*Warning: Long and possibly sensitive post. Readers discretion advised* 🙂
(Did it really have to come down to Facebook post? Sadly, yes. Since there are so many versions to my statement now I thought why not use my verified page to state the facts and let the noise die down.)
Even as I am under no delusion that what I am about to tell you is of any sort of ‘national’ importance, let me provide you a detailed clarification on this whole hullabaloo regarding my name.
A story, if you will!
I have never had a surname in any of my official documents except my birth certificate.
My birth certificate holds the name- Parvathy Thiruvothu Kottuvatta. (Thiruvothu Kottuvatta being the title of my maternal family house)
Through a few transfer certificate errors during my schooling period, I lost that surname. Hence, from my tenth grade CBSE book, my driving license, my voters card to my passport (till date) only holds the name- Parvathy. (ta-daaaa!)
Cut to 2007, I had just finished my very first Kannada movie when a reporter hesitantly took my interview for a local newspaper ( I was a newcomer and an actress, you see! Hence, the lack of enthusiasm). He did not deem it important to cross check with me whether or not I have surname and, since I am a ‘malayalikutty’, took the liberty to baptise me with Menon.
There. Job done.
To that gentleman, I owe my struggle. Thank you for doing a stand up job as a journalist!
(Trivia: The first time my name came in a magazine, I was referred to as Pooja. That was the name of the character I played in the movie ‘Notebook’ and that reporter hadn’t even bothered to find out what the actor’s name was. Once again, who wants to check with a newcomer girl! why would a journalist do that?! :-I . Anyway.)
Fast forward to 2015 December-
‘Parvathy disowns her caste name!’
Err No..sorry, lets not fast forward, shall we? Lets go slow. 🙂
Because there are those who have valiantly come up with statements against me saying that I am speaking up about this NOW because of the recent success of my films.
Dear ones, I have been acting for a decade now. I have seen enough hits and failures to be ever affected by either. Since you haven’t done any research (as expected in social media), let me state for the record that I have been trying get my name back for as long as 8 years. Certain reporters never cross-checked with me before going into print, certain others never paid attention when I requested them to correct it and I never had any luck getting my name even on the title cards.
Isn’t it hilarious? It’s a person’s name,after all!
How hard can it.. oh wait..whats that thing that we expect from a normal human interaction called? oh yes, Respect. Thats what it is called and there was certainly a major dearth of it back then. You don’t get it till you command it.
(Starting 2013, I intensified my ‘campaign’. So now, the title cards are correct except the darling media is yet to warm up entirely! To those who have helped me out, a big thanks!)
So when I hear statements about me ‘disowning’ my surname, I would just like to clarify that it never was mine to begin with.
I am just a person trying to get her name right. Simple.
But, here is the other (and more important) side to it:***
I am not the religion or the caste I was born into, alone. I am also not my gender or my skin colour, alone. I believe that I am a bit of everything and so are everyone else. I also do not believe that any of these aspects are of any value in defining how well I live or how qualified I am at work.
Because,I am a person first. And I believe what matters in a person is – Character. That is what I invest in, relentlessly.
My family (Bless them!) raised me by showing how to see beyond caste, creed, skin colour, economic status or religion while making sure that I respected everyone’s personal beliefs. I have nothing against anyone who holds their caste as their surname (by default or by choice) as long as they do not use that as a weapon of discrimination.I respect our cultural history, rituals and beliefs that uphold love and peace as supreme values. However, I will always fight against the bias that practices in the past have ingrained in us that pits us against each other over the most superficial things.
I wish to wash that poison off our minds as we go forward and retain what is in our culture that supports a healthy co-existence.
So, YES. It pricked me even more when I was given a caste name as a surname, in this day and age where we can spot discrimination pretty much everywhere. ( No point turning a blind eye, its everywhere!)
For that one reason, I have no problem disowning a caste surname that never was mine to begin with 🙂
End of story. We go back to living happily ever after.
Now, lets let the noise go down. 🙂
P.S: For those still nitpicking and saying ‘oh,but your first name is from a religion so what you got to say now?!’ – i would say ‘damn right it is. And since you still have not got the point of the story. I would say- “May the force be with you!” (just had to!) TEE HEE #starwars #forthosewhogetit
(Edit:Star War family, apologies)
Sleepy person. zzzZZZZ 🙂