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.