He is not just the man of the house...

On the occasion of Fathers’ Day,which falls on June 21, it seems appropriate to go back a few years, when the role of fathers was simply restricted to being the ‘man of the house’.

Waking up at six in the morning, preparing breakfast for the children and her husband was the woman’s bounden duty. 

But times have changed. Today, fathers are much more than fathers. And how! For one they are fond of cooking; they help their wives with the household chores; they partner mothers as homemakers. They have even evolved from aloof entities feared by children to being their best friends and role models. 

To find out more about their changed roles and responsibilities, Metrolife spoke to a few Dads who are proud to be called, ‘My Daddy strongest’.

Ashwani Tandon, father of two, happily confesses, “I love to cook.” Speaking to Metrolife, he shares his experiences as his “daughter’s best friend and wife’s best husband.” 

“When a male member cooks, it shows love and affection that he has for the family. I cook a lot of things. Soups, rice, biryani, pulao, well roasted and creamy butter chicken (my daughter’s favourite), a number of desserts and a variety of alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks,” he says. 

“Whether it’s good or bad, I don’t know. Once in a while I do burn up things but I’m lucky that everyone forgives me,” he laughs. 

While in a majority of families today, both the parents are working professionals, Tandon says, “I think both the father and the mother should share equal duty and equal responsibility. If my wife shares the financial burden, I think it’s my duty to share her responsibilities as well.”

The little things that Tandon does to make his wife and children feel comfortable, without their noticing it are a delight to know. “Sometimes, while I’m cleaning and polishing my shoes, before leaving for work, and if I see Neeta’s (wife) and Karuna’s (daughter) sandals lying nearby, I clean them too. Also, while I’m ironing my shirt for the next day and if I see a rumpled blouse or an un-ironed top, I quickly iron them too...”

It is these small gestures that make us feel connected to our fathers at a deeper and more emotional level, than just the formal father-child relationships, that are still very common a majority of Indian families.

Refering to the bonding that he shares with his son and daughter, Tandon feels that due to the generation gap, “the thinking and the wavelength of the children and parents are different”, but a balance must be maintained. 

“I think a mix of our expectations and their thinking would be a perfect combination for a happy family. As a father, I put no restrictions on them, but I make sure that they are safe and secure in all the prospects of their lives,” Tandon says.

Sharing similar sentiments is Deepak Aggarwal*, father of a 26-year-old, who feels that his daughter should be careful in everything that she does.

A spirited, jovial gentleman, Aggarwal loves to potter around the house doing things and looking for an opportunity to stir the pot in the kitchen, which is totally his “wife’s domain”.

“There are so many times that I wish to cook omelette, khichdi or any other vegetable, but my wife is so energetic that she doesn’t let me cook,” he rues. 

The irony of ‘not getting an opportunity to cook’ is delicious, but as a doting Dad, he makes sure that he’s a good guardian, friend, philosopher of his daughter, and overall, a good provider of his family.

“Even though I have a lot of clashes with my daughter Prachi* on principles and perspectives, but I give her full freedom to do what she wants. I think I am very good friends with her. In fact, there are times when I seek opportunities to have a nice conversation with her but she tries to avoid me,” he laughingly shares with Metrolife. 

And then there is Anil Arora, who is of the firm view, “The more time a man spends with his wife and children, the more is the growth and happiness of the family.”

“Times have changed and there are a lot of ego clashes that take place between the members of the family. Being a businessman, I get very little time to be with my children and my wife. Nonetheless, the time that I’m free, I ensure that I focus all my attention to my children’s well-being and their interests,” he tells Metrolife.

Husband of a homemaker, Arora makes it point that every Sunday he is the only one to be in the kitchen. This is to ensure that his wife gets a well-deserved breather from household chores and time for herself.

“I think it offers her mental relaxation. When she supports me so much in everything, and through all the difficult times, the very fact that I’m capable of helping her, gives me a lot of pride and pleasure,” he ends on a heart-warming note. Indeed, a father is not just a provider, but is the ‘hero of the house’!

(* Names have been changed on request)

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