I recently got married for the second time. Okay that sounded scary—one marriage is work enough. What I meant was, I finally got my marriage registered. It’s now a deed done in full alertness—notarized, signed, and sealed by the powers that be. It's no longer something you did last summer when you were in a zombie state of mind (who isn't at 7 am?)
The reason I postponed the paperwork was because I didn't want the romance to evaporate on day one of being married (try spending an hour at the MHADA office in Bandra and you will know what I mean). After getting a tareekh and a token number, assembling assorted documentation and photos, getting them photocopied, attested and verified, our retinue (the husband, me and our three witnesses) boldly ventured into the mad, chaotic and highly populated world of marriage registration (I was told that approximately 70-80 marriages get registered everyday).
I was in for two startling revelations. The first one is that the Memorandum of Marriage (the form that legitimizes it all) doesn't deem it necessary for the bride to work. So while the “groom” and the three witnesses had a column of “occupation” to fill in the form, I (the bride) didn't. Which technically meant that I could live off the husband all my life. The thought actually made me feel happy and liberated from the onus of working, and I am wondering what is a good time to break the news to my “provider.”
Revelation number two was that the only real document that proves you exist and are of a suitable age is your passport. Not your PAN card. Not your Election card. Not your ration card. Not your Master’s degree certificate.
I unfortunately hadn’t attached mine as I thought I was empowered by the rest anyway. The slowest-lady-on-the-planet rummaged through my forms for a good 22 minutes and looked unimpressed. She declared that I had no age proof. I pointed to her my date of birth which was printed on my PAN card and Election Card and also vaguely indicated on my ration card. I was certainly old enough to be married by any standards. She was still expressionless. “Passport nahi hai kya?”
I didn’t think one needed a passport to get married, so I was a bit taken aback.
Then I did the unthinkable. I flashed my press card and told her that I was a reputed journalist from an esteemed paper and don’t do hanky-panky. This, despite the fact that I wasn’t really required to have a job, as per the form.
She was beginning to believe me when she saw the wedding card (another vital document) which had baby pictures of me and the husband. She continued staring at for three minutes. Now I was beginning to look shady. She passed it on to the slowest-man-on-the-planet who took one look at it and one look at us and said, “Child marriage?”
This was not going well. Of course we finally convinced them it was only us, adding how boring the other’s cards were, and how thoughtful we had been to think out of the box. Luckily the mob around them was soon entranced and the situation was diffused enough. The papers moved to the next counter.
We are now legally married.