You there, Indian male! Marry me.
It is the new Russian magic mantra to reverse the alarming fall in the country’s birth rate. Pretty bold, huh? Says Maria Arbatova, writer and TV moderator, who married an Indian businessman a few years ago “after 25 years of keeping marrying Russians”, thinks Indian men make ideal husbands. “They are crazy about their family and children,” she said presenting her new book, ‘Tasting India’ in Moscow. “What is more, Indians, like Russians, are Indo-Europeans, and many Sanskrit and Russian words have the same roots.”
Russia has a population of 142 million spread across a territory five times the size of India. Its population is shrinking at one-third of a million a year. The government is trying lucrative methods to actually get couples to give birth to more babies – certificates worth $10,000 to second or subsequent children, monthly support payments etc. However, afraid that the Government measures are not enough, the Governor of Ulyanovsk suggested his own way. September 12th has been chosen as the new holiday, when Ulyanovsk residents will enjoy an extra day off work that the Governor decreed to give them more time to produce babies.
The holiday, officially called “Family Contact Day”, was quickly renamed by locals as “Day of Conception”. That day the people will be invited to join a festival, “I Love You”, while teams of gynaecologists, midwives and psychologists will fan out to all parts of the region to advise women on having babies.
Why September 12? So that babies conceived that day may be born on June 12, Russia’s National Day. Couples who hit the target date win prizes, including refrigerators, TV sets and washing machines. The main prize is an Ulyanovsk-built all-terrain vehicle called Patriot.
Also, my apartment mate has already taken Maria Sharapova.