When she was younger, a South Asian, Baishakhi Connor believed she was born on a Sunday, April 29. The family didn’t pay much attention to the fact that her mother remembered it being a Friday until one day when Connor, a teenager, discovered a piece of paper while cleaning their home in India. It was a note from the hospital informing her that her mother would be released on April 28 following delivery. Connor understood that she had been misinformed about her birthday the entire time. Yes, she was born on April 27, a Friday.
Connor believes the error occurred when she applied for school. We don’t have birth certificates, and none of us know why, she told me over the phone from Australia, where she now resides. There are two birthdays for Connor’s biological parents, her sister, and her foster daughter. Mike Ghouse, an South Asian American who is 70 years old and who received a second “official” birthday when he was four years old to assist early school entry, agrees. Two birthdays were celebrated by renowned author Khushwant Singh and Indian American astronaut Kalpana Chawla.
An Inside joke
It’s nearly an inside joke among South Asians because of how frequently the phony birthday phenomenon occurs. One tweet asks, “Do your Brown parents have two different birthdays. Or are you normal?” Another says, “You’re not Indian unless your dad has at least two birthdays.” Like many other developing nations throughout the world,
South Asians wasn’t very good at keeping track of dates because it was still a young subcontinent with more important priorities than birth registrations and where many babies were born at home. South Asian parents often adjusted birthdays when doing so and offered observable benefits, even after record-keeping began. Beyond the amusing anecdotes, though, this mix-up occasionally serves as a reminder of a contentious historical era.
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