Saturday, January 16, 2010

See you later!

Taking a month's break. But when I get back, the stories I will have! Here is some of what you can expect:

  • Elephants and Skype : tales of the Wedding in Pune
  • Seafood, pao, and beaches:  in Goa
  • The Kumbh, semi-clad pilgrims, and crocodiles: Research on the banks of the Ganga at Kachla Ghat and Bitthoor, UP
  • More posts on how to beat bureaucracy in Dehradun

    Friday, January 15, 2010

    A Special Marriage in Dehradun

    Not that I am sayin' that we are special, I was referring to the Special Marriage Act. Mian and I have been doing some studying of how to register our wedding, and I thought that I could save you guys some time.

    Firstly, basic rules:
    If both the bride and groom belong to the same religion, then they can have a religious wedding and it will be legal, provided they have a certificate from the officiating priest.
    If not, or as in this case, the couple are complicating matters by being both of different religions AND of different countries, then the Special Marriage Act is the way to go.

    Cutting through the legalese, what the couple is supposed to do is turn up at the office of the marriage registrar (special marriage act) with the following documents:
    • Proof of age (for both)
    • Proof of permanent residence (for both)
    • Passport photos (for both)
    • Proof that atleast one of the two has been resident in that district for more than 30 days (lease document, electricity/bsnl bill, letter from SHO, letter from employer)
    • In case of a foreign national, no objection certificate from the embassy
    In Dehradun, the marriage registrar is the ADM (E), and his office in in the civil court complex. After filling in an application form and paying a fee of 15 Rs., details of the couple are posted on the registrar's notice board for 30 days. If no one raises an objection, the couple turns up again with three adult friends and signs the relevant documents.

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    Those are the rules as I understand them. Legal details are available over here.

    But. Life is not as it is supposed to be.

    We had, and are having, a terrible experience with the process. The ADM (E) referred us to the ADM (F) a Vinod Kumar Suman. This man negated any possibility of our getting married in Dehradun . Not only do they want us to bring our witnesses at the time of application, as well as the time of registration, but they also wont accept our application anyways, since I am not domiciled here. That was a rotten meeting since a real conversation was not happening and we were being shouted at.

    When I attempted to seek clarification about why he is asking for a domicile, the reply that was thundered back at me was, "How can you ask me something like this? Not all rules are written, what I say is the rule.'

    So that about sums it up.

    We are now looking at the Special marriage act in Pune, and also at the Hindu Marriage Act, and I will let you know how things go. But if you are planning on the registering your marriage, read up both the 'paper' rules and the 'real' rules. Lots of people at Indiamike are talking about international weddings, and the excellent White Indian Housewife has information about her experiences in Mumbai.

    What else? It is not romantic, it is not pretty, it is not stressfree. But as Mian told me, 'this is not our sh*t, it is theirs'. What we have, and what you have, is removed from that. And that is worth focusing on when confronted by yet another corrupt, xenophobic, gutka-eating, greedy babu.

    Monday, January 11, 2010


    is alive and well in Uttarakhand. Yesterday, I received a call from Tata AIG life insurance. This is how it went:
    ME: Hello?
    TAIG: Hello! This is Tata AIG. May I speak to Sir, please?
    ME (mystified why my Mian's students should call him up to sell insurance): err..which Sir, exactly?
    TAIG: the one who is the Decision Maker.
    ME: Ah
    (Realises that according to TAIG, of course there is no chance a woman can be a Decision Maker. Wonders if a feminism speech is called for, and sighs realising that it would be of no use)
    ME: Forgive me, he has instructed me not to disturb him.
    (or as I said in hindi, 'maaf kijiye, unhonein bataaya hain ki tang mat karna')

    Did I miss out on an educational opportunity? Or is repartee worth it even if unacknowledged by the receiver?

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    A housekeeping announcement..

    To make visiting UttarakhandandI a more rewarding experience, the owners of this blog (that's the 'I' in the title) are making some changes to the template. But ok, I am not too good at officalese, so..

    What I want to do is save you from scrolling down to see my favourite blogs, to give you an address to mail me at, to add a nifty little 'about me' page, and make the blog look cleaner ( and funner) than it currently is.

    The catch? the blogger templates don't allow for separate pages, which means I need to add them.
    The catch again? I don't have a clue how to do it.
    However, the nice people at bloggersentral do. And they are nice enough to share it.
    So with their help, and some caffeine, I intent to mess around with the template.
    I just thought I should warn you first.
    Tighten your seatbelts, people..this should be interesting.

    and the photo? it's of my 'hardware cabinet'. I felt pretty cool when I bought that hammer and those nails, so don't tell me otherwise..

    Monday, January 4, 2010


    I have every now and then been mentioning The One. He first made an appearance as the giver of eggnog recipes, and then quickly became a established presence on my blog. Which is pretty much what happened in real life as well..

    We first met in Seattle- to talk about water conflicts in India, and each quickly became an established presence in the other's life. And now, we are making it all official- The One and I are getting married. This month, first at home in Pune, and then followed by registration in Dun.

    And with the upgrade in status, comes a change in the name. The One confessed to being a little uncomfortable with the capitalization and the implied divinitization (no, that isn't a word, but it should be). And then that Maqbool fan of mine suggested that I call him 'Mian'. Fair enough, considering that we will soon be 'Mian-Biwi'.

    Mere Mian. And I couldn't be happier.