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Being “Mrs Smith”…. Everyday life post shadi

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Thanks to the movie “Mr & Mrs Smith“, folks delight in calling us by that monikar…

Now thankfully we don’t have any assassination plans for each other, however it is amazing how many times I’m asked “How does it feel to be Mrs Smith?”

Here is the thing, I’m not actually Mrs Smith but remain Ms Hickling – firmly, confidently and happily so with the full support of my hubby.

And in terms of our everyday life, very little has changed.

Many folks assume this will help with my Indian visa… and it may in a couple of years but not anytime soon. The rules in India are one qualifies to apply for an OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) visa only after two years of marriage. So in the meantime, my work visa will hopefully remain uncomplicated.

At a recent gathering I was put on the spot to name two things that are different. Not good or bad, just different.

Bandra Gym Membership… Almost

Amusingly one of the 1st things my partner did when we received our marriage certificate was go to the Bandra Gym and start the process for my spousal associate membership. It isn’t through yet but I can’t wait as it means I will finally get to use the pool!

However there is a traditional – dare I say mildly sexist dimension – it can only be issued in the name of Mrs Smith. Now had it been me who was the member and my husband applying to be an associate member, no such name change would be imposed. However as a ‘wife’, I’m expected to take on his last name. Hmm…

Needless to say my partner was outraged on my behalf, however in the grand scheme of things, if it is that important to meet the Catholic cultural sensibilities of the gym, why should I be fussy? Provided there is no requirement to back it up with a legal name change!

Community Events

Along with privileges comes responsibilities. My partner is terrific at ‘giving back.’ One of his many activities is judging things like school elocution and debating contests. This year he expected to be off on a film shoot so had to declined one All-India Anglo-Indian inter-school debate.

When it was discovered the dates were pushed back, “Mr & Mrs Smith” were cordially invited to be chief guests. Not just Mr Smith but Mrs Smith too… not really optional.

It was my 1st venture into such ‘wifely’ activities in the Anglo-Indian community… Always up for new adventures!

Naturally I was also asked to ‘say a few inspiring words’ to the students and their teachers from the participants who came from all corners. You’d have to ask those who attended whether my comments hit the mark but it was interesting hearing the debates from the high calibre students.

Beyond this, really, not much has changed! We’re quite content with our lives and see no need for a piece of paper to make much of a difference. We knew from when we first met, we found friend, companion, lover and above all partner.

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  1. Congratulations Mr and Mrs Smith! I too didn’t change my name, but here in Canada, as you know, that’s entirely accepted. I’m sometimes referred to as Mrs Read, and Don sometimes as Mr Armstrong, both of which we find amusing.

  2. Marta says:

    For me, women changing their surnames is super weird, as no one does it in Spain or China. I know many women say it’s better to have the same surname as your kids, but I just can’t help thinking it’s very sexist as almost always it’s the woman changing her surname. It’s like… when you were single you still belonged to your father, and now that you are married you belong to your husband, haha. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I really dislike it.

    PS. I don’t think it’s something Catholic! In Spain we don’t do it, and in the Philippines women add their husband’s surname to theirs instead of completely changing it.

    • Good point about there being different Catholic traditions than the East Indian / Anglo-Indian community of Bombay – probably have a colonial hang-over from the Brits! And its not like all communities in India have women taking their husband’s surnames.

      I have no intention of changing my surname and we don’t plan to have kids either so let’s see how we manage to muddle along with our stance against becoming Mrs Smith (or Mr Hickling!) 🙂

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