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No birthday parties for baby Goli

Goli, born on the night of the 26/11 terror attacks at Cama Hospital, will not celebrate her third birthday as a sign of respect to those who died

Every child dreams of elaborate plans to celebrate their birthdays. Cakes, ribbons, friends, gifts and games make children excited as they count the minutes to their birthday. But for one child, birthday celebrations are a distant dream.


Keeping it simple: Tejaswini Chauhan aka Goli who will turn three on
26/11 will bring in her birthday quietly with her parents and her younger
sister


Two-year-old Tejaswini Chauhan, fondly known as Goli in her locality, is about to bring in her third birthday on 26/11. But for her, her birthday is simply a grim reminder of the terror attacks that held the city hostage. "We don't celebrate her birthday, even though we know she is fortunate to see the world. But knowing so many others died on that day, we just can't bring ourselves to party," said Goli's father Shammu Chauhan.

Shamu's wife Viju delivered Goli at Cama Hospital on the night of November 26, even as Qasab and his accomplice were gunning down five people in the hospital. "As if the tension of giving birth to a child was not enough, I was doubly worried. I could hear gun shots being fired all the while," recalls Viju.

Echoing the same sentiments, Viju added, "I can't forget the pressure we all felt as my wife went into labour at the same time that terrorists were in the hospital."

Last year, the family took Goli to Nariman House, to pay homage to those who lost their lives in the 26/11 attacks. "Every year, when media persons come to interview us and click Goli's pictures, she knows she is someone special. I have told her that she was born when terrorists were firing. I think she understands that and has never asked us to celebrate her birthday," added Shammu. Incidentally, tragedy also dogged the birth of their third child Jayshree, who was born a day before the German Bakery blasts. "She was born at Cama Hospital on February 12 and the blasts occurred, so the city was on high alert. It was a tense period for us. This pregnancy was unexpected," said Viju.

Almost homeless
It hasn't been a smooth ride for Goli's family. Last year, Goli had to face the unpleasant reality that her family could go homeless, as the untimely rains had seeped into their walls. "I took a loan of Rs 2 lakh to get my house fixed. Now we have a pakka house, but the interest on the loan is mounting," said Shammu.

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