I Have No Proper Last Name

How Do You Feel About Your Last Name?

One of the biggest peeves I have is my last name or lack thereof. I have wanted to get my name changed officially to have the last name as Menon, just to avoid having people call me Mr. Krishnan. I hate being called that. That is not my name.

Ok, my given name is Roshan Gopal Krishnan – Gopal being part of my dad’s name (C. Gopalakrishnan) and Krishnan being also my grandfather’s name (Krishnankutty Menon). For reasons beyond me, I was named in this manner (it’s too long of a story to tell you) and I have hated it ever since I turned 15-16. Because I know that I lack a proper last name. Which is a problem in Kerala and some other places, a lot of us have no last names. In Kerala it is common to have a first name & an initial – the initial usually is your dad’s name of your family name (which is not a last name but close enough) and sometimes it’s in front of your first name (for example M. Roshan or Roshan M.).

This is a ridiculous setup because people tend to call you Mr. and last name and if you only have an initial calling you Mr. is a funny situation. But I’d prefer people referring me as Mr. Roshan rather than Mr. Krishnan. So back when I was 15-16 I thought that when I turn 21, I would get my name legally changed to add Menon (which is actually a common name as it refers to your caste) to my name and make things easier on me but – 17 years on after I turned 21 I haven’t changed it! I just couldn’t bring myself to change my name to that of representing a caste, which I do not believe in. But I like the name “Menon” and would prefer that as a surname. People still refer to me by the last name as Krishnan.

Or perhaps I could have been creative and got a unique last name and changed to it legally. Like Bananahammock! Or Crapbag!

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

2 thoughts on “I Have No Proper Last Name

  1. I actually did the same. Mallus christains have the same issues. But instead of caste. Last names are randomly some book of the bible. It means nothing. I changed my name to my real family historical name. It reflects my house in Kerala. It has meaning. If youre going to do it. The sooner the better!

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