Day in and day out, I witness many stories. Some are exciting, some thrilling, some full of suspense, some dubious, and some simply bizarre. Whatever the genre, all wish to end on the same note, “Just Married”.
Confused? Let me clear it.
I am the stamp on the Marriage Registrar’s table. With my impression on the marriage application, the man and the lady are declared husband and wife. It is here, that many marriages are solemnized, legally.
That day I was resting on the ink pad as usual. There came a man with a small built. He must have been in his 50’s. He wore a faded but clean, ironed shirt with an over-sized trouser that was secured tightly with a belt. With his shoulders arched and leaning, I could gauge the burden of life he might be carrying. His eyes had the shine of simplicity.
With him came a lady with a tall built and broad shoulders. She wore a dress that appeared dull but clean. I couldn’t check her eyes as she had glasses with thick lenses. She entered the room following in his footsteps and stood right beside him.
The registrar was busy checking and signing some documents; so, the man waited for a while. The lady growing restless pushed him with her elbow and egged him to speak. Turning to her, he nodded and cleared his throat while turning back to face the registrar, to announce their arrival.
“Give me your application”, insisted the registrar dispassionately with his head still buried in the file in front of him down.
“Sir, we haven’t filed it. But…”, he fumbled.
The registrar looked up and without letting him complete, said, “Without application and documents, I can’t do anything”
“We want your advice”, she said confidently.
“Regarding?” enquired the registrar.
“We want to get married. Will you solemnize our marriage and give us the marriage certificate?”, she asked.
“For that you have to apply with necessary documents. After 30 days of application, you can come here for the registering your marriage”, stated the registrar.
This time, she turned to him, prodding him to speak.
The man again cleared his throat and said, “But I am already married”
“In that case you can not marry, unless you legally divorce your first wife”, explained the registrar.
“I have applied for the divorce Sir, six years back. I have sent many notices to her too. But every time she receives a notice, she comes and stays with me for a week and again goes back to her parents”, he explained. “On the other hand, this lady, my friend, she stays with me and cooks for us. I work as a pianist in a local bar and earn enough to keep us happy. She used to sell the flowers outside the bar on the footpath. It was there that we met three years back. She is alone in the world and so I am. Together we have a better life”, he continued.
“And what if your first wife changes her mind and starts staying with you upon learning about your live-in relationship”, initiated the registrar.
“No problem. We will accept her in our fold”, replied the lady instantly.
“Yes, I will take care of both of them”, replied the man assuredly.
Their response left the registrar in split. He said, “You check with your advocate to expedite the divorce. Nothing can be done until you get divorced from your first wife.”
“The advocate is no more. He died last week”, supplied the man.
“Then go to another advocate gentleman. There are advocates around who are alive”, advised the registrar as calmly as he could.
“But sir, it wastes a lot of my money and time. Please consider our request as genuine and give us a marriage certificate”, pleaded the man.
“Gentleman, I can’t help you till you are divorced. So please go and don’t waste my time”, said the registrar sternly.
The couple lingered near the table for a while. I could sense the drag in their walk as they exited the chamber
Resting on the ink pad, I was intrigued by this curious case. It was the most unusual request I have heard in my lifetime!