Three on a match

During the Manipal years(college years), a good friend of mine never let us light more than 2 cigarettes from one match. If he saw a match being passed to the third man, he intervened and extinguished the match. This always caused despair in the third soul who was waiting for the smoke to give him a much needed escape. Surprised by his actions, I asked him about his perversion. He explained philosophically, “It is bad for friendship!”.

The selfless relationship of friends were threatened by an inanimate object of negligible size. The match has fire at one end. But it was still not dangerous and can easily be controlled. Such an inconsequential object has a devastating effect on a strong invisible bond named friendship. My blood boiled.

From that moment, I took up arms against three on a match. Whenever I saw three people lighting cigarette from a single match, I sprang into action. I destroyed the offensive match by extinguishing it. In the ensuing years, I saved numerous friendships.

Last week, I came across on an article on  Ivar Kreuger. There is also a book named The Match King, detailing his life and his crooked deals. Three on a match is a superstition created by Ivar in order to sell more matches! He used this on soldiers. The superstition says  if three soldiers lit their cigarettes from the same match, then one of them would be killed.

I feel cheated to be used by selfish industrialist. Though I do not hold any grudge against my friend, I’m now wondering how a superstition among soldiers eventually became a superstition among friends.

Tags: Musings,Three on a Match,Manipal,Friendship,Ivar Kreuger,Superstition,Cigarettes


  1. I have heard of this and also the other superstition, which is "3 people never go together for a auspicious task". However, innocuous it might be, we still believe it sometimes, do we not?

  2. @Sanju
    Good to see you after a very long time.
    Yeah.. anything with three is jinxed/cursed

  3. nice one Nona..i remember this too...if by mistake if you ever light 3 cigs from 1 have to light one more (4th one) even if no one is there to smoke or not...this is to break the jinx...this is in one of the ancient indian granthas

  4. @priyaiyer (Anil)-
    :) Superstition, my dear, Superstition.


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