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Being a single dad not a cakewalk

india Updated: Jun 20, 2009 18:08 IST

IANS
Highlight Story

Being an only parent is as challenging for men as it is for women. From attending office to cooking to looking into matters like homework, single fathers have to do it all and they say it's not a cakewalk for them.

For 50-year-old Sunil Joshi, a Delhi-based professor, the world fell apart when his wife succumbed to a disease in 2004, leaving behind two daughters, then aged 11 and seven respectively.

"I was in New Zealand when I lost my wife. I was devastated. After her death I faced difficulties in raising my daughters. It was an experience that just fell on me all of a sudden because of the circumstances," Joshi told IANS over phone.

"However, the support of my family always helped me to cope with the tragedy. My sister supported me the most. She made sure that we find it easier to move on and cope with the loss," he added.

For 53-year-old K.K. Bhalla there has been no social life ever since he divorced his wife.

"I get up at 4.30 in the morning...prepare breakfast and lunch for both me and my son, who is 12 years old and goes to school. When I come back, I prepare dinner too," Bhalla told IANS.

"As far as major difficulties are concerned, I feel I havn't faced any, but yes my social life is nil. I don't go out for late night dinners because of my son who needs my attention."

Bhalla got married in 1991 and his divorce came through two years ago. While his son lives with him, his 14-year-old daughter stays with his wife. Bhalla will share his experiences on the TV show "Zindagi Live-Single Fathers" to be aired on IBN7 Sunday.

The day-to-day problems notwithstanding, these single fathers say they don't feel the need to tie the knot again.

"The question of my second marriage did arise, but I put my foot down. When you get married as a bachelor, what is important for you is compatibility with your partner. But when you have a child and you decide to get married, you have to think about your child's comfort level with your new spouse. I didn't want to take a chance," said Bhalla.

Thirty-nine-year-old Manoj, who works in the healthcare sector and has two daughters, also shot down the option of second marriage.

"After I lost my wife two years ago to brain tumour, the thought of marrying again never crossed my mind. My family too supported my decision," said Manoj.

In their effort to play the role of both father and mother, single fathers say what keeps them going is the support of their children.

According to 41-year-old businessman Vijay Wadhwani, his 12-year-old daughter has been a pillar of support after he separated from his wife four years ago.

"She has become more understanding and mature. She has started doing a lot of her work on her own and supports me as much as she can," he said.

Bhalla said: "Children of broken homes always mature faster. My son understands everything, even certain things that boys his age don't. He tries to solve his problems on his own, so that he doesn't trouble me."

But don't children feel the need for a mother?

"Initially, my daughter did ask me and felt the absence of her mother. I told her that we are separated now and can't live together. So she would have to make a choice. She did and said she would like to stay with me," said Wadhwani.

Joshi said: "No one can take my wife's place in my children's lives...Though they miss her, they don't feel the need to have a new mother."