Daddy dearest

A dad is a son's first hero and a daughter's first love. Dads are just superheroes in disguise. This Father's Day, A Varsha Rao & Shobhana Sachidanand talk to a few fathers about their experiences of fatherhood

Happy Father's Day

Ramesh Aravind, actor

Ramesh Aravind with daughter Niharika, son Arjun, wife Archana
Ramesh Aravind with daughter Niharika, son Arjun, wife Archana

What does fatherhood mean to you?

Every time I see my kids, I feel they are the newer, fresher models of myself. I feel like Niharika and Arjun are Ramesh 2.0. They are extensions of myself albeit in an improved manner. I always say that the happiest moment in my life is when I heard my daughter's first cry, the moment I became a father was the biggest moment in my life. It's a great pleasure and an equally great responsibility. 

What life lessons did you learn from your father?

My father taught me everything by example. He was disciplined, but he never outrightly told me to be disciplined. He was so organised that I became organised just by watching him. His philosophy of 'show not tell' has made me who I am today. The second thing he taught me was to be respectful towards everyone. He never sought external validation, which has helped me a lot in my career. He also taught me to hold myself together in all kinds of situations. 

What lessons would you like to pass on to your kids?

I will be very happy if I pass on the same lessons that I have learnt from my father to my kids. Times change, but values don't. If you have integrity, if you are emotionally balanced, organised, systematic and disciplined, then that's all you need in life. 

 

 

 

Dr. Sudarshan Ballal, Chairman, Manipal Hospitals

Dr Sudarshan Ballal with his family
Dr Sudarshan Ballal with his family

What does fatherhood mean to you?

Being a parent is the most sublime experience in the world. You bring to this planet something that is a part of you, your own flesh and blood. The joy of seeing your child grow from an infant to an adult is a joy no amount of wealth can buy. Of course, it also means a lot of responsibility, hard work, and sometimes hardship, too. The feeling of your heart swelling with pride each time your kid achieves anything cannot be replaced by any other event. The joy of being a parent multiplies a million times when your child gives you a grandchild. 

What life lessons did you learn from your father?

Some of my fondest memories of my childhood are the ones I spent with my father. Whether it was having a family dinner, an early breakfast, watching a movie in a smoke-filled theatre or a family vacation with him driving us in the good old coveted Fiat car of those days, I cherish the time we had together. The most important lesson he ever taught me was that nothing is more important than spending time with your family. Routine daily activities like eating and playing together create an important bond between family members that stay with you forever. I also realised very early in life that a father should be a friend and that the generation gap should not come in the way of our relationship. He was also very particular that one has to study and work hard to be respected in society as the family name and support would not last forever.

What lessons would you like to pass on to your kids?

Spend as much time as possible with the family. Let your parents be your friends and guides, too. Respect your elders and always believe that your parents will always do what they think is in your best long-term interests even if it appears to be harsh at that point in time. There is no substitute for hard work. A happy family is the foundation of a happy society.

 

Priyank M Kharge, MLA

Priyank M Kharge
Priyank M Kharge

What does fatherhood mean to you?

We, fathers, are all absentee landlords. Most of the times, the roles of both the mother and father are being played by the mother itself. My mother took care of all of us since my father was constantly travelling. Similarly, my wife is playing both the father and mother to my kids. But it's very essential for fathers to spend time with children. At the end of the day, they look up to us and it's our responsibility to ensure they turn out to be good citizens. 

What life lessons did you learn from your father?

Practically everything. Whether it's how to be service-oriented, or be humble, he has taught me everything. My father has taught me that in the political scenario, nothing is permanent. So, it's always necessary to learn on your own. It's very easy to get pulled into things you should not be doing, but he kept me on the right track. And he has always taught me things by example.

What lessons would you like to pass on to your kids?

One thing that is really important which my father taught me is that education is the most important thing. Also, irrespective of how much you earn and learn, it's very important to be a good human being. My father and I strongly believe in the teachings of Buddha. And Buddha once said that while the rules of the society might change every now and then, morally, one should always do things that are right. Sure, morals and ethics might get eroded from time to time, but that doesn't mean you lose them entirely.

 

 

 

Rishab Shetty, director

Rishab Shetty
Rishabh Shetty

What does fatherhood mean to you?

It's too early for me to talk about this since I am only a two-month-old father. But I feel it's a big responsibility. Every human being goes through so many milestones in his life and fatherhood is also one of them. Fatherhood surpasses the connection a husband has with his wife. I can take liberties with my wife, but not with my son, my heart just won't listen. If he's away from me, I miss him like crazy and want to be with him all the time. 

What life lessons did you learn from your father?

One of the biggest lessons I have learnt is how to face the society. My father has a great personality, no matter how many people are there, they will listen to him, he has that kind of hold over people. I have even learnt how to be energetic from him, which has helped me in my career. Also, he's not an emotional man, quite practical. So, that has also helped me.

What lessons would you like to pass on to your kids?

Absolutely nothing. Right now, I am so busy enjoying this new phase with him that I can't even think of all those things. Moreover, I don't want to sit and define the lessons I want to teach my son. I feel time will make me teach him all that is necessary. Of course, I will educate him about basic ethics and morals that are necessary to be a good human being. All I want is that he should be a decent man and not create trouble for anyone in society.

 

Vikas Seth, chef

Vikas Seth with his son, Aditya
Vikas Seth with his son, Aditya

What does fatherhood mean to you?

Fatherhood, for me, stands for respect, learning from the experience of my father, his way of living, guidance and his blessings. I would like to pass on the same to my son.

What life lessons did you learn from your father?

As a child, I have seen tough times, but the biggest lesson I have learnt is that of staying grounded, especially when the chips are down. My father taught me how to stay positive. As he was a sportsman, he encouraged me to develop a strong sportsmanship spirit. During my junior college days, I remember how I had a kho-kho match and back then, there were no phones, so I couldn't call and inform my parents that I would get delayed. Since we kept winning and had entered the district-level, our matches went on till 8 pm. I knew my parents will panic and instead of waiting to celebrate our victory, I rushed back home as I knew my parents would have been worried. To my surprise, instead of shouting at me, my father congratulated me on my victory. This memory is etched in my mind as I, too, try to stay calm and resilient in my approach towards my son.

What are the lessons you would like to pass on to your child?

Since this generation is much more aware and sensible, their approach to life is way different from how we were at their age. Having said that, the parameters of bringing them up are the same, but children today can teach their parents a lesson or two. My only advice to my son is to have a positive attitude and make the world yours.

 

Prasad Bidapa with daughter, Aviva
Prasad Bidapa with daughter, Aviva

Prasad Bidapa, fashion stylist and choreographer

What does fatherhood mean to you?

Fatherhood is definitely one of life’s most rewarding experiences, being a parent of two millennials is often challenging but always fulfilling. I enjoy my role as a father, and I’m seen as a father figure by many young people.

What life lessons did you learn from your father?

My father's greatest gift to me was passing on his love of reading to me. He possessed many books and bought me whatever I wanted to read all through my growing up years. He helped me enrol in libraries and encouraged me in every way. I miss him even today, though he’s been gone 30 years. I regret I didn’t have more time with him.

What lessons would you like to pass on to your kids?

I would like them to be kind and affectionate people, making good friends and cherishing their families. To be generous with their love and generous with their time for life’s precious moments. To travel, learn, be happy and compassionate. Since my parents came from large families, I have over 50 first cousins. Every summer, our parents ensured large family reunions in Coorg. These summer months were perfect. Idyllic, lazy, full of laughter and good times, and tables laden with amazing Kodava cuisine. Picnics and trips to Mysuru to watch a film or go to Brindavan Gardens or to have a meal in a hotel, are fond memories. I am still very close to all my cousins and encourage my children to meet family and friends often and have great holidays together. Both Adam and Aviva have a wide circle of friends and our home is always open to them, a culture very fondly passed on.

 

Harish Bijoor, brand domain specialist

Harish Bijoor with sons, Nakul and Dhruv
Harish Bijoor with sons, Nakul and Dhruv 

What does fatherhood mean to you?

Fatherhood is all about responsibility. A responsibility that you carry right through life. A responsibility that comes with an immense degree of power in the early days. A power that keeps lessening with every passing year. Not responsibility. And fatherhood is all about humility for sure.

What life lessons did you learn from your father?

Hard work is something that I have learnt equally from my father and mother. Even tireless work. The ability to work hard with very high goals. Purely from my father: Simple living, high thinking.

What lessons would you like to pass on to your kids?

This is a new generation altogether. I will need to change the dictum of 'Simple living, high thinking' to a more realistic, 'High living, High thinking'! One lesson I would like to pass on to my children is the lesson of staying humble and being rooted in reality, come what may. The ability to respect everyone around you, rich or poor, is an ability in itself is something going out of fashion. As a child, I remember my growing up days in Delhi in the midst of politicians of every hue. My father believed in us being exposed to political reality. And Delhi sure was the capital of that reality. I remember evenings spent in the company of very senior politicians, being witness to indecipherable debates I did not understand or want to remember. I, therefore, have fond memories of having met M N Naghanoor, V V Giri, Nijalingappa, George Fernandes, and not to speak of, sitting on the jolly lap of someone I now recognise to be Atal Bihari Vajpayee! Childhood is all about innocence, and to an extent, that innocence is lost forever when you grow up. I wouldn't want my children to lose their innocence, an important quality needed to stay grounded.

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