Shri hari and Pratibha The city welcomed 172 boys and 159 baby girls on millennium day. But software engineer Shri Haris wife was particularly fortunate. She delivered caesarean twin girls. Says an overwhelmed Pratibha: "These tiny bundles of joy are very special. Ive read babies born on the first day of the millennium are incredibly lucky." Devout Iyengars, the Shri Haris are happier that the first twin arrived at 8.48 am, well before the Rahu Kalam or the inauspicious hour. Now, they need not worry about astrologers predicting that a millennium child could bring bad luck. Superstitions laid to rest, the familys busy scanning the holy treatise, Lakshmi Sahasranama, to choose names for the twins.
Abdul Safiq and badrunissa They attach little importance to the fact that their son was born at 8 am on millennium day. "What difference does it make?" asks his father, a meat-shop owner who lives in a 40-member joint family in Basdroni, South 24 Parganas. He has two other children; they live with 22 other cousins. "Thisll be my last child," declares Abdul. "With the Rs 6,000 odd that I earn, Ill try to give him the best." Badrunissas just happy that her son was born in the month of Ramzan. Ramzan Sahib is what shell call him.
Shoba and Capt Piyush srivastava They didnt plan him; in fact the pregnancy was an accident. Married for 10 years, the Srivastavas were planning to adopt a second child when Shobha conceived. And though Shiv was born to them exactly five seconds after 12 and could well be Indias first millennium baby, they dont attach any special significance to that. The first millennium kid in Auckland might have got a $100 million, but chuckles Piyush irreverently, "when I first saw him, I thought he looked more like a dry prawn than human!"
shrawan kumar and soma devi The millennium hype never reached Shrawan Kumars roadside hotel. But the couples decided to name their daughter, simply-Millennium Baby. Even if they dont quite know what the word means. As the proud father says, "Jab sabhi log millennium baby, millennium baby karne lage, to hamne socha yahi iska naam rakh dein". The surviving twin of two girls, this is their first child. She arrived at 2.25 am, 14 days before the due date-"just to stake her claim to fame," beams Shrawan Kumar. "Now she has a special destiny, well give her the best we can."
shweta and ganesh rawat Unplanned he might be, but this little boy, the first in the family, born at 1:05 am is twice blessed for the Rawats. "Im so happy, hes a millennium boy," giggles a happy Shweta. Ask her what that means though and this housewife in Okhla, married to a civil engineer working with the Japanese company Mitsui, has a contrary reply. "I fear for him. He will have a tough life. Everything is becoming very tough, very insecure. We cant believe in anything now." Apocalyptic inheritances?
Rameshwar and rita patowari Hailing from a family of peasants that has fallen on bad days, the birth of a baby boy just past midnight on December 31, is "the first good news in the family for quite some time" for Rameshwar, an armyman posted in Sikkim, whose younger brother, ironically, is a senior ULFA activist. All Rameshwar wants for his son is to see better, tension-free days than he has. "I want to see him grow up in a prosperous and peaceful Assam." Too much to hope for?