Tuesday, November 2, 2010

From paperless to on paper marriage

Once upon a time ...............
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 Bhopal (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 .
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 Bhopal after travelling for nearly  18 hours and  we reappeared  in the office of magistrate the same day .
 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 Bhopal as a place to get married where 5 years down the line  Monica Bedi and Abu Salem were to get married.
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.



  1. well my parents too got married "legally", good twenty years after their marriage. But i dont know if they faced similar hurdles. Hope I hope i dont face similar things

  2. Phew! What a tale. We registered our marriage after 20 years, but did not face so many hurdles. Rather, we already had the temple certificate with us and just had to register it at the appropriate office. :)

  3. Afterall , marriages may have been made in heaven but are registered in Governmant offices....... ROFL The last line says it all

  4. Ganapati,
    nowadays it has become compulsory to register the marriages unlike our good old days . So , all the best in advance ;)
    Ask your parents about their experience.

  5. Yeah Shail , it was an experience. I felt bemused that my marriage of 16 years was under the shadow of doubt.
    Infact the clerk outside had asked us money also after our certificate was signed , as if he had got us the certificate illegally.

  6. Ritu,
    After we got our certificate ,I came to know from one of our friends ( a lawyer in Bhopal) that if we had paid 10,000 Rs , we would have got the certificate the same instance , without my husband coming again ,but I guess my husband's formidable demeanour prevented the clerk to propose this idea and even Sahab was irritated that he lost his cut .

  7. Shail, you are lucky that your on paper marriage was a smooth affair.
    I highly recommend all the prospective brides and grooms to get married in your city. ( was it in TVM ? )

  8. We got married in a temple in a smaller town Chengannur. They gave us a certificate on being shown the temple registration of marriage. Armed with that we had to apply for the cetificate in Trivandrum. The first time we went, they asked for identity proof. My husband is a stickler for details and he had everything in place. But the man in charge asked for something which was not with us, my husband's passport which he hadn't taken obviously as there was no need for it! Methinks the man asked for it, just because everything was in perfect order!
    So we had to run back home and get it. There was nothing they could find to delay giving us the certificate after that and gave it soon enough :)

  9. Shail,
    A temple certificate is unheard of in central India . Its great that its issued and used for rigestration in the Govt office.
    For us , it was a marriage photo (not merely garlanded one but of pheras ), an invitation card , an affidvit , an address proof , a challan and reapperance before the magistrate after 30 days was the process and ofcourse not to forget the 3 witness .
    I think my father had less trouble arranging for my marriage ,courtesy my inlaws, than we had to get the certificate.

  10. haha. congratulations! :-)

    we were sent back as there were not enough papers. Nobody objected to our marriage other than the govt. :-)

  11. Wow Kirti, what an amazing post! We just had such a good fun, I read your post out loud to my husband and we had such a nice laugh reading this... You just made our weekend! Well done and keep blogging :-)

  12. Thank you niedhie.You made my day too.

  13. enjoyed reading this kirti..coming back for more! :)

  14. Welcome here Arch ,and thanks.

  15. Arunima,
    Same here, Govt was somehow against our on paper marriage.

  16. Wow Kirti - that is incredible - paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. something you don't think too much of when you are madly in love wanting to get married. sounds like a potential nightmare for those unaware. Really enjoyed the way you told the story - you have a wonderful sense of humour.

  17. Thank you Lilly.
    That was a desperate situation . Without the marriage certificate I could not have joined my husband in Abudhabi.
    Personally , i did not think of anything while getting married , not even about the existence of kitchen . ;)