Superstitions, VIP culture drive ‘fancy number’ craze

Deccan Chronicle.  | Sanjay Samuel Paul

Lifestyle, Culture and Society

Not only celebrities, powerful and rich people but even upper middle class folks are spending lakhs of rupees in auctions for their desired fancy number for their cars. (Photo: PTI)

HYDERABAD: Superstitions and a VIP culture of flaunting one’s power, money and status are driving unabated, without a brake, or a speed breaker, the craze to acquire “fancy numbers” for not only expensive cars, but even humble motorcycles and two-wheelers.

Surprisingly, not one person in the hi-tech technology city of Hyderabad wants 1729 — the most magical of four-digit numbers — also called math genius Srinivasa Ramanujan’s number.

Not only celebrities, powerful and rich people but even upper middle class folks are spending lakhs of rupees in auctions for their desired fancy number for their cars. Predictably, politicians and the film fraternity lead the pack, and are responsible for making the trend ubiquitous.

“People in risky careers like politics, films and business believe in their lucky number,” said Jayashankarr Sistlaa, Astro Numerologist. “If there is a strong reiteration of that number around them, including in their car or mobile number, calculated correctly, using numerological principles and factoring in their core number, drawn from their name and date of birth, it can enhance their luck factor.”

Sistlaa, who consults for several leading celebrities in not only Hyderabad but across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, said, “Your name number is a driving force. Numbers are associated with planetary movements. The correct numbers can enhance luck and augment your chances of success. But it should be a proper number which has to match with your name as well as your date of birth.”

Little wonder, Mega Star Chiranjeevi Konidela, is particular about the number of his car — 1111 — which he retains for his current pair of hot wheels — a Rolls Royce Phantom. It has been his consistent vehicle number for a long time.

There is a surge of demand to acquire fancy numbers at the Road Transport Authority (RTA) for these magic numerical figures, which often cost a bomb. But for its bidders at the auction, spending a fortune for their desired number is no dampener.

According to J. Pandurang Naik, District Transport Officer and Joint Transport Commissioner, “only last week, a vehicle owner from this city spent Rs 13.50 lakh to acquire the most magical and most sought after numbers — 9999 — for his registration. Tollywood superstar Jr NTR, who still holds a record for the highest ever bid so far for this number — 9999 — he spent around Rs 17 lakh.”

He said, “The demand for desired numbers peaks amongst Hyderabadis, especially in the Khairatabad RTA zone, since several top shots of the state reside in this zone. For reserving any desired number, one has to pay a minimum fee of `2,000 for two-wheelers and `5,000 for four-wheelers. For special numbers like 1, 9, 999, 9999 – the initial bidding starts from Rs 50,000 and can shoot to the sky.”

But it is not only VIP culture or numerological considerations that drive this urge to shell out big bucks and get a desired number. It can also be sycophancy or an urge for identity.

Once upon a time, when late chief minister Dr Y.S. Rajashekara Reddy used to have 2345 as his number, there was a surge of demands for it. Similarly, since Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao uses 6666, there is a huge surge in demand for this number, especially within the ruling TRS circles.

For some, it might just be a habit, or sense of comfort. P. Kiran, renowned Telugu movie producer, who gave the industry memorable hits like Anthapuram, Shanker dada MBBS and Venkatadri Express, and is now ready with Ahimsa, said, “my car number — 1558 — has remained the same, I don’t call it superstation, neither is it a fancy number. Throughout my journey, from my first car onwards, I carry forward this number. In my future vehicles too, I will be using the same number.”

Of course, not everyone has to pay the big monies but still like their fancy number. “For government top brass, if a GO is issued allocating a desired number for their vehicles, which are government-owned, that number is automatically allotted to them. The RTA also reserves a number of their choice for judicial officials and judges, because there is a GO which gives them their desired number,” another RTA official explained.

Several clients check with an Astro Numerologist  like Jayashankarr Sistlaa before deciding on their ideal number. “During my research in this subject for the last 23 years, I have realised the power of numbers to influence your life, luck, career and even personal life. Every alphabet is a number, that it has to coincide with your vehicle number. For example, my phone number is 90328-05050 – which I use based on calculations based on my name and date of birth to ensure I get more positive calls.”

“Most successful people do not ignore this power. They constantly check and ensure the planetary movements and numbers they are using are aligned.” he added.

When asked about 1729 — the number that Ramanujan declared on a hospital bed was the most magical of numbers, the smallest four digit number which could be expressed as a sum of the cubes of two different numbers — the RTA department drew a blank. “What kind of a number is it? There is nothing fancy about it.”

Most people in the silicon valley of India agree.

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