Throughout my lifetime, I’ve been known by several names, nicknames included; Chumi, Lakshmi, potato baby, Lucky, pint size, bulb nose, gunda. I am particularly very fond of Chumi and Lakshmi. Unlike the nicknames that speak for themselves, Chumi and Lakshmi depict who I am.
Family and friends who know me as Chumi, know that I like chinese food, I love my bubble teas, I’m lazy and laid back whenever I can. Official acquaintances will tell you that Lakshmi means business and will get what she wants regardless of the circumstances.
While I was in school, Chumi and Lakshmi were two distinct personalities in me. Those who know Chumi will not know Lakshmi and vice versa. Off late however, both the personalities have merged to become Chumi Lakshmi. If you give me a chance, I’ll show you that Chumi Lakshmi is an achiever. I’ve been the man of my house for over 2 decades, and I couldn’t be any more proud of it even if you think I’m too bossy for a girl.
Regardless of fussy comments from relatives and so-called well wishers, I’ve never been embarrassed of being frank or open minded. Don’t come and tell me I am a girl and thus I should tone down. It will not be received well! Hey, I’m not the one being rude, you are the one who’s being too sensitive.
It was during this glorious, high riding season of Chumi Lakshmi was it that I got married. Despite the many names that I already had, I had a new name now that everyone seemed fonder of, Mrs Laxman. No big deal you would say, especially when I was smiling on the outside. What no one could see was that I was boiling on the inside.
I didn’t even want to get married to begin with. But when wedding talks were happening, I began to accept it, because I knew this was according to God’s perfect plan for me. But my ego wouldn’t accept it.
To me, being identified by my husband’s name meant Chumi Lakshmi is no one without Laxman. Whatever Chumi Lakshmi has accomplished over the years is all gone. Whoever knew me before, didn’t know me now. I am expected to leave behind this whole person I have loving built over the years and take on a new identity, all within a night.
Being the feminist that I am, this was definitely a tough one. I would smile politely when someone called me Mrs Laxman, but I would be furiously boiling within me. When someone sees me, I want them to see me for who I am, not see me as a wife to so and so. I used to wonder why is it that all my married friends were so happy to take on their husbands names and forget their own individuality. I was so surprised they were willing to change themselves, their own preferences for the sake of their husbands. To me, the husbands were nothing but selfish men who wanted their wives to leave their own life behind and take on a new life as the men continue with their regular routine.
My ego didn’t give in for many weeks. I never spoke about it to anyone though. I was careful not to disclose it to anyone at all. But I was struggling within me to accept what the premarital counselling taught us, to give in, to love, to understand. I just didn’t know how.
After 4 months of marriage, I understood how. During one of our conversations over Skype, I had asked my husband one of my usual weird questions. ‘Would you mind being introduced as Chumi’s husband? Would it matter to you that people identify you as my husband instead of, me being your wife? Like Mr Lakshmi, instead of Mrs Laxman?’. The answer that I wanted to hear came within a split second. It brought me to realisation. He is proud of me, that’s why he’s willing to take on my name. Am I not proud of him that I am not willing to take on his name?
Of course I am proud of my husband. He’s accepted me with all my flaws, patiently putting up with my temperamental nonsense, and yet is so loving and understanding. He’s broken every view that I had of a man. He doesn’t supress me in any way; it’s quite the contrary actually. My whatsapp status msg says ‘I am a David, I am a Benjamin and I am a Gideon’. A man who can accept his wife identifying herself with 3 important men who are fighters deserves a pat on his back.
Today, if I were to introduce myself to you as Mrs Laxman. I wouldn’t be boiling on the inside. It only means that I am proud to be known as Laxman’s wife. The Christian premarital counselling taught me what to do, but my husband taught me how to do it.
Hi, I am Mrs Laxman =)