A Secret

“What’s in a name? That which
we call a rose by any other name, it would smell as sweet.”
I loved this quote by William Shakespeare
as a young girl.

 I was born with no name; they just called me,
Mr Ganapathy’s Daughter or Mr Iyer’s daughter. That was my identity until, one
day my elder sister came up with a name, Jayashree.

sister had a friend in school and she was a genius. She would always top the
class and win all the competitions. My sister the super creative girl that she was,
thought that if she named me as Jayashree,
I too would become an all-rounder. That was her belief and she kept asking my dad
to name me as Jayashree.  The spelling too was the same, Jayashree.

few years, a teacher in our class asked us the meaning of our name. When she
asked me the meaning, I was completely blank, for I didn’t know what it meant.
So she told me that Jayashree means
someone who wins everything, who no matter what succeeds in life. And trust me
that was the best description of my name. I had faced so much in my life, yet I
had sailed through all of this very gradually. And that made me love my name
even more. Every time someone asked me why I love my name so much, I would just
smile and say that I am writing my own
with my name.
Is it..?? Really..???
things change with time, and after marriage my in-laws decided to baptize me
with a new name, called Gayatri. Gayatri, they say is the name of the HinduGoddess and there is this most popular hymn, called Gayatri Mantra. But, I
didn’t like that name at that time. It was as if someone snatched away my
identity from me completely. It was as if I was an alien to my own eyes. They would
call me Gayatri and I would not even realize that they called me.

passed by, yet I could never be comfortable with this name. The moment people
would call me Gayatri, I would feel like screaming aloud and telling them I am Jayashree. There was an internal battle
that I was fighting all these years between these two names and I never knew
which one would win. But life is not about just winning, it is something more than

years ago I met someone who changed my perspective of names completely. She
called herself as PT, Privy. Privy trifles or Namrata or Namu and for me, she
was Ammu…! The way she danced between the names, it was so natural, that it
surprised me, instantly! I remember we were having this conversation of women
changing their surname after marriage and from there the topic went to LordKrishna who has so many names. Then we spoke about the creator who is addressed
by so many different names, yet they all evoke one emotion of peace and love.

was a simple thought, yet so profound that something in me shifted that day and
that thought seemed so right at that moment….that I dropped off all the inhibitions
related to my name.

I am Jayashree for my teachers, Jaya for my parents and sister, Jayu for my best friend, Pacman for my office colleagues Gayu for my blogger and virtual friends,
Mom for my daughter, Gayatri as a daughter-in-law and a blend
of all of these for my husband.

all of these names are so special to me, each one maybe having a different
meaning, yet evoking the same powerful emotion of love, friendship and

So do you have
a  secret to share with me, here on my blog about your name, then do
it now, I am eager to know the story behind your name.  If given a chance, will you change your
PS: This post is written as a Guest Author for the Project 365 program at We Post Daily aimed at
posting at least once a day, based on the prompts provided. The prompt for
today was ‘Write about your first name:
Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations
attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?’

42 thoughts on “A Secret

  1. It brought tears to my eyes Gayu I still remember that first ever convo many times, first on FB on a random click and then on emails… I still read them you know… just to feel you around like I would have wanted to. When I was there, talking away to glory not worrying about anything…you need to believe me last night I thought about that email and today I read it in the morning. This one took me through it all over again… hugs… super tight ones <3

    Love u for all that you are 🙂

    anddddd we need to start them all over again… those emails!!

    1. Hugs my dear…even I read those emails, when I feel a little low. They are like energy boosters for me 🙂 When I first read about this prompt, I knew I had to take up this one, for it is a secret which many people didn't know. And yes, our conversation did change many things in me, this is just one of them dear!
      Love you for all that you are for me 🙂

    1. Hehehe, feels so nice to see you address me as Jayashree 🙂 🙂 truly touched Salesh. I agree with you that our deeds matter a lot. Look at some of our filmstars, they have changed their names and we all know them by their new names. And some of them are popular by their screen names, for the acting that they have done.

  2. Now, that is quite the story behind your name 🙂

    BTW loved Salesh's comment about Ethir Neechal, so true, it is what we do that defines us rather than what we are called.

    1. When I read your comment, I knew I had a prompt lined up and that;s the reason, why I waited. I too was against it, but things turned up in a completely different way PI. I couldn;t stand up for myself at that time, coz, I was just 21, I didn't know how to react. I was numb with the pain of betrayal.

  3. That is an interesting story. I would love to read a post dedicated to the emotions and experience of your in laws changing your name. What did your parents think? Your sister? The reason, did you understand it? Everything! I wish you write that account down. About how you felt then, and how you grew to feel what you feel now.
    I have barely interacted with Privy. In fact, I learnt her real name only very recently. But her writing has given me a beautiful idea of what kind of a person she is. And without even knowing her name, I know her. So yes, I agree with you there. 🙂
    What a lovely post.

    1. I was about to share all that in this post itself, but you know, how I managed to write this one in the last minute. I shall post the detailed version, soon. Privy is a sweetheart, someone who has stood by me in the virtual world. I never thought a virtual friendship would lead to such soulful relationship. I owe a lot to her 🙂
      Thank you for your encouraging comments dear

  4. I agree with your post gayatri aka jayashree…a name is just a way to address someone. As long as I know someone is calling/addressing me..I aye them or meet eye to eye.

    it is our deeds which make us a worthy individual 🙂

  5. Ah, Jayashree ! That's a nice name 🙂 It's not easy, getting accustomed to a new name, after having lived with a name for a big chunk of your life. But what impresses me the most is that you were ready to get the name changed for the man you loved, and you fell in love with the name despite the initial struggle. Hugsss for that !
    There's nothing much in a name, but some names are so much a part of our identity that we can't isolate the name from the person and vice versa. Yet, it is what we do that makes us what we are.

    Love the honesty here !
    ( And btw, don't you think Jayashree is a little of me spelt backwards :D)

    1. Hahahaha, When I first read your blog and your name, I too thought the same and here you have written the same. Telepathy 🙂
      I was not ready for the name change, it was imposed on me. I learnt to live with it, for I loved the man and his family. it was difficult for me….to get used to the new name. But then, finally I can say, now it doesn't matter who calls me what, I am more than my name 🙂

  6. I learned about women having their names changed after marriage from a Sindhi friend of mine, and that shocked me. Until I thought about the very quote you have up there! Add to the fact Jaya Bachhan's retort when asked why she had succumbed the patriarchal ritual if changing her surname after marriage: that her surname before marriage was also from a man!

    1. I too had heard about the name change custom as a young girl. I was too fascinated by this custom back then, but whe it happened with me, I was numb….but I am glad that I could pass through that phase, though it took time!

  7. Nice gayatri.. What's in the name ??

    It meant a lot to me as it represents me to the whole world.

    I have been called by different names since my childhood. It didn't made any difference as a child but over the years i used to get irritated if anyone wrongly pronounced my name or by other names ..

    It reminds me of an incidence a year back when i was having tea with my colleagues, a child of 5 years asked for money to have food. My colleague helped him with food and asked him what is his name. He said ""pata nahi"". Anybody calls him by any name. We were astonished but he smiled and said i like it because he has so many names and filled with a sense of pride stating ""you have one name"", I have many ..

    I found it kiddish at that moment but now I think its one's attitude which determines how one takes the life on irrespective of what is your name !!

    Now I do not get irritated by any name called upon as my life is depicted by attitude n my work.

    1. Good one Priyanka. If only we look around, we will see many such examples and what amuses me the most is the way they handle such situations 🙂 Thanks again for your encouraging comments and sharing this story with the readers here.

  8. I have always liked the fact that my name is Ruchira and not the more common Ruchika or Ruchi 🙂
    I know of a colleague who got married and his family changed his wife's name to Manjushree from Vrinda. I must confess I had a huge argument with the guy asking him how his family can simply change the name of the girl. I was also surprised that the girl took it in her stride without getting bothered at all ! But Now I realize it is simply the matter of perspective !

    It was very interesting knowing the emotions and story behind your name. And also the beautiful conversation you had with Privy Trifles.

    1. Privy was very comfortable with anyone calling her by any name. She was like its the emotions that matter the most and I know my readers connect to me at that level. That thought made me rethink the whole episode of the name change. It took years for me to make peace with it, but once I did, the feelings changed completely:)

  9. Okay. I did not see that coming. This is such a lovely post and yes, though I agree what's in a name, I am not sure I agree with the name change post marriage. But then again, that's just my perspective. After all, as a writer I know you for your beautiful writing and not as Gayatri. As for the conversation with Privy, simply lovely

    1. Thank you so much Sid for such a lovely comment:) Would you belive if I say I am in tears now….I always wanted to be known for my writing and this comment of yours means a lot to me….

  10. It brought tears re…. just thought how i liked the name…. the topper in class 3… when u were born…. i was told by dad think of a name and i was literally two weeks thinking of names in my class….
    Luv u so much… and u will always be the topper in life.. Blessings …..

  11. Interesting! I did not know the practice to change names post marriage still continues.. Frankly speaking, I am not for it, for that matter I don't believe in changing surnames either… But liked thee respective you brought to this topic… And it's amazing how through blogging you got aa friend like PT who is on the same wavelength as yours 🙂

    1. Yes Seeta, it still continues and the most important thing is the boy too agrees for the name change. The girl has to adjust, for everyone will keep telling her, "Whats in the name", so let the boy change his first name…will he??? or will his parents allow them to do so??? I wonder…
      I am really grateful to have met PT 🙂

    2. Hey Gayu, while going thru your post on name change, I too was thinking why such customes are only for girls, why the man doesn't change his name. If they impose any custom on girls, man should also go thru the same custom of chanding name and should realize how difficult it is if everyone start addressing him with new name.

  12. But there is one thing, through it all there is one name that supersedes all the other names that came with time and where given by the people in your life. My parents, my friends, my guy…they all have given me a different name but when I need to sign or when I am asked my name, I know I have a name that is my own! I do not think I would want to change that one…even after marriage.

  13. Changing name after marriage, I think I would have reacted in a way similar to yours. I am very fond of my name and I would like that to continue forever. Yes, we have our pet names and other names but why would someone wish to change our first name. I did change my surname after my marriage but under no duress and these days I use both my maiden surname and married name. What I like is how you made peace with the situation and how PT helped you with it.

    1. Thank you so much Rachna, it feels so much lighter to know that my reactions to the situation were common and any other girl in my situation would have done the same.

  14. Very interesting post Gayatri…Jayashree…:)

    I love my name (Though people always say "What?" whenever I tell them my name. Some people address me as Mr. Sinha in mails) And I can never change it now (Though in my childhood I didn't like it because I felt odd as there was no other 'Tarang' in my school i.e. NOT common. But now I love it for the same reason) 🙂

    Once a woman asked my name (And understood after two 'Whats:)) then she asked me "And what's your name after marriage?"
    "I didn't get you?" I said as I only knew about changing surname after marriage.

    I really don't understand this concept….honestly!

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