The name on my passport is Madhu Sethi Jain. I chose not to let go of my maiden name (quite an anachronism that word, maiden) when I got married. Inevitably—well, almost always—the immigration official looks perplexed when he sees my name each time I fly in or out of Delhi. Many of the officials can’t resist asking how a Sethi married a Jain.
I saw the question marks materialise in the eyes of many family members when they learned that I was going to marry a non-Punjabi, and a Jain at that. They were too polite to verbalise their surprise. But a cousin known for his sense of humour presented me with a cotton mask, the kind Jain monks of some sects cover their mouths with to avoid inadvertently swallowing insects. The envelope in which it was placed had a lazily scrawled line: “For pure, clean and filtered love.”