On November 18, 1995, when Rema Devi gave birth to quintuplets – four daughters and a son – at a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, it was a big talking point in Kerala. As they were born on the day of ‘Uthram’ star in the Malayalam calendar, they were named by Devi and her husband Prem Kumar as Utthara, Utthama, Uthra, Uthraja and Uthrajan.
The children, who were nicknamed ‘pancharatnam’ by the local Malayalam media, grew up with their major milestones in life such as turning one, passing high school and getting voting rights chronicled assiduously by newspapers and television channels.
Saturday marked yet another milestone when three of the five children got married on the same day at the popular Guruvayur temple in Thrissur district. Devi, who’s an ardent devotee of Krishna, wanted her daughters to be wed at Guruvayur. Although all four daughters of Devi were engaged to be married on Saturday, the ceremony of one of them had to be deferred to a later date as the bridegroom faced delays in arriving from Muscat where he worked.
On Saturday, television cameras rolled as Utthara, Uthama and Uthra tied the knot with their respective bridegrooms at the temple as Devi, in a white saree, looked on. Uthraja, Uthrajan and their close family members were present on the occasion.
Uthra, a fashion designer, married Ajith Kumar, a hotel manager in Muscat. Utthara, an online journalist, was wedded to KB Mahesh Kumar, a video-journalist, while Uthama, an anesthesia technician, married G Vineeth, an accountant in Muscat.
“I’m very, very happy to see three of them getting married in front of God. My fourth daughter was also set to be married today but her bridegroom was stuck abroad. It will be held at a later date,” Devi told reporters.
Rema Devi, a native of Nannatukavu in Thiruvananthapuram district, single-handedly raised her quintuplets through their teenage and adult years after her husband died by suicide in 2005. To assist the distressed family, the state government then gave Devi a job at the district cooperative bank. The management of a private school also stepped in to support the education of all five children. Locals and well-wishers pitched in to build them a sturdy home.
The house was named ‘pancharatnam’ in homage to their extraordinary birth.