For them, fatherhood is a fact
For those who believe in the dictum, ''Motherhood is a fact, fatherhood is a hypothesis'', parenting is a woman's domain.
“Apart from the biological child-bearing part, I think parenting is an acquired art. The situation kind of moulds you. Every parent wants to do his or her best to see that their child is raised in the best possible way,” believes T C Sajit, who has raised his 12-year-old daughter since she was 18-months. Sajit lost his wife to a car accident and has been doing his best to see that his daughter doesn’t miss her mother.
With his parents living with him, Sajit has it a little easy but that doesn't mean he hasn't made any adjustments. The regional head of Tata Teleservices states he tries to spend as much time as possible with his daughter, Smriti.
“I don’t bring home work on Saturday or Sunday. All the Parent Teacher Meetings are a must and I usually go for official tour during the school days and that too, day trips,” he says. Every night after dinner the father and daughter spend an hour together where they catch up on their days’ activities. And during vacation, he takes her along on official trips.
So, hasn’t his family ever pressurised him to get remarried?
“My family had broached the topic many a times. But I don’t think either of us have felt the need for another person. We are content the way we are. But we are keeping the option open,” he said.
Meanwhile, for Father’s Day, Smriti took her father to a mall and asked him to buy anything he felt like within the budget of her pocket money - Rs 10,000. Sujit picked up a headphone for himself.
With divorce rates in the country steadily going north, there are many fathers, who are in the midst of custodial battle for their children. These fathers have limited access to see their child/children and in most cases only have visiting rights to see them.
“I filed the custody application in 2006 but till today I have not been able to see my own blood. If this continues I will see my son only when he attains 25 years of age,” Suresh, president of National Family Harmony Society, says. It’s a devastating experience for fathers, who cannot live with their own child. “Mother is a ‘want’ and Father is a ‘need’,” says Raju (name changed), who is divorced and is allowed to see his daughter only on Sundays. Yet, he feels extremely happy and lucky as he will be able to meet his daughter on Father's day.
“A father is better than 100 teachers to guide the children,” says Kumar Jahgirdar, President of CRISP India (Children's Rights Initiative For Shared Parenting). The NGO looks into the issues of “parental alienation” that affect children of divorced or separated couples.