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It’s hard for these dads to talk about love … but they do

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My proud father beaming as he holds little Wilbur.

It’s Father’s Day! While the holiday isn’t formally celebrated in the rural area of southern India where I live, I still have to tell my dad how much I appreciate him, love him and how thankful I am for all he has done — although I’m a little apprehensive about how he will respond to my mushy affections.

It’s not uncommon for fathers to struggle with expressing their love for their children, but also with loving their children equally. Some rejoice at the birth of a son and grieve when a daughter is born.

I decided to go out and ask a trio of dads in my village to share their thoughts about fatherhood with me.

Mayilsami, 67, is a father of one daughter.

                                                                   Mayilsami, 67, is a father of one daughter.

Mayilsami

Some people in India may grieve when a daughter is born, but not Mayilsami. The 67-year-old retired factory worker says he tries to raise his daughter in the “jolliest” way possible.

“Whatever she asked, I would give her,” he says, “so maybe that was the way I expressed my affection.”

But he acknowledges that, like other fathers, he’s often so busy earning a living that “we lose touch with our children.”

His advice to younger fathers: “Work less and invest more in your family. Try to speak more to your children.”

Rajagopal, 76, is a father of one daughter.

                                                                  Rajagopal, 76, is a father of one daughter.

Rajagopal

Rajagopal, 76, raised his daughter as a single dad after his wife’s death at a young age.

“I had to make sure I let her know that she was loved,” he says. “Expressing love is usually easier for the mother.”

When it comes to boys versus girls, Rajagopal says that it’s part of the “culture” to favor sons.

“If I had a son I would give my house and land to him, not my daughter,” he says.

Regardless of the child’s gender, he says, discipline is key.

“If you do this when they are young,” he says, “then you won’t need to discipline them when they grow older and get into family feuds.”

Ganesan, 62, is a father of four daughters.

                                                              Ganesan, 62, is a father of four daughters.

Ganesan

The 62-year-old former mill worker has four daughters, all of whom are married.

“I did my best to help my daughters in their schoolwork and to get them married,” he says.

But he does wish he had had a son.

“You have to see it from the perspective that boys will be the ones to lift you up when you need help,” he says. “With the girl, you have to pay dowry to get her married and then she belongs to her husband and in-laws. This is embedded within our culture.”

It wasn’t easy being a dad, he says.

“I struggled a bit to share my feelings, and things got even worse after my daughters got married,” he admits. “I could not even talk to them, and they treated me terribly — maybe that is because of the lack of communication and affection I showed them as a father.”

Now, Ganesan spends a lot of time with his grandchildren. The most important thing a father can do, he says, is “show our children that we are capable of love, just like their mothers.”

Credits: Wilbur Sargunaraj for National Public Radio (www.npr.org)

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June 18 is Happy Father’s Day: Anyone Remember this ?

In the midst of a perfect life, we have indeed lost and forgotten the roles of a father. Can we spare a moment to revive the father’s love?

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Fathers Day
Child holding father's hand. Pixabay

– by Naina Mishra

June 18, 2017:

As I woke up in the morning, I started to play with my phone looking for perfect fathers day messages to greet my father on the occasion of Father’s day. Sadly, I could only find a handful of them. Startled at the dearth of celebration on the social media, I pondered upon the importance of a father in our society. Come mother’s day and all the nearby markets are full of gifts and flowers, whereas most of us might not be even cognizant about fathers day.

We have often heard that ours is the patriarchal society, where men hold utmost importance but in the shield of condemning the very nature of society, we fail to recognize the quintessence of a father.

A father is more than the Karta (doer) of the family, we expect him to earn a plethora of wealth to feed the greed of his children but do we know that he quivers to spend a penny for himself?

In the midst of a perfect life, we have indeed lost and forgotten the roles of a father. Can we spare a moment to revive the father’s love?

 

You may learn to walk on foot with the help of a mother but it is your father who teaches you to stand on your feet. He who has had sleepless nights because of the worries of your future is a father.

If the mother is a sweet melody then a father is an unforgettable saga. A father is a canvas of happiness and sadness, sometimes attended and sometimes unaccompanied.

He is stretched like a blue azure sky which holds within unspoken tales and takes the responsibility of fulfilling the dreams. If a mother can sell her ornaments in the times of paucity, he who will sell himself is a father.

When a daughter bids farewell to his family, it is the father who grieves of the thought of not seeing her little princess evermore. When a son excels, it is the father who taps on the shoulder and says “go ahead, son”.

He lifted you on his shoulders and brought you everything asked for, have we become nonchalant to his needs now when he needs us? Think for a moment!


Naina Mishra is a Staff Writer at Newsgram. Twitter: @Nainamishr94

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May 19 is Ruskin Bond’s 83rd Birthday: Author Ruskin Bond’s memories of his Dearest Father

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Ruskin Bond. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

– by Saket Suman

New Delhi, May 18, 2017: It is almost customary for Ruskin Bond to surprise his readers with a subtle reference to his childhood. The readers on the other hand — having devoured much of his works — prefer to assume that they know all about the life and times of this timeless writer. Every time you think you know enough about the writer, adored so dearly across the country, there is something new that he throws at you.

The elegance with which he does so is perhaps what keeps us intrigued about the life of the author, who has been writing for well over six decades now. What do we already know about Bond’s early days? That he did not have a very happy childhood, that his parents were separated and that he was often lonely.

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But one splendid year from Bond’s life escaped the public eye and this memoir, releasing on his 83rd birthday on May 19, takes readers back in time and lays bare the sheer joy that the then eight-year-old boy had with his father. In the foreword, he impresses upon the fact that sometimes memory improves with age and he now remembers things that he thought he had forgotten.

“Most of all I remember my father — ‘Daddy’, as I always called him.”

Bond seduces his young readers by repeatedly capturing a boy’s state of mind and reminds the elders that kids are particularly looking for “tenderness” from those they love. In this context, he says that not many fathers succeed in providing this tender care to their children because “they are usually too busy earning a living for the family”. Bond, fortunately, was lucky to have Aubrey Bond as his father, who gave him nearly all his spare time, shared his interests and held his hand in the dark.

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The ease with which he fits into the shoes of an eight-year-old boy and yet succeeds in maintaining the perennial charm associated with his vivid writing is commendable. The memoir’s narration is from the 83-year-old Bond’s perspective, but the imageries that he creates are all straight out of the eyes of the eight-year-old Rusty. He does not travel to and fro, rather it is a simple narration that starts in 1942 when he arrived in Delhi after leaving his school in Dehradun, and ends on a tragic note shortly after he joins a new school a year later.

In “Looking For The Rainbow”, readers are taken on an exciting ride down memory lane and elaborately told about the one year that Bond spent with his father in Delhi, having escaped his “jail-like boarding school in the hills”. This period is full of books, visits to the cinema, music, walks and conversations with his father — a dream life for a curious and wildly imaginative boy. But all of this turns tragic too soon.

He arrived in Delhi in the middle of World War II, the period when his parents too “had been at war with each other”. His father was serving in the Royal Air Force and was living in an Air Force hutment on Humayun Road in New Delhi. It was during that summer that Bond saw his first snake, went for walks up and down the ramparts of Red Fort, stored drinking water in an earthen jug or sohrai, and was quite happy to be on his own while his father was away at work.

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When the father-son duo were together, they went for movies and spent time arranging stamps of his father, who was an avid collector. But that was not all, his father always made him breakfast before leaving for office. A couple of toasts with a half-boiled egg, occasionally a sausage, lots of jam and lots of tea with condensed milk were what the “greedy little boy” preferred.

The little boy goes to a boarding school again and makes some good friends too. And then one day, his teacher, Mr. Young, was handed over the unenviable task of giving him the bad news.

“‘Your dear father,’ he stammered. ‘Your dear father — God needed him for other things.’ I knew what was coming and I burst into tears. I had no one else in the world — just that one dear father — and he had been snatched away. We had been taught that God was a loving, merciful being, and here he was doing the cruellest possible thing to a little boy,” Bond recalls.

An extraordinary offering by India’s most loved author, the book captures the little nuances — fantasies, expectations and often void — that children face but remain largely unknown to their guardians. The book has been beautifully illustrated by Mihir Joglekar and is published by Puffin india. (IANS)

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Not in Blood but in Bond: Mahesh Savani is a proud father of 472 daughters

Mahesh fosters 472 young women who have lost their fathers and helps them get married and supports them throughout their married life

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Indian brides sit for a group photo before a mass wedding hosted by a diamond trader in Surat, India. Image source: (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
  • Mahesh Savani was inspired to help fatherless daughters after his brother died
  • This year in 2016, 216 of his daughters will be married
  • Savani is now able to foster 472 young women who have lost their fathers

AHMEDABAD: A staggering number that leads many people to question, how? Mahesh Savani, a businessman, is the proud father of 472 daughters. Not in blood but in bond. These daughters are not biologically his; rather, he serves as a generous father figure to these girls.

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Mahesh Savani lost his brother years ago. This left Savani not only heartbroken, but his two nieces were left without a father; Savani stepped in. This moved him to think of other girls who are left without a father. He says, “It is challenging for a woman who has lost her husband to get her daughter married.” Hina Kathiriya, whose father passed away six years ago got married in 2015, she says, “Mahesh papa is just a message away when we need him,” said the TOI report.

Mahesh Savani. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Mahesh Savani. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Savani’s interests range from realty, to school, and diamonds; a family business. He comes from the Raparda village of Bhavnagar, where his father came 40 years earlier. Originally his father was a diamond polisher, eventually turning into a unit. This unit is still in the family name, and is very prosperous.

According to TOI, Savani is now able to foster 472 young women who have lost their fathers. He helps them get married and supports them throughout their married life. Since the family business is successful, Savani can afford to spend over Rs 4 lakh on each daughter’s wedding. The girls get everything they need in order to start a home; clothes, utensils, and electronics. They also receive silver and gold. This year alone, Savani will help 216 girls get married. He does not prejudice against different religions, or different castes.

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“Mahesh papa is more than a father to me. I wish every girl in the world gets a father like him,” said Naheda Banu. She lost her father when she was just a child, and she married Arif in 2014.

-prepared by Abigail Andrea is an intern at NewsGram. Twitter @abby_kono

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