Deepa Kurup

All eyes on today’s Olympic spectacle in Beijing

BANGALORE: All eyes will be on Beijing at 8.08.08 p.m. on August 8, 2008 (8/8/08) when the 2008 Olympics will be inaugurated. Everybody is likely to rush home early to watch the promised spectacle unfold on television.

Closer home, people from different walks of life are looking at the date with special interest, and good-luck seekers are trying to etch the date into their personal lives in one way or the other. More so because it is a once-in-a-100-year occurrence.

While many are rushing to tie the knot on this “auspicious day”, others are fine-tuning their pregnancy calendar to ensure their child is born with this very trendy 8-8-8 tag. And then there are those who will simply bask in the novelty of an otherwise perfectly normal Friday.

A harried gynaecologist, Sujatha Krishnaswamy, says she had to try and dissuade many an enthusiastic parent wanting to delay childbirth even by as long as a week. Though she says that it is common for people to time their child’s birth, her maternity home is worried that it is going to be flooded with several false alarms from parents-to-be. “My colleagues have been asked if caesarean operations can be scheduled on that particular day,” she says. Not an easy day for maternity homes, it appears.


The obsession has gripped the Chinese, too. Websites are inundated with reports of over 9,000 couples set to tie the knot in China where number eight symbolises infinite luck. No divorces will be granted in China on the day. In a similar vein, Bangaloreans are cashing in on this “auspicious day”. Management graduate Omar Sheriff is all set to get engaged today. “We’re doubly lucky to choose this date since it is also my fiancé’s birthday. Even if I forget my marriage date, I will never forget my engagement date,” he says.

While couples seem to be taken in by the novelty of the day, philatelist Venkatesh S. Yalvigi has designed and distributed 150 envelopes to mark what he calls a “palindromic perfection”. He is dismissive of all superstition and says: “I am doing this for future generations.”

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