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