The practice that the woman now belongs to her husband’s clan. The practice that the woman and the children she begets will now follow his family’s choices and practices and methods. The practice that indicates that she no longer is part of her parent’s home now belongs to the husband’s family. I’m talking of that.

Not the one of choice – where the woman herself chooses to add his name to hers.

And to those wondering if I’m a feminist –

If you haven’t figured it already, hell yes, I am. Because, being an egalitarian clearly doesn’t work in a patriarchal society such as ours.



Are we asking for too much?

I have been meaning to write this for the longest time now but found the time and the temperament today, so here goes.
We ain’t ambitious to ask for Gender Equality and Women empowerment in the society we live in. In a society where the women are catcalled no matter what their attire is. In a society where the boy and his family find it difficult to accept a girl who is more educated. In a society where it pricks the husband’s ego if his wife earns more than him. In a society where the husband decides how and on whom his wife must spend her income. In a society where the woman isn’t entitled to an opinion; In a society which isn’t accepting enough for her to put forth her thoughts, her differences, her arguments, and her NO – because guess what, if she does she is either scarred for life or stabbed to death. 
We live in a society where the girl’s parents bear the expenses for a marriage both the families partake, give dowry (yes, the practice sadly still exists), sell their heart and soul to satisfy the guy’s family with the hope that their daughter is happy there. We live in a society we don’t bat an eyelid before blaming the woman, and this has been the practice since eons (Draupadi is even today touted to be the cause of the war).
In all probability, we can bring in change in such a society, if and only if we broaden our mindsets to – 

Treat kids of both the genders the same way. Educate and empower them both equally. Teach them both how to cook, wash, sweep and sew. 

Make them both strong and independent and capable. Help them understand that no job is too menial or too high for anybody, be it a man or a woman. Remove patriarchy at its very roots. Instill in them that both of them are equal by birth and neither, in any form, is superior to the other. Give them both, the freedom, the wisdom and the choice to choose, so they grow up to be each other’s support and strength and, above all, learn to respect each other. Stop giving the men in your family the sense of superiority, the space for authority and begin to be inclusive.
Because at the end of the day, man and woman, they are meant to go hand in hand, as equals. 

The impending need for Gender Equality.

I was scrolling through a few of the #MeToo posts on my timeline, when,

I thought I’d bring a few questions clawing my mind, to the society’s attention –
Why do you throw the girl child to the ants, why are you so pained by her presence,

When would you understand that SHE, is the reason for your very existence?
Why does her attire become the reason for your prejudice,

When her very being is always subjected to insurmountable injustice?
Why does it irk your ego if she wants move higher up the ladder, why do you expect her to compromise?

Why should she always be the one to sacrifice?

Wouldn’t her hard-work, her commitment, her passion for her work, just suffice?
Why do you advocate to her something, what you wouldn’t for yourself, find appropriate?

Why, despite being born an equal, do you expect her to be servile, to be the subordinate?
Why, when both are to blame, is she alone forced to mend her ways, is asked for a character certificate?

Why, what she brings with her, always seems to the world, a tad too inadequate? 
Why is there still, such deep rooted misogyny and patriarchy, why is there no space for gender equality?
Why don’t we understand it’s #HeForShe, and that’s exactly how the world is designed to be?!

Let’s fly high, my friend

Let not the society pull the strings of our lives, of our destinies,

Let not our race, religion, caste or creed decide who we are, or define our indefinable capacities,

Let not opinions biased, tarnish our hopes, our ability to try,

Let not doubts unascertained, limit our will to fly,

Let not stopgaps and pitfalls deter what we choose to pursue

Let nothing stop us from living our dreams, from becoming what we aspire to.


Pursue your passion 💖

Our society, I believe, has its own twisted definition for Darwin’s “Survival of the fittest”,

For it clearly reminds us time and again, about how it wants to be impressed –
“He owns a two-storey apartment, he drives to office in his own car,

He’s been to the U.S. twice, oh my God, he is such a star!”
“She works at Xyz. Everyone’s so proud of her –

See how the world will look up to you if become an engineer.”
We’re expected to be, even if we ain’t cut out to be, where the rest of the world is,

We’re expected to fit ourselves in, into the society’s definition of success and bliss,
We’re forced to run a race we don’t even intend to be a part of,

We run it, but, because we’ve grown to fear becoming a failure, we’ve grown to fear being written off,
So we begin to bury our insecurities deep within and without a clue –

We send our dreams back to sleep, we begin to chase what we are asked to –
But every time we pause, gasp for breath, and look out for that fresh whiff of air, we figure –
Our passion, we realise, is what we univocally turn towards, for solace amidst all the chaos, for clarity amidst all the blur.

Identity – and what it is. 

I always wonder if the world we live in, would ever get right, the meaning of identity,

For, it believes each of us is a race horse, trained just the way it wills us to be – 
“Girls your age, are married, in our town,

When, are you, planning to settle down?”
“My sister’s son – he’s done with his master’s, now contemplating his PhD,

If Master’s isn’t what you want, why don’t you go for a Management degree?”
But, hey, being asked to become a stereotype isn’t exactly new, is it?

For, into the mould designed by the society, we’ve always been forced to fit,
We’re only expected to yield to expectations aplenty,

Whether we’re ten, twenty, fifty or seventy,

We’re always told to lead by example, or made to follow one,

We’re forever required to be on par with our friend, sibling, cousin, or the neighbour’s son,
Yet, stand up we must, for what we want, even if it means a journey, alone,

Shut out other perspectives until we discover our own,
Carve our own niche, create our own mould,

Because, to seek our calling, we can never be too old – 
Defy gravity, find our own ground,

What we presumed, lost, will only then be found.

Change? But Why?

I don’t know exactly why, but “Change” is that word, that phenomenon that freaks me out. Every single time.

When I was in school, I dreaded that a time may come when I had to change my school. Though necessity such as that presented itself before me, I hated even imagining the fact that I had to go to a new place, make new friends, adjust in a new environment.

When schooling was over and I had to join college, I was really NOT looking forward to the new journey. I mean, I knew I had to get educated and all that, but I was quite never ready to move to an altogether new place, new teachers/professors, new people and new subjects.

College over, and time to say Hi to work – I was going through it all over again. Each time I felt I was being pushed out of my protective shield and each time I felt vulnerable.

But that’s life – and this is how things will be, and I have no choice but to accept them. Time flies, and I have to keep my pace with it. Always have, always will.

But there is another form of “Change” I detest.

To ‘Change’ my priorities. To ‘Change’ the course of my life, without my wanting to. To ‘Change’ features of my being and appearance just to look good/impress. To ‘Change’ myself, and not be what I want to be. To ‘Change’ my thoughts and views. To ‘Change’ my goals. To ‘Change’ my likes and dislikes. To ‘Change’ who I am, and become who the world wants me to.

Very often, I come across people (I am sure, all of you too do) who give me “free advice”. They somehow seem to have, always, ready at hand, a complied list of “free advice” to be given – on – how to be, how not to be, what to do, what to not do, what will give me happiness, what will keep the society talking. Et cetera, Et cetera.

I totally agree to adapt, to adjust, to learn-unlearn, to be flexible, to correct myself when I am wrong, because these will help bring out the best in me.

But that does NOT mean I will change the course of my life just to suit the ways of the society.

I’d like to just go out and do my thing and live my life the way I’d like to, without having to always clarify or answer around for every decision I make. I wouldn’t want to do something just because every Tom, Dick or Harry is doing it, or because the society decides it is right.

Oh! How I wish doing it was as easy as writing this blog! Life would be so much simpler then.