Last fortnight’s tract/diatribe on wedding gifts has had the faithful readership sending in their comments by the dozen. And it has made the task of The Man from Madras Musings that much easier when it comes to this fort­night’s column. What with the temperatures increasing by the minute and election noises reaching fever pitch, MMM is unable to think and needs all the help he can get.


How could MMM have forgotten the drinking birds, asks a regular correspondent. And MMM recalled with horror that particular excrescence which was at one time a regular on the gifts circuit. It was structured in the form of a large glass goblet that had an amber liquid in it. On either side were two pelicans (or were they storks), completely transparent and with huge stomachs that also had the same amber fluid in them. The birds were for some strange and unexplained reason attired with top hats and their abdomens (by which MMM means those of the birds and not the hats) were hinged to their legs (again the birds’ and not the hats’). If you pressed the birds’ heads they would begin bobbing up and down into the large goblet giving you the impression that they were quaffing the amber liquid. What this horror had to do with weddings is beyond MMM’s comprehension, but then there it was. Scarcely a wedding t here was in the city of Madras that did not feature these toping birds.

What about wall clocks, asks another reader. And, yes, MMM doffs his hat in acquiescence. There was a time when wedding guests said it with clocks. Square, triangular, rectangular, circular, pyramidal, they came in all geometric shapes and sizes. Most of them were of a ghastly pink, more or less of the shade seen at the Presidency College dome and at Rajaji Hall, a shade the Chief delights in calling seeni­muttai pink. They had all the kinds of tunes (MMM recalls one that chimed Happy Birthday To You every hour). The problem was that each couple got at least twenty of these. You may think that they could pass these on to others, but the clocks were singularly ill-adapted for this. The main reason being the flat front faces on which several of those who gifted them had their own names etched in perpetuity, the more sinister-minded adding the date of the wedding as well. That more or less dashed all chances of giving them away. More evil-minded were those who had a metal plate riveted to the rear, giving the same details – name of giver, date etc. There was no option but to pack the clocks away and hope that time would take care of the eventual destruction of the clock.

The last word on gifts, says another reader, and MMM agrees with her, is the wooden tower-like object painted in black with two horns on top to make it look like a temple spire. This has a silver disc of a god, or goddess, fixed to the front. There is nothing more useless than this gift apart from the fact that it is uniquely Tamil in its identity. You cannot do anything with it, apart from hammer nails into walls. The sole advantage they have over other gifts is that they are cheap and come in large sizes and so make for an impressive present, especially when pack­ed.

You may want to read this also – In cash we trust