From today

I love the song, “Aaj se teri” from Pad Man.

For a hindi love song, it starts of with comparisons that remind me of other songs, before it reaches the sublime through the ordinary. A loose literal translation of the first few lines:

From today, your streets are mine; From today, my home is yours.
From today, my happiness is yours; From today, your sorrows are mine.

The mole on your shoulder; The heart in your chest;
Your electricity bill; From today are mine.

The skies of my dreams; The ocean of my happiness;
My pin code number; From today are yours.

I find the (mixed) metaphors interesting. If they are going to live on the same street and house, wouldn’t they also share postal address and electricity bill.

Something about the references to the prosaic aspect of the relationship, reminds me of something that I read once. A couple meet at a graveyard, and the boy asks the girl, “Do you want to have my name on your tombstone?”

And, for the longest time I was vexed because I couldn’t find the source of that line. I guessed Wodehouse, and I checked the quote collections that I could find, but got nowhere.

Initially, googling only found me this line from the 1941 noir I wake up screaming: “I’ll follow you into your grave. I’ll write my name on your tombstone.” The line is said by the cop in the movie, so there is no romance in the words.

Then I spotted a “song about a marriage proposal” by Alec Wilder, “How d’ya like my name on your tombstone?” Shortly after, I finally found this short announcement in a newspaper from 1937:

Kenneth Carlson was walking through a cemetery with Miss Rose Shannon, the lady of his choice. “How,” he asked, “would you like to have my name on your tombstone some day?” The wedding was set for September 5.

There was instant recognition when I read the piece, this had to be the source of my memories, thought I have no recollection of how I might have happened upon these words from half a century before me.

Alec Wilder wrote the song in 1933, so Kenneth was probably inspired by the song. He played it smart.

Now that I found where I encountered this incident of proposal in a grave, it vexes me that I haven’t been able to find out whether Rose Shannon become Rose Carlson on September 5, 1937. She would have been about 100, if she is still alive. If she is not, does her gravestone have his name on it?

Philip Larkin had mused on the changes to the name of girl after marriage, writing a whole poem, ‘Maiden Name’, which starts:

Marrying left your maiden name disused.
Its five light sounds no longer mean your face,
Your voice, and all your variants of grace;
For since you were so thankfully confused
By law with someone else, you cannot be
Semantically the same as that young beauty:
It was of her that these two words were used.

Times have changed, and a few of my friends have kept their maiden names. But, in the context of Pad Man, I am surprised, that they didn’t have a line is the song about her taking his name.

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