Suddenly our marriage of 16 years faced another challenge . It had to go on paper .
Why ?, because my husband got a job in Abu Dhabi and , to get a family visa the Govt of UAE acknowledges nothing less than a marriage certificate from India which is authenticated by a notary , ministry of external affairs followed by the embassy of UAE situated in Delhi .
All along we and Govt of India had blissfully accepted the ‘saptapadi’ and the priest’s undecipherable chanting as a proof of marriage. Trouble began when we wanted to have it converted into a proper documented, registered marriage. It called for visiting the secretariat building of
(the city where our marriage was solemnized and incidentally Monica Bedi and Abu Salem got their passports from ) ,anybody with some experience of visiting Government offices would know what kind of roller coaster ride we were heading for . Bhopal
I started collecting the evidences of our wedding with the meticulousness of Sherlock Holmes. I started with the photographs in the album . Me and my husband in those photographs gave a faint doubt of resembling our own skimmed selves. Then came the invitation card ….. I rummaged through all the documents which were lying in peace in the house for a long time , after a thorough search I discovered a bundle of invitation cards which were left undistributed for the want of time (and for all those friends who went uninvited we had to host a small separate party back then ). This way the past mistake came in a good stead and I thanked God for disposing us to make mistake. Other documents were residence proof , birth certificate , passport size photographs, parent’s address proof , receipt of rent paid to the marriage hall and so on…… . I infact carried our voter’s card , children’s report card ,their immunization cards, for just in case .
So , we presented ourselves in the additional district magistrate’s office at the wee hours at 10 O clock . The clerk told us that Sahab was not expected anytime soon , he would not come before 12 O’Clock . We waited patiently . The clerk asked us the purpose of our visit , gauged its emergency, weighed our candidature , perused our documents and smiled –''guys you need to have an affidavit stating your address , age at the time of marriage, nationality etc.", he looked more than pleased to find something amiss in the papers . Now it made the case interesting for him. He directed us to one of his friend’s shop , a notary who was having a computerized typing kiosk nearby .This guy had all the related forms and formats in his PC.He even typed a certificate too, ready to be signed .Certain clerical jobs are outsourced in Government offices too . After we were back , the clerk again asked us to get the self addressed envelops and then , pay 2 challan of 10 Rs each in a bank . We again ran poll to post (office) and did the needful .
By this time magistrate sahab had reached office and was seated in his room . we were taken inside only to find that there were many others waiting there (no seats offered ) but not to get the marriage certificate, they were there either to get a new weapon’s license or renew it . Most of them looked as though they had a good use of weapons in their lives . Apparently , apart from registering marriages , sahab had to deal with weapons’ registrations and cases relating to its use and overuse . I could not help appreciating the sense of humor of Government department who treats marriage and arms registration at par. Sahab saw the form and accepted it in a perfunctory manner and asked us to reappear with witnesses not before 30 days. .
But meanwhile my husband had to join his new job and was not sure that he would get a leave so soon to come back to reappear and get the certificate. We asked the Sahab if it was possible to get a waiver of my husband’s presence on the second visit. After all we were married for 16 years , we had all relevant proofs , my husband was present there , my father in law and father came too , incidentally my father retired as a government official and so there were many Govt. officers who had attended our wedding and were willing to vouch for it (its taken as a valid proof for the registration of a marriage) it was just a formal certificate which was required but the Sahab would not budge and reiterated “husband and wife both have to be present otherwise -no certificate” .So finally my husband had to come again from Abudhabi for 2 days . we were given a fresh date,and my husband reached
after travelling for nearly 18 hours and we reappeared in the office of magistrate the same day . Bhopal
Meanwhile my parents and father in law had received the notices that me and my husband intended getting our marriage of 16 years registered and if they had any objection to it . But contrary to the expectations of office of marriage registeration neither my father nor my father in law came running at the crucial moment of signing the paper to yell ......"ye shadi register nahi ho sakati " .
My husband was tired , stressed out , anxious to get the job done in one day and was as ill equipped to deal with his stress and had all the liberty of sulking before his wife as any Indian husband of 16 years could have . So , we were once again waiting in the office , felt neither romantic nor looked like two people in want of a marriage certificate. We infact looked more like the people waiting in advocate’s office filing a divorce suit. (come to think of it , getting a divorce was more age appropriate thing to do for us than getting a marriage certificate).Anyway….
Once again Sahab comes , we appear before him , he looks at us , we brief the case to him and he finally gives a verdict “since your police record has not reached from police station , you do not get a certificate” . I suffer a major blow and simultaneously think of my Mother in law who had agreed more readily to our marriage than this man .
I again try to reason with him , “but sir, we were given the date , he has come all the way from Abu Dhabi , its not our fault…….I am his wife , really , not his girlfriend…… , our documents are in place , I am genuinely married ,… see my mobile its such an old model , no girl friend would use that ……… see the 20 missed calls , all by him so that I call him back because its cheaper to call from India than UAE ……who would ask to do that to his girl friend ?”.
I think the last 2 arguments were really convincing , he kindly relented but, before signing the paper added “you see , this is the place where Monica Bedi and Abu Salem got their marriage registered and passport made , so we have got to be more careful thesedays.”
I agreed completely and apologized profusely for having chosen
as a place to get married where 5 years down the line Monica Bedi and Abu Salem were to get married. Bhopal
A word of Advice to the prospective brides and grooms – do not get married in Bhopal or Delhi or Mumbai or Pune or Jhumari Tallaya or any big or small city in India, because you never know when an outlaw would also choose his in-laws from your city and you will face trouble having a genuine marriage certificate . Afterall , marriages may have been made in heaven but are registered in Government offices.