As the world marked the birth of its seven billionth baby on Monday, four families in the city welcomed a newborn into their lives. They share with HT their joy, as well as dreams and aspirations for their children
The Sheths II Vile Parle residents
‘I don’t want my son to struggle in Mumbai’
Barely two hours after the birth of his baby on Monday afternoon, 39-year-old Hiten Sheth had already drawn up plans for his first-born.
This includes an investment for his college education. “One has to work too much to get anywhere here. But I don’t want him to struggle like me, facing the harsh realities of this city,” said Sheth, a chartered accountant who grew up in Kalbadevi.
The child, who is yet to be named, was born at 3.27 pm at Beams Hospital in Khar, 15 days before the due date through a cesarean section.
Sheth’s wife, Swarupa, 34, looked tired, but content. The couple had married a little over a year ago, and Swarupa gave up her job as a web designer after she got pregnant.
As their son lay snug in his crib, surrounded by his grandparents and aunts, Sheth said: “I want to give him the best education in the best university. I want him to be a global citizen.”
While the child slept blissfully, his father was worrying. “I worry about the competitive world. That’s why I’m planning so much.”
“When my son is ten years old, I want him to go to a boarding school, which has many more facilities than schools in Mumbai,” he said.
The family considers the child’s birth on Monday, the day the world welcomed its symbolic seven billionth member, auspicious. “Today is Labh Pancham – a day when gains are made,” said Sheth.
The Bibis II Mazagaon Residents
‘I’m illiterate but won’t let that happen to my child’
The first thing that Fulshura Bibi, 19, promised herself after holding her newborn girl in her lap on Monday afternoon was to give her daughter a good upbringing and education.
Bibi gave birth to her first child through a natural delivery at JJ Hospital.
“I belong to a very poor family and my parents had to sacrifice my education to put my three younger brothers in school. But I won’t let that happen to my daughter,” said Bibi, who is illiterate.
Bibi got married at 18 to Manarul Shaikh, 25, a construction worker, who earns Rs 140 a day. “I know it won’t be easy to raise a child. At present whatever small amount my husband earns goes into buying food and we are not able to save anything,” said the Mazagaon resident.
Despite the hurdles, Bibi is confident that the family will tide over their troubles together. “We both will work hard to give our daughter a good life,” said Bibi who wants her daughter to become a doctor.
“My daughter is Allah’s gift to us,” said Bibi. “I will start working as a domestic help as that is the only job I will be able to get.”
Daftary family II Ghatkopar residents
They planned to bring their baby into the world on an auspicious day
When Vilasben Daftary, 61, had her children more than 30 years ago, she had not heard of caesarean delivery. But on Monday, her granddaughter’s birth was planned to coincide with the auspicious day of Labh Pancham.
“I gave birth to my two children through natural deliveries. I didn’t have the option of fixing the date of birth of my children,” said Daftary.
Her daughter-in-law, Amy, 26, gave birth to her second daughter at 11 am on Monday after Dr Nikhil Datar conducted a caesarean delivery. The surgery was planned for the auspicious day months in advance.
“We wanted a baba [boy], but God gave us a girl. We are happy,” said Daftary.
Amy and her husband, Milin, 31, a garment trader, live with his parents in Ghatkopar (East). Their first daughter, Jinisha, 3, goes to playschool.
“When my children were growing up, my husband used to earn Rs 600 a month. We still managed to give them everything they wanted. Things are more expensive now. To get into a school, one has to give a donation of Rs 40,000,” said Daftary.
She said her children studied in a Gujarati-medium school, which is not an option in today’s English-driven economy. “Children these days have no life. They go to school, study, watch cartoons on TV and sleep,” said Daftary.
Amy, who was tired after the surgery, said: “I just want her to be healthy and happy.”
The Parabs Dombivli residents
‘I hope my daughter becomes a brave cop’
Shrushti Parab, 28, who delivered a baby girl on Monday afternoon at the state-run JJ Hospital in Byculla, wants to see her daughter grow up to be a fearless police officer. “I left my studies after Class 12, but I want my children to complete their education and be ambitious,” said the Dombivli homemaker.
Parab is one of the six women who delivered babies at the JJ Hospital on Monday. Parab, who also has an 18-month-old daughter, Shravani, wants to start working to save money for her daughters. “I want my daughters to study in an English-medium school and we have to start saving to be able to do that,” said Parab, who had quit her job as a data entry operator after marriage.
Bringing up children has become difficult because of the rising inflation, she said. “I grew up at my aunt’s place and growing up was easy then. Now it is increasingly hard to run a family with one person’s income.”
Her husband, Shivram, works in a private company and earns Rs 8,000 a month. The couple was hoping to have a boy after the first girl child. “I wanted a boy, but I am equally happy to have another girl,” she said.