Tapisha Sharma, who delivered a baby boy on January 11, was discharged from the hospital after four days but refused to step out with her newborn until the date and time were right.
The new mother was advised by her family pundit to bring the baby home only on January 17. “Her pundit had strictly asked her to wait as it was a solar eclipse on January 15, and shani on Saturday. She insisted on occupying the hospital bed for two extra days,” cribbed her gynaecologist Dr Rishma Dhillon Pai, a consultant with Lilavati and Jaslok hospitals.
For another delivery, Pai had to rush to hospital at 4 am — the muhurat or auspicious time drawn up by a pundit for the child’s birth. “I requested the couple to look for another suitable muhurat as I had a very busy day ahead but the pundit did not agree. I was flooded with phone calls from senior politicians and bureaucrats to oblige,” said Pai.
The rise in pre-planned caesarean deliveries is forcing most city gynaecologists to now work in accordance with the muhurats given by family pundits. Muhurats are now fixed not only for the time of delivery of the baby but also for the time of admission and discharge from hospital.
A delivery at sunrise is the most sought after. This is despite
the fact that it costs up to 1.5 times extra due to emergency charges applicable between 8 pm and 8 am.
In the early days of her career, Dr Anita Soni, a gynaecologist with Hiranandani Hospital, Powai, lost an old patient to another doctor a day before the patient’s caesarean operation because she found the idea of delivering a baby at 5 am in the morning weird. Now, Soni has accepted the norm.
Dr Pratima Chipalkatti, a gynaecologist with Bombay Hospital and Breach Candy Hospital with a 30-year practice, said the muhurat trend has picked up in the past few years. “Earlier the muhurat practice was restricted only to affluent classes but now even middle-class families want the babies to be delivered on the date and time chosen by the family pundit.”
For doctors tired of delivering babies during auspicious hours, raahu kaal is the best time of the day. “That’s when I can relax, have my food and take a nap,” said Pai with a grin.