An ‘Engagement’ like none else !

There are two different subjects that i want to write about today.  

Subject No: 2 beckons.  Having picked up a degree of astuteness ( sic) over the years , i am going to stay with Subject No : 1.   

Subject No : 2, can wait. 

I used to read war stories. And so when well meaning relatives came up to me and declared that my ‘engagement’ would happen on a particular day, the guns seemed to boom within ! The Indian army engaged the militants, scream newspapers. And here i was getting engaged too. 

In proper Thamizh tradition, the engagement ceremony, (called Nitchiathartham) is official confirmation that all else is over. I mean, confirmation that the girl and boy are hooked and soon to be married. Over the years, this has morhped into a ring ceremony, where the bride-to-be and groom-to-be, exchange rings.  The first official interaction between the families ! 

So, there i was. In a flowing white Kurta and oversized Reebok sandals. God knows where i got my tastes from.  The ditinct smell of incense, jasmine and multiple perfumes permeated the Madurai air.  Guests strolled in. Cameras clicked with flashes of sound & light that i thought were reserved for missiles from a stealth bomber. 

There was the quintessential video grapher who insisted on shining his arc lights on me in the most inopportune moments. I insist, to deaf years, till date, that it was by design.  His logic It seemed to me that the central idea was to let the world know who the groom was. And that was by shining his video light ! By and large, the crowd understood the importance of light and focus ! 

In a while, my wife to be, in all bridal finery, walked in. And the cameras disowned me like an MP who lost an election. The crowds nodded in approval. Or atleast, thats what i thought. I saw everybody talk. I thought it was about me and my wife to be.  They could have been discussing the weather, the traffic, politics, or match-making for other prospective brides and grooms & such else. For the scared, every shadow is a ghost !  

Other rituals were on,  in a corner. Like background music that interests only music aficionados and not movie goers !  

And then, the time to exchange rings arrived. Nervousness kept me relentless company.  I slipped the ring on to her finger. 

The cameras clicked and for a moment, it felt like a celebrity.  That momentous moment had arrived and slipped by too. The moment seemed fleeting but for the photographers! True to spirit, one photographer shouted ‘once more’ ( He couldn’t get the angle right)  ! 

I think the photographers did that, not once, but thrice. Embarrassing it was. To slip the ring into her finger and then pull it out, only to slip it back in !  I bore it for the greater glory of photography, thrice ! After which i stopped and stood static. My hand holding hers, the slipped ring adorning her finger, posing for the camera. 

From, nowhere a bunch of colleagues who had travelled all the way from Bangalore arrived on stage.  With a clear intent and purposeful action that would put any social activists’ to shame, they lifted me and tossed me into the air.  Engagement Bumps, they said !  

I went up thrice into the air. White Kurta. Reebok sandal. And all else.   Each time i came down, i was filled with fright and images of the open mouthed awe struck Madurai audience. The tapestry of dhotis, sarees, safari suits in ‘shock and awe’ at this turn of the engagement !  

My wife to be stood still.  Her face pale.  Every other conversation in the room seemed to cease. My father-in-law & party to be, looked distraught.  With such raucous colleagues and friends of his son-in-law to be, i guess he (they ) had good reason.  The sole musician playing the Mirudangam stopped. My parents stood still. My brothers grinned. The cameras kept clicking. 

Thankfully, it didn’t go beyond thrice. 

In sometime the buffet was thrown  open.  The Mirudangam player resumed his play . The conversations resumed. My friends went their way. The cameras followed them and their antics.  I stood in a corner. All by myself. A plastered smile, shivering hands and a sweating forehead. Imagining & trying to see meaning of what the signs foretold.  

My last bachelor night was a stiff one.  I tossed and turned in bed. Many times over.  This time all by myself. The next day, i was married.  I havent looked back, ever since !   
And oh yes, Subject No : 2.  

Sept 8th also happens to be The International Literacy Day ! ‘On this day, UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally. Celebrations take place around the world.’  So says Wikipedia !
Now, Subjects 1 & 2 are two different subjects and have no connections / linkages whatsoever.  I write them in one post for the sake of factual coincidence of date. Nothing else ! 

13 thoughts on “An ‘Engagement’ like none else !

  1. Pooh! says:

    ROFTL! Probably the photographer wanted the ring exchange 3 times to fit in with the tradition – moondru mudichu!

  2. Ms Cris says:

    Hehe that musta been some engagement, thrown up in the air! Happy anniversary 🙂

  3. Shiva says:


    Looks like your remember every detail of the function.. It’s been 5 years?

    Happy Anniversary!

  4. Chhaya says:

    Hi Sir,

    Thanks for leaving your comment on my blog. I could’nt agree more.

    Also jus wanted 2 let you know i am following your blogs ardently and i find them very interesting.

  5. Priya says:

    Very cool post and best wishes to you both.

  6. Ganesh says:


    Ought to give it to you. It must have been really as traumatic as you described because you still remember every moment of the engagement with clarity.


  7. aaahaaa.. you got three bumps on your engagement in front of everyone. no one does this here in the USA.. but in those days in BHU, we used to do this on everyones birthday.. worse the guy would get kicked in his butt by the few who threw him up in the air.


    happy anniversary!

  8. Jeevan says:

    I could not stop after reading about photographers and ur colleagues action, lol! Wish you a happy anniversary and let love and peace to stream always 🙂

  9. manuscrypts says:

    not entirely unconnected you know.. marriage is quite a learning 😀

  10. Kavi says:

    Pooh : LOL ! I didnt think of it that way. Perhaps !

    Ms Cris : Thank You ! It was indeed one heck on engagement !

    Shiva : Thank You ! Actually, 6

    Chayya : thank you ! Welcome here. And glad you like this space !

    Hobo : thank you !

    Ganesh : You bet. I can relate more tell tale events ! But i have humanity in consideration !

    Priya : A big thank you ! For being there !

    Sundar : The ‘worse’ also happened here. Have you heard of the groom being kicked infront of the bride ! Well, if you havent, you just did !

    thank you !

    Jeevan : thank you ! Nice of you to stay connected !

    manu : ;D

  11. Friends obviously acted with a purpose. They wated to convey the shape of things to come when you get married. In that it is full of highs and lows, exhilarating and yet unforgettable!

  12. Kavi says:

    Sir : Yes !! LOL !!!

    I cant help agree with you more !

    They also taught me that the ceiling has cobwebs, and sometimes i have to clean them !!

    LOL !!!

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