Friday, 31 August 2007

An Indian Marriage

So it finally happened - we got married. However, it didn't happen on Friday the 17th as I had you believe with my previous post. When we arrived to the district court it turned out that some of our papers hadn't been properly attested due to the dishonesty of an attorney we had used for it. So we had to run out and get them re-attested by which time the district commissioner had left his office. So we had to go home without getting our marriage certificate. We were told that we should have come earlier in the day, since that is normally when the commissioner performs marriages.

Yet when we came back to the apartment our elderly old landlord couple invited us inside. They happened to have all the old ladies in E-block on a visit and wanted to add us to their prayers.

Here is the lady of the house, who we call only "auntie" (such familiar terms are common as a sign of respect in India).

Ladies passing around snacks.

Our landlord - who we call uncle - stayed in the kitchen to leave the ladies to their business in the living room.

So the following Monday we showed up at the district court again, this time early in the morning as we had been instructed. Since I had to fly to Europe that same evening we were getting pretty desperate to get things done. Also we had to bring three witnesses which had to take time off from work, so we really wanted to get things done. But - of course - the district commissioner had gone to some important meeting without anyone else being able to cover his responsibilities in the office. So we had to wait. Here is Nitoli and one of our witnesses waiting, still in high spirits despite waiting for two hours:

But waiting was not new to us. In order to get married in India you have to wait for 30 days while you hang for public display at the court. Here we are:

Finally, at 12.50 the district commissioner arrived to the court. But although we had arrived first, at this time several other couples had arrived hoping to get married. So now we had to move fast to make sure that we were first up to get married. Because if not, then he would probably go to lunch and we would have to wait another hour or more. One of our witnesses really needed to get back to work, and besides it was important that we saw the commissioner soon, so just in case there was still trouble with the papers we had time to get it fixed same day before I got on the plane for Europe.

It worked, we got in and this time papers were all in order. So within 5 minutes we got married by the commissioner who talked on his mobile phone more than half the time. Not very romantic or ceremonial, but of course we'll have all that next year.

Happy and relieved afterwards with the certificate in hand.

All of our witnesses had to go back to their duties afterwards, but Susanna's mother and sister, Elizabeth, who were in Delhi to buy stuff for Elizabeth's wedding went with us to a restaurant nearby to mark the occasion. It was a happy day,but also quite stressful.


oreneta said...


Even if it was a bit of a pain. Where are you going to have the more formal ceremony?

Good luck to you both in everything do.

Fairfield County CT said...

Congratulations on your wedding! I was feeling hesitant to intrude on a personal moment, but really your blog is so wonderful that I had to stop by and give you and Susanna my best wishes for the future. I hope you will keep blogging (in English for us non-Danish speakers!) when you return to your own country.

Olivier said...

I'm so glad for you! :))

Esben said...

Thank you so much all you guys. I am now back in Delhi with my wife, so we are both very happy.


we are going to have a white church wedding next August in Denmark. Then we'll have a reception for friends, colleagues and acquaintances in New Delhi in the fall of '08 and then finally a traditional tribal wedding in Nagaland in December '08.

@fairfield county ct:

Don't worry, not intrusive at all. I was happy to get your message :)