In America, people date, get to know each other, get to know each other’s bodies, and then get married, have kids and then get divorced. The process makes sense to Americans. But, the order of steps is reversed in India. From an Indian point of view, you determine (the elders determine — not you) if the two people are suitable for each other in the long term. They look at caste, what the parents do, family values, level of education, personality, and last but not least they ask,
“May we see the girl walk? Please turn around, could you walk down the hallway once more?”
The sad truth is that what Indians call “love marriages” which is where two people fall in love and then get married — are happier the first several years; But, arranged marriages are happier in the long run. This of course depends highly on who arranged the marriage and based on what criteria.
MADHAVI AUNTY: Hello, we feel that your son Arvind would be a suitable match for our little Angeli.
MAHESH: Yes yes, I’m basically agreeing with you. After all, we are both from the Nair caste, the parents are Notaries, the children are Notaries, and when they have children, their children will be Notaries. None of us drink, smoke, or use any bad language other than uttering the word “Jurat.”
MADHAVI: Please, there are children here! Yes, I’m basically in agreement here. And our families have known each other since we were commissioned originally several decades ago it seems, so it is like we are already married in a sense.
ANGELI: Do I have any say in this? After all, it is I who will be married.
MADHAVI AUNTY: Stay out of this!
SUJATA AUNTY: May we see the girl walk? Oh, and we need to wrap up this whole marriage thing ASAP because chai will be ready in five minutes.
ANGELI: Don’t I need to sign something to get married like a marriage license or marriage agreement? Actually, I have it here on my iPhone — it is called an Affidavit of Nuptial and Matrimonial intent.
MAHESH: And we could get it notarized too! You’ll be signing your life away — literally. But, don’t worry, Arvind really brings home the bacon.
ANGELI: Please, we are Hindu and don’t eat bacon.
MADHAVI: That is just an expression. I think Angeli’s document idea is only for… well, you know. People of the same gender who want to…
ARVIND: I would like to call the marriage off because Angeli refused to like me on my Notary Facebook profile. Also, her moon is not rising in her astrological chart, and mine is — my astrologer says that will cause long term incompatibility.
MAHESH: Just as long as your Mars is in alignment, you will function together.
ARVIND: Mars is for working relationships, not for love. And we would need an acknowledged statement from the astrologer that her moon isn’t rising — or at least isn’t rising until her commission expires.
MAHESH: If you want your love to work, then love IS a working relationship.
ANGELI: Good point. So, how many minutes do we get to know each other before I take my Oath of Office as secretary of the interior and chief minister of chapatis?
SUJATA AUNTY: First of all — let’s leave LOVE out of this; And let us older folks handle this. We have been through more life than you have and know more about what can go right and wrong in a relationship. If you want your love to work, there needs to be a basic foundation of compatibility and similarity. So, Arvind, what types of Notarizations have you done?
ARVIND: Mostly Power of Attorney and banking documents. I did corporate documents for many MNC (nulti-national corporation) and BPO (business process outsourcing) for an NRI (non-resident Indian) from USA. A few loans and construction documents. Someone was building an ashram and the guru needed a loan.
SUJATA AUNTY: Oh, good good. That is very good. Since I’m Indian, I understand all of your acronyms. But, I heard that some of those banking documents were part of an outsourced package from America. Trump will put an end to this work coming to India.
MADHAVI AUNTY: You are right! Decreased work load for the next four years? The marriage is off!
ARVIND: But, we have known each other for a whole 10 minutes. I feel like we are married already! And my father is a millionaire, so we’ll be financially set in any case.
MADHAVI AUNTY: Oh. In that case, we’ll check bank records in the morning and sign the papers after chai.
ALL: It’s a deal
MAHESH: We’ll need notarized copies of the bank records too. What Notary procedure do we use in that case? Certified copy by document custodian or a Jurat where we swear to the authenticity of the copies?
SUJATA AUNTY: They are both the same thing under a different label. Both are just Jurats with sworn Oaths.
ANGELI: It’s my marriage after all which according to Bombay Notary law would be a joint marital commission. Once again, do I have any say in this matter?
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