Free Press Journal

‘Legends are born in October’, or are they?


Since October 1, I have called, or texted, at least one person daily to wish them birthday. Some of them have been close friends with whom I keep in touch regularly; some long-lost ones. Now, claiming to be a writer meant a simple ‘Hello, happy birthday dear’ was too simple for the egotist in me.

Thus, I took to researching quotes for those born in October. That’s where I came across this quote/meme/phrase: Legends are born in October. Except for the difference of one word, it could have been the graffiti on my brother’s t-shirt, which reads: Legends are born in January.

That got me googling; and several hours of mindful web-surfing later I had a list of those born in October—mostly to coincide with the birthdays of my friends. Something of a pattern emerged to me: October-born people were writers, thinkers, artists, kings, politicians or dictators—not exactly a la Adolf Hitler, but maybe (to be politically incorrect) Donald Trump-ish or sort of Fidel Castro.

Now, I don’t have anything original to write about Hitler (born in April), or Trump (born in June) or even Castro (born in August). But I did see another pattern: It seemed to me onerousness skipped a month. (I am sure, though there would be a whole posse of people who would love to prove this pattern wrong).

A system arises

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at the venue ahead of her leader’s speech on the final day of the Conservative Party annual conference at the Manchester Central Convention Centre in Manchester, northwest England, on October 4, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLIS

But that is not the pattern I want to discuss. My point is that my friends’ birthdays coincide with at least one artist, one thinker/writer and one dictator, beginning from October 1. While you may know about Julie Andrews, Annie Besant, Jimmy Carter, Theresa May, SD Burman, Majrooh Sultanpuri, and Ram Nath Kovind; few of you know of King Henry III of England, King Paul I of Russia, Liaquat Ali Khan, James Whitmore, Lawrence Harvey, Alexander Severus and Paul Dukas—all these people (who are, as I wrote earlier, artists, or thinkers, or writers, or politicians, or kings or dictators) were born on the first day of this month.

According to the book, Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs (yes, I have read this book), those born under the zodiac Libra—and until October third week it is all Libra—are extremely intelligent, but naïve and gullible, too. “They’ll talk your ear off, yet they’re wonderfully good listeners. Librans are restless people. But they seldom rush or hurry… There’s a frustrating inconsistency to this sun sign that puzzles the Librans themselves as much as it does others,” Goodman writes.

Thinkers and writers

What Goodman calls inconsistency, I would like to call a juxtaposition: Or as the zodiac symbol suggests, the balance. Librans don’t have to be either this or that—they can be both, equally.

But I digress.

I have been talking about categorising those born in this month. I have a theory here: Librans with their ‘inconsistency’ have the capability to see any opposing aspect with equal clarity, making them excellent thinkers. Now I am no Linda Goodman, or even our own Bejan Daruwalla, but I think this trait is what makes a good thinker, and consequently a good writer. No wonder Gunter Grass (October 16, 1927), Oscar Wilde (October 16, 1854) and Friedrich Nietzsche (October 15, 1844) were born in this month.

There are quite a lot of great writers and poets born in this month:  Graham Greene, Anne Rice, Harold Pinter, PG Wodehouse, EE Cummings, Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Dylan Thomas, Sylvia Plath, Ezra Pound, John Keats and Katherine Mansfield. And these are only the ones that I managed to come across during my ‘research’.

The not-so-goodfellas

However, I also came across the names of leaders from the German Nazi party; the worst of them—after Hitler himself—Paul Joseph Goebbels, too was born in this month. (I know, nitpickers would like to point it out to me that as Goebbels was born on October 29, 1897, he was a Scorpio and not a Libra).

I would like to tell those people that Karl Kaufmann—he was the head of the Nazi Partyin Hamburg, and later the government of Hamburg from 1933 until 1945—and Horst Ludwig Georg Erich Wessel (this guy was killed and then turned into the Nazi party’s propaganda-poster-boy after ‘martyrdom’) were born on October 10, 1900, and October 9, 1907, respectively.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the opening of the trophy tour ceremony at Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on September 9, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Sputnik / Michael KLIMENYEV

Talking about politicians (or kings or dictators), I will be remiss if I don’t mention Vladimir Putin and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The two-time Russian president was born on October 7, 1954, while the Iranian leader (who has been a supposed pain-in-the-backside of the West) was born on October 28, 1956.

The Indians within

Talking about October-borns, I cannot leave behind Big B and two of his leading ladies. Amitabh Bachchan’s birthday is October 11, while Rekha’s birthday is a day before, and Hema Malini’s falls on October 16. Other notable Indians, whose birth anniversaries fall in this month, are Vinod Khanna (October 6), Smita Patil (October 7), RK Narayan (October 10), Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (October 13), APJ Abdul Kalam (October 15) and Shammi Kapoor (October 21).

I know Nusrat-saab is Pakistani, but in my defence, he was adopted as one of us (and technically, Pakistan was once part of India).

Then there is this new crop of Indian celebrities who are October-born: Parineeti Chopra, Zaheer Khan, Freida Pinto, Asin, Prabhas (of Baahubali fame) and even Mrs SRK, Gauri Khan.

Now that I have rambled enough, I should divulge this: I, too, share my birthday with several dead actors, a serial killer, a pirate, a few politicians, a couple of kings and several athletes. I, however, was born in August.

What I mean to say is that this article is ‘purely the author’s opinion’, who might (or might not) have been under the influence (of you-know-what) while writing this piece.