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Father’s day special: Daddy knows best!

Celebs who have cornered the single father market, seem to be setting the bar high for parents across the board. *ing: Tusshar and Laksshya Kapoor

brunch Updated: Jun 16, 2018 22:21 IST
Priya Pathiyan
Priya Pathiyan
Hindustan Times
father's day,celeb parents,single parent
Little Laksshya is tough competition to daddy Tusshar when it comes to pouting (Note: Photographs of little Lakshya Kapoor was clicked a year ago when he was just a year old)(Prabhat Shetty )

Director-producer Karan Johar said he prepared himself for it mentally, physically, emotionally and logistically. Actor Tusshar Kapoor emphasises how ready he was for it. Dance expert and choreographer Sandip Soparrkar was one of the first famous Indian men to go for it. Being a single dad may not be for the faint-hearted, but these guys have paved the way for other men.

“I don’t feel a yearning to be married. This feels right. And it feels light!” —Tusshar Kapoor

KJo’s twins Roohi and Yash were born via a surrogate mother and are now happily ensconced in their all-white designer nursery created by Gauri Khan. He had publicly announced in March 2017, “I feel enormously blessed to be a parent to these pieces of my heart who were welcomed into this world with the help of the marvels of medical science.” He has talked about how this was an emotional yet well thought out decision.

Kapoor too, opted to have a child through surrogacy, and recently celebrated little Laksshya’s second birthday. He’s pulling out all the stops when it comes to looking after his baby and then some. “I always loved kids. It was always at the back of my mind that I wanted to have a child of my own some day. You need to want to be a parent to be a really good parent. It has to come from within. I’m truly thankful to have this angel in my life.” Kapoor admits that it was a bit scary at first, but he was confident of support from his parents; the guidance of Dr Firuza Parikh; and of select friends he had confided in.

More recently, commercial surrogacy has been banned in India, and if finalised, the bill will allow it only for needy couples with no exchange of money.

Soparrkar, who adopted his son Arjun over a decade ago, says, “A child realises that it’s not really about a particular person’s presence but what the person brings to you. I’ve done everything a father would do and a mother would do.”

“It can be tough, especially when you’re in my line of work which involves travel and odd timings,” he says. “I saw that his evenings were getting lonely as I’d have a class in the evening or have to attend a show or event, etc. Luckily, we became members of a club, and now he goes swimming, plays, makes a lot of friends. In a way, that has allowed him to explore his personality at a very young age and made him very independent.”

Father dear mother?

That’s a healthy approach feels Dr Seema Hingorrany, clinical psychologist and trauma expert from Mumbai. “I see many single fathers over-compensating because they feel guilty about their child not having their mother,” she says. “I help them strike a balance between Yin and Yang, their feminine and masculine energies. That’s very important because I believe we have both. They need to understand when they should be a mother and when a father.”

“The stereotypes don’t matter,” says Soparrkar. “The bond comes from the love you share, the time you spend together, and what you do for each other.”

Kapoor seems to have understood this early on. “Times are changing, mindsets are changing,” he says. “A good parent is a good parent, whatever the family structure may be. Fatherhood has provided me with more answers than questions. I think a good parent is one who is always watching what the child is doing, is aware of what’s going on with the child, is giving time to the child.”

And when the inevitable question about a mother comes, he’s already prepared. “When Laksshya goes to school, by the time he’s about three or four, that’s around when the questions will start,” he says. “I’ll always be honest with him. I will tell him he’s so special to me and that’s why I chose to be a single parent. Because I wanted a child so badly and that’s why he is probably even more special than many other children are to their parents. By that time, I think he will have the confidence in me to trust that. And there’s so much female energy at home I don’t think he will miss having a mum.”

Pop goes the parent:

Psychologists look at three important things when assessing a parent and child relationship, says Dr Rana. Engagement, which is one-on-one interaction like feeding or helping the child with homework. Accessibility, where the parent and child are in the same space but not directly engaging, like watching TV while the child plays in the same room. Responsibility that’s about taking charge of the child’s welfare.

“Usually, both parents are equally good” says Dr Neetu Rana, Clinical Psychologist practising at Vimhans, Delhi. “But engagement and accessibility could suffer when one person is assuming both mantles.”

To counter these, Dr Rana advocates involving other family members in bringing up the baby. She also says that when a single dad is bringing up a daughter, he must take extra care in how he emotionally relates to her and how he brings up important aspects of existence, such as identity, sexuality, and relational concerns.

Dr Hingorrany counsels dads to speak about being single and show confidence in it. “Our society’s conditioning is that children are brought up very well only with both parents,” she says. “But I’ve seen kids brought up by single dads who are as psychologically sound as anyone else.”

“The only thing that works for any child is affection and love,” says Soparrkar.

A good parent is a good parent, whatever the family structure may be (Prabhat Shetty)

Tusshar Kapoor: Bringing up baby

Tell us about when you and Laksshya first met…

The first time I held him was the most unusual experience. I had never thought about how it would be to hold my own child! It was the most beautiful feeling, but I was also a bit concerned. Now I had to be a father! I put him in his cot and he fell asleep. From the next morning onwards, there was never a moment when I felt uncomfortable, awkward or at a loss for what to do. And I’ll keep trying to become a better father every day.

How has having a baby changed you?

I talk to friends who are mums, I subscribe to Babycentre, I read up… I’m reading this book called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, because I’m very particular about his sleep timings. I read a lot, almost every night. In fact, I don’t party often now and when I do go, I do early nights so I can be up early for him.

But that change in lifestyle hasn’t made me feel I’m depriving myself of anything. The responsibility has flown into my lifestyle beautifully. Every milestone that comes up, every change, brings new challenges, but also brings great joy. I feel more focused, confident and clear. I’m not over thinking, so I make decisions quicker and better.

Do you see yourself in him?

He’s more chilled out. I’m a little shy and take time to warm up in new environments. He does his own thing and mixes with other kids very well. In fact, I’m learning so much from him… how to be happy!

What about marriage now?

I don’t feel a yearning to be married. I chose to be a single parent. It feels right. And it feels light.

From HT Brunch, June 17, 2018

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First Published: Jun 16, 2018 22:21 IST