A First After 25 Years.

I have lived in Pune for near a quarter century and have been invited to a number of weddings, receptions, and other functions.  I have mostly sent my regret letters because I try and avoid crowds and because I am nervous about inadequate seating arrangements in public places.

Without exception, the invitations would be in English or in Marathi.  For the first time ever however, three weeks ago, I received an invitation in the traditional Tambram Tamil in the following format.


I was thrilled to receive this particularly since this was for the upanayanam ceremony for two young lads. Most young Tambrams have now stopped this initiation ceremony for their sons and to get an invitation sent my pride soaring that there are still some left who follow our traditions.

The invitation was sent by the elders in the family of a young lady alumnus from the Pune chapter, who has recently successfully published a novel and someone that all of us Alumni in Pune are very proud of. I promptly wrote to her to confirm that I will attend the upanayanam and made a particular point of informing her that I was happy to receive the traditional invitation.

I duly attended the function last Friday morning and became quite sentimental seeing the full ceremony which took me back to my own upanayanam ceremony in 1957. The same rituals and dodas brought back so many memories for me. The function was organised very well and the conducting priest knew his job well and I had a grand time attending the function and meeting some new Tambrams of Pune as well.

Here is a photograph of the lady in our traditional nine yard madisaru sari standing in attendance while one of the lads and the father sitting and performing the rites can be seen.   You can click on the image to get a larger resolution.  What is remarkable about this is that the lady is not a Tambram but has married into a Tambram family and has adapted herself to it so well that it was a treat for me to see her performing all the roles that this rite calls for from the mother.

14 thoughts on “A First After 25 Years.”

  1. Does the young person have a say in whether to undergo this ceremony or is it something decided by the parents, like the Christian baptism? In my case I was three days old when baptised, so there was no chance of me objecting.
    Grannymar recently posted..A long catch-up updated.

    1. It depends on the age I suppose. I was fourteen when I had mine and I wanted it. Not that I was asked though. I doubt that the children would be asked if they would like to go through with the ceremony. I asked Ranjan who did not want it and so he did not have it.

  2. I know nothing about the Tamil Brahmins, so that’s intriguing. So many esoteric (to me anyway) strands of religion in the world!

    As Grannymar says, is the ceremony obligatory or voluntary? I was circumcised when very young and had no say in it whatever.
    nick recently posted..The curse

    1. It was obligatory in the past but now even parents do not want to impose this on their children. I know forty plus year old parents who did not get it when they were young and who in turn do not intend arranging for their children.

  3. It must be a comfort to know that your traditions still live on. I was not raised with many ancient traditions (athough we all have them and create them as we live in families and communities). I am thinking and perhaps I think that way because I moved away from the religious practices of my childhood. There are probably traditions there that live on although they were definitely not in one of the more ritualized denominations.
    Mother recently posted..Denial, Acceptance, Hope, Faith…What????

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