Friday, October 12, 2007

A Sue by Any Other Name?

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.


Sreeja said...

I've been lurking around for a while now, and I've enjoyed your posts... and I really admire your courage to blog anonymously when you're so brutally honest..I've read other bloggers who blog under their real name, but they're mostly harmless.. (Tharini for e.g, very interesting, invigorating blog of course, but harmless nonetheless).. I admire your audacity...Wish I had a bit of it myself;)

Sreeja said...

sorry I meant to say blog under your real name not anonymously...

Itchingtowrite said...

hey congrats!! lovely way u hav described your reaosns for blogging on your name. i never did get the courage to send my blog name on my email signatures - i feel awkward telling everyone to come and see what i write but i do bulldoze my relatives and close friends to come

D said...

This seems to be a week of Blogger Identity Issues. Another regular blogger - eM at Compulsive Confessions - disclosed her real self after years of blogging.
I am a relatively new blogger and have just discovered that anonymity could be very liberating.

DotMom said...

wonderfully written.

Rohini said...

I sometimes wish I were anonymous but in my saner moments I know I'd rather not say anything to internet that I wouldn't say to the face of loved ones... t unload some of that baggage, there's always Facebook :-)

eve's lungs said...

I wanted to be anonymous too but I soon found out I was not so decided what the hell. Of course I had made a lot of goof ups by revealing the kids' names and so on and so forth ..therefore its too late now . Unless you are cagey about revealing something how does it matter? Kudos to you.

Y said...

Am with you, Sue.

Rimi said...

"I appreciate the company"

We do too. Just to put it on the record, since as you point out, I lurk more often than not. It's odd how blogging under by daaknaam has given the name new currency. At one point, about ten people called me Rimi. Now, I can count the people who call me Priyanka on the fingers of a hand.

The incestuousness of the Cal circle, though, never fails to astound me.

Poppins said...

Bravo ! *Pat on the shoulder* I wish I had your courage too. Then again, I don't particularly like my real name, it is less me than even Poppins is.

So. Anyways it's so good to be back and read your posts.

Y said...

achha.btw, peanut was almost named ayesha - i love that name. you've heard the song by khaled, right? aicha? beeyootifool...

Ariel said...

i think u rock too:)...rather I really like ur style of writing..enjoy reading it...

karmickids said...

Thanks Sue, but as Sreeja said, there's nothing on my blog that I wouldnt say to anyone to their face. I live in a very prickly family so humour is actually my best defence. The real courage is putting down hard stuff under one's own name. *I am a lily livered creature*

Tharini said...

Thanks Sue. Its nice to be thought of in context of blogging non-anonymously. Never recived special notice because of it. So its nice ot read this, and your thoughts behind your openness.

I never thought of blogging anon because there seemed to be nothing to be unknown about. Like Sreeja put it better, harmless. :)

One of the nice things to have come otu of it is that, a few of my father's students have found him, through this blog...connecting my name to being his daughter and hence getting in touch and stuff, that I feel rather pleased abt it.

Parul said...

Damn...missed the opportunity to come across as a woman of mystery and enigma.

It never really occurred to me to blog under any name other than my own. Only when I started reading other mommy blogs (stupid, patronising but apt term) did I realise that bloggers were doing this under non-real ids. I laughed about it here and then just let it go.

Off and on I do think if there is safety in anonymity. Not safety as in the freedom to blog as one likes (bitching about all and sundry included...though one could get fired a la dooce so no point being stupid) but getting stalkers who know exactly where you live and what you do (or in my low-energy case, don't)....oooh, exciting!!

Blog on,'s doin' a great job!! I will be back and that's a threat :D

Sue said...

Sreeja -- Don't think I deserve that compliment... there are lots of things I chose not to write about, you know. Still, thanks.

Itchy -- Well, if you are comfortable with that, why not add it? I'll mail you and you can see what my signature is like.

D -- Yes, but coming is also a lot of fun. Trust me on this. And wasn't it a surprise about eM!

DotMom -- Thank you. You should use your own name, incidentally, it's a lovely one.

Rohini -- :) Yes, I love Facebook myself.

Eve's Lungs -- I guess some of us would rather not have our 'loved ' ones know our true opinion of them. I do ask my relatives not to visit my blog unless they are prepared for criticism!

Y -- I know and appreciate it. And I love that song. Why didn't you call her that? I could've been her godmama or something.

Rimi -- Yes, I find it strange when V calls you Rimi. Cal circle is actually more incestuous than other cities, or so they all tell me. Takes some doing.

Poppin's Mom -- It's a nice name, so quit grumbling.

Ariel -- Thanks.

Kiran -- I know how hard it is and both my families are, to put it mildly, extremely touchy. So I do appreciate your courage. In being to talk as well as write how you feel.

Tharini -- Yes, I've also re-established some old connections through the blog. They could do that because they knew it was me. Definite pro of using your own name.

Parul -- Just for the record, this is no mommy blog. I was a blogger years before I became a mum, so. Anyway, stalk on.