Table of Contents
- Sarada: A housewife who forgets her identity, acknowledged as Mrs. Murphy.
- Satyanarayana Murthy: Sarada’s husband.
- Pramila: Sarada’s old friend.
- Ammayi: The maidservant.
The story ‘What is my name?’ is originally published as ‘Illalakagaane Pandagouna’ in Telgu in 1990 and has been translated into almost all the south Indian languages and Hindi. In this story P. Sathyavathi describes how a woman forgets her name since no one addresses her by name.
Sarada becomes a housewife
Sarada, before she got married, was a well-educated and cultured young woman. She was intelligent, capable, and quick-witted and she had a sense of humor and elegance. She used to stand first in her class. She was good at music and dance. She used to paint good pictures.
Falling to her beauty, and intelligence and attracted by the dowry her father offered, a young man married her. Later he showed him his house and told her that it was her house. Immediately she began to swab the floors and decorated the floor with rangoli designs. On seeing this, her husband praised that she was dexterous at swabbing the floor. Overjoyed by his applause, Sarada began living with swabbing as a mission of her life. Thus, her life went on scrubbing the house spotlessly and decorating the house with multi-coloured designs.
Sarada searches for her identity
In her scrubbing zeal, she had forgotten her name. One day she tried to recollect what her name was. But she could not. She became restless. She asked her maidservant, her neighbours, her husband, and her children about her name. But they all told the name by which they used to call her by using their relation. Her husband laughed and did not take it seriously.
Finally, the housewife decided to go to her parent’s house and look for her name on her certificates. But her certificates were kept in the attic. Meanwhile, she met her classmate. She called the housewife by her name ‘Sarada’. At once Sarada felt like a person. Because our name gives us our identity and self-respect. Our name is our own- unique to us.
Here the author wants to tell that every woman has her responsibility in nation-building. Women should be given equal rights with men. Women should not be confined to the four walls of the house. She should be let free. She can reach the heights of the sky. She can ascend to the pinnacles of any success and thus she can make any nation greater and stronger.
When a woman gets married she loses her identity. Once she gets married, her responsibility increases, and she gets tied up in her in-laws’ house so much that she forgets her desires, and dreams. She makes every possible sacrifice to keep her family but in that she forgets that she deserves to be happy too.
The reason of choose the married woman in the story is that many married women lose their freedom after marriage and the same case is shown in the story. Mrs. Murthy being good at academics and other activities are tied up in her daily chores. This is the story of every woman who wants to live a free life but because of her unending work and responsibility to her in-laws, she fails to achieve her dreams. And she becomes happy and content in whatever she has.