Wednesday, March 29, 2006

What is this bhangad?

"What is this bhangad?", he said, disapprovingly, and looked up at me. He was looking at my passport application papers. The policeman in charge of the papers scrutiny at the local police station was referring to my name 'Banno Zai Muk'.

'Bhangad' in Marathi should roughly translate to "What is this headache-inducing nonsense?" First of all, why did I have this complicated name? Second, why would I not use my husband's name like any decent woman should? (Unsaid and implied questions, ofcourse. Even the policeman has learnt political correctness.)

He looked at me, and said, "Muslim?" I nodded. He looked at my husband's name, and then my husband, and said, "Teja? Hindu?" I nodded again. "Love marriage?" Very disapproving, that. Directed more towards Teja than me. I nodded mutely again.

Ofcourse, I was tempted to say, "No, arranged marriage. Arranged by deranged parents who did not know any better."

But a police station is no place for humor. And anyone who has spent 8 debilitating hours, standing in three different queues, for a passport application, only prays that they are not going to be sent back there for another lifetime. So mutely pray, that the policeman finds nothing objectionable about your name, marriage, profession, living arrangements.


Mukul said...

god, tell me about it. i am not married, least of all 'outside my religion', love or arranged. my bro and his wife have different surnames. and his wife needs a passport and visa to go live with him in the gulf. so they had to give affidavits and now have to register to prove their marriage, even though her passport already mentions my bro's name as her spouse. and in their absence, i have been running around courts and agents to facilitate smooth everything in the small window that they have in bombay.

Indeterminacy said...

I think the universal evil of all our worlds is bureaucracy. Arbitary, immoral, and incalculable. It scares me.

I feel honored that you thought it worthwhile to add a link to my blog. When I read that you are a filmmaker, I become doubly stunned. But I always thought that some of my stories might read like unfinished scenarios for a short film, with all the details waiting to be worked out. Maybe that's what you saw in them. Whatever the reasons, thank you very much, and I've added your blogs in my sidebar, especially since I want to stop by more often.

david raphael israel said...


but does not "Mukhtiyar" suggest the Sanskritic "mukhti"? At any rate, perhaps the marriage was arranged by a deranged universe.
With due sympathies, it's a very funny story.

banno at wordpress

I'm moving to wordpress. I'll miss blogger, especially the fab blogroll feature. But my blog has been virtually impossible to open o...