New Year Announcement
I got married last year. In 2019. And guess what, I decided to take my wife's last name as mine. Laura was surprised when I told her that that is what I was going to do. Husbands don't change their last names. Probably never even think about it. But I went ahead and did that. I wrote in a new last name under the husband column in our pre-marriage certificate. This was three or four weeks before the actual wedding. Laura was the first person to find out after the act was done. The next day we told a couple-friend of ours. They were shocked. But in a good way. Then I shared the news with Laura's parents. It was a dinner conversation that totally surprised them. My parents were yet to fly in for the wedding from India. After they arrived in Boston and acclimatized over four-five days, I told them too. And thats it, we did not tell anybody else before the wedding. It seemed wise not to.
= = =
After our wedding was over, and all the guests had retired for the night, some of us were having a young-people-only after party. I announced there to a group of bridesmaids and groomsmen, that I had decided to take Laura's last name as mine, and had already done so. All of our friends were like, Fuck! Really?! That is so awesome! Everybody cheered me. Particularly the ladies.
The guys took me aside later and advised me not to do it.
= = =
Three days after the wedding I told all my immediate family members. My didi (sister), jijaji (her husband), bhanji-s (their daughters), bhai (brother), and bhabhi (his wife).
I have always created trouble for family members. Without wanting to do of course. Just as a natural consequence of my convention defying thoughts, behavior, and actions. But my taking a different last name — a husband taking a wife's last name — was pushing the envelope too far. Everybody asked me questions. Passions ran high. There were times when discussions got very heated. I later felt bad about some of the angry things I did from my side. Conversations about the last name change continued for days. Amidst all the discussion, two things became very clear to me. First, that everybody in my immediate family understood my multi-dimensional thought process. Second, I could see that my parents were feeling a very real visceral pain. Even though my parents understood everything I shared with them, they knew that all friends and family that they stay in touch with more, will not understand. That is where their pain was coming from. And it was hurting them for real.
So I held back on making the public announcement. I decided the best way to do it would be with a very long write-up, or a video, that articulates all of the various aspects of my thought process. But I got busy with other stuff. It has been seven full months since I got married, and I still haven't changed my name on facebook.
I decided yesterday that I will start the new year by not holding back on the public social announcement anymore. In the software world we have a saying, “release early, release often”. So in that spirit, I am publishing the first section of this long post right away.
My name is Sumeet Olivier. Thank you for visiting my brand new blog. In this post I will write in great detail, how I as a husband took my wife's last name as mine. And how doing so entails many personal commitments, unexpected learnings, exciting dharmsankat, higher dharma, and interesting known-unknown challenges.
I am not good at articulating my thoughts in writing, so it is possible that I might make a video instead. Keep watching this space.
If you would like to ask me something about my decision, or share any thoughts, please do reach out to me over messages, facebook, email or a phone call. I would love to talk with you.
Thank you. And wish you all a very adventurous and fulfiling year ahead!