Their fatherhood journey hasn’t always been about clear skies and smooth sailing, but every bit of the ups and downs and in-betweens, makes it an even more meaningful adventure. Meet our bunch of wise, funny, tough, gentle, playful, and hardworking men who are making a difference in their children’s lives with their fatherhood.
Daddy Proud: Jayant Batra
Jayant Batra takes immense pride in introducing himself as the father of Ansh, an energetic teenager with autism who’s an acclaimed artist who exhibits and sells his artworks through his Facebook page, Ansh’s Dream World. “He loves abstract art because colours, canvas, and strokes are his way of connecting with the world. He is an artist of repute in India and abroad, which alone gives me immense joy," says Gurugram-based Batra. Colours help Ansh channelise his abundant energy. Initiating him into the world of art was effortless as he had a knack for painting. “Just like every other parent, we introduced him to art, and it worked for Ansh. Challenges were mostly because of the way he handled colours,” says Batra. Parenting a special child is easier said than done. “Being happy with what life gives you and patience are my two most important learnings,” he emphasises. Batra agrees that it is easier for a mother but a father has to figure out as he moves along the journey. “There are no pre-defined roles that I play for Ansh, but I do what I can and to the best of my ability for him,” he states.
Daddy Wonderful: Chetan Shah
Mumbai-based businessman, writer and founder of Soul Dads, Chetan Shah, is a single parent who has had his own share of challenges and learnings. “Initially, everything about being a single father was a challenge. But, I realised that the answers were not out there but within me to overcome these challenges. I decided to take charge of the situation and soon overcame my shortcomings,” he recounts. He looks at challenges as an opportunity to learn and grow, identifies his shortcomings, and works on them. “Once I understood this, parenting became a breeze,” he adds.
It wasn’t an easy task initially; there were times when the father-daughter had emotional meltdowns in the absence of his ex-wife and Sahana’s mother. “I soon realised I needed to buckle up for my daughter’s sake as she imitated my emotional outbursts. So, I decided to take charge of my feelings and get a grip over myself. Since then, “hard” has become “joyful”,” explains Shah.
Shah’s relationship with his daughter is of “absolute involvement”. His fatherhood revolves around providing a loving atmosphere where two human beings grow together. “Parenting can be a lifelong learning experience if you listen to children, rather than teach them what didn’t work for you,” he emphasises.
To prepare her for puberty, he had a talk with her on the topic and introduced her to basic yoga to help her cope with bodily changes.
Daddy Strongest: Vinay Jani
Being a father and an epilepsy patient was a tough choice for New Delhi-based Vinay Jani, but then for him, “the difference between the impossible and the possible always lay in his determination.” He braved initial apprehensions about fatherhood and embraced the bundle of joy, Naimat, four years ago.
Epileptics have to deal with many myths and misconceptions which considerably alter the quality of their life. “I too came across many of such preconceived notions floating around. However, as a man suffering from a neurological disorder, parenthood didn’t entail as many problems as an epileptic woman has to face,” says Jani. He was on medication to prevent seizures, and the regime needed sound sleep, so he regrets not being around Naimat at night during the first few months. “My wife and I worked in shifts in raising Naimat. My medical condition made it impossible to stay awake at night, but then I took upon all her responsibilities during the day,” he says.
The pandemic called for his involvement more, as he was the one who attended online school with her daughter. His daughter understands his medical condition and is quite considerate of him. “She runs with me while I walk with her,” says Jani.
Daddy Cool: Kalyan Ranjan
As a father to a girl, senior communication professional Kalyan Ranjan always believed that he couldn’t teach his little girl everything. Instead, he taught her to believe in herself, never give up, and work hard, and that leads to pretty much everything else. “Being a father is a blessing, and I cherish that. And with it comes a big responsibility to be a provider and improvise yourself to fit the role every day,” says Gurugram-based Ranjan. He has been learning on the job too. Learning is true for all parents, but unlike mothers, fathers need to take an extra effort at parenting. “There are men who take equal interest in parenting, and hence it is more of shared responsibility like in my case. But yes, in the case of men, peer talk on parenting is not as prevalent as it is amongst women,” he adds. Ranjan’s daughter Shreya appeared for Class 12 exams this year and is ready to join college, and for him, his dream come true moment would be to see his daughter follows her dreams. Each father-daughter relationship is unique, and the duo is no different. “I am conscious of not being unrealistic about my child’s potential. And my child is aware of what to expect from me in the current scenario,” he adds.
Daddy Dutiful: Vivek Sinha
A former journalist, Vivek Sinha, took a leap of faith and bid his full-time job a goodbye to shift base to his home state Jharkhand and raise his twins, Siddhant and Vedant. His new assignment as a father to the boys was far more challenging than the ones he had
encountered while reporting for a leading news channel in the Capital. “I joined as an intern when my wife Shail, a state government employee, and I learned that we are expecting twins. Since then, I have been on my toes because fatherhood is a demanding proposition, and I
accepted the offer knowing all of the challenges well in advance. I was confirmed as a father when they were born in October 2019. I get annual promotions, work round-the-clock, and even though the compensation is in kind and not cash, unlike my previous ones, fatherhood is far more rewarding and satisfying than my previous jobs,” says Ranchi-based Sinha. As a hands-on dad, he has his task cut out, but he loves every moment because his two-and-a-half-year-olds give him an unbridled joy, which is non-negotiable and certainly priceless, something that no other organisation can match.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)