DotMom has decided that I rock. Because I'm not anonymous. (And one or two other reasons, but we will spare my blushes here.)
Coming as it did, just before I met Praanadhika from Elaan (I'd link to her blog but she's gone private) who looked meditatively at me when I introduced myself the other night and said that she had heard of me, this whole using-my-real- name business needed a re-think.
Let's face it, my lack of anonymity was not a conscious decision. When I wrote my first ever post I had no clear idea what a blog was or what function it was supposed to fill. At a tender age (twelve) Baba had impressed upon me the need to write out my full name for my signature and to always use that everywhere, and I somehow carried it into the rest of my life as well. I remember once adding my name in the form of a formal signature to a birthday gift that us friends gave the brother-in-law (who was not, then). It had become an automatic reflex. I'm Sue. I'm also Sunny, Sunne, Ayesha and Phuli. But mostly, I'm Sunayana Roy. When I use a pseudonym I tend to plump for Ayesha, merely because it's unexpected. But even Ayesha is a name of mine, one that half my acquaintance, and V, call me. I suspect The Bhablet refers to me as Ayethaa too. I know I caught my mother trying to teach him to call me so.
But I digress. Anyway, once I started Sunny Days (at Rediff) and named myself, it followed that the people who read it also knew me, and therefore there was no point trying to be mysterious. A couple of years down the line, I did think about it. Mainly when I suspected that Baba had found my blog, and had read stuff like this. When you consider that he still won't allow me to meet those guys, I hope you will understand why that was a big deal. (Yes, at 25, and being a married woman and a mother I continue to sneak out to meet certain friends. Qu'est-ce qu'on fait?) So I did consider going underground. My readership was still within two digits I'm sure (including stray visitors) and I might have been able to pull it off. But once I started writing about my marriage I suppose I crossed the Rubicon. Or did I do that when I took a leaf out of V's book and began adding my phone number and blog url as a part of my signature in emails? Either way, everybody who came here knew exactly who I was.
Praanadhika's response rattled me for a minute because it suddenly hit home just how small a city this is. Within the circles I move in, however many they may be, there are always connections and links. So most of the people who read about my problems with V knew him or his brother. When I bitched about my aunt they knew which aunt I referred to. Is that acceptable?
I don't know. V says that he is fine with it. That he will tell me when he is not. And in my mind, so long as V and The Bhablet don't mind what I write, I'm willing to sign my name to it and post it. But when I write of other people am I not compromising their privacy? So I began to use intials or odd letters instead of people's names. (That and because it saves me some typing. Some of the names my friends-and-relatives have would end up crippling my fingers.)
So I continue. I have my moments of doubt and indecision. At such times, folks like DotMom and V bolster my courage. And I remind myself that I am, above all else, strictly truthful. I record events as best as I know, and if I find out any errors afterwards, I do go back and correct. If speaking the truth is not a crime now, and provided my intent in speaking it is not to spread hurt, I can think of no real reason to go anonymous. To tell you the truth, I wish more of you would, too. It would make my life easier, for one. For another, it might just add a bounce to your step and a smile on your face, all that extra confidence. I have gone beyond blogging with some of you and we meet on networking sites and email and phone each other. Each time, the part I enjoyed most was getting to finally 'see' the real you. I understand the blogger is a part, and it's so nice to see your faces, hear your voices, feel you for the people you are.
I already passed this badge on once, to people whose writing I enjoy, so I'm not sending it out once more. What I am doing is sending a wave and a nod to all those out there who enjoy blogging under their own names. It's a very liberating experience, provided you are aware of the costs.
There are many more, some of whose links I have lost, and yet more whose names slip my mind right now. Whoever you are, know that I appreciate the company.