Father's Day special in Kolkata: Five cool daddies speak about fatherhood
Prosenjit Chatterjee, Tolly superstar
‘Fatherhood is a big responsibility in every man’s life. I won’t say fatherhood has turned me into a responsible man since from my very childhood, being the eldest son in my household, I was always responsible. I also had my little sister, Pallabi. So, her responsibility was mine since childhood. When Mishuk (Trishanjit) came into my life, I was really happy and excited with him, and I started an absolutely new journey called fatherhood. I manage both stardom and fatherhood simultaneously, as Mishuk stays out of Kolkata in a boarding school for studies. Whenever he comes home for his vacation, I try not to go out of Kolkata for any shoot. I prefer to stay back at home, and spend some good moments with him.
Mishuk is growing up now. He shares so many things with me, like a friend. He also takes advice from me on any situation or crisis that he faces as an adolescent. We discuss many things — especially sports, which is our favourite topic. He stays in boarding school, so he has his own disciplined life there, in school. I am definitely his friend, but I also make him understand that being disciplined and dedicated is very important in life. My son is a huge soccer fan. His idol is Lionel Messi. He loves to play soccer and wants to become a soccer player in the future, and I also want that. Whatever he wants to achieve in life, I pray that he succeeds. I want him to follow his dreams and get success in life.
Sharad Dewan, Chef
Fatherhood makes you more disciplined, and though it’s a natural phenomenon, it suddenly gives you a very unique position in the world — it is a unique and irreplaceable relationship, and also increases the bond with your wife. There’s definitely a sea of change between how our fathers were and how we as fathers are today, and a large part of the reason is the fact that the child’s expectations from parents have transformed to a great extent. Previously, most children used to carry on the legacy of their parent’s work, by following the same profession. But nowadays, our children pursue their own dreams, and choose their career path freely with guidance and support for the same from their parents. Also, these digital kids are so much smarter; so, the mental age gap is no longer that wide. My daughter Karmishtha, who is only 19 years of age, is very much a part of household decisions, which was unthinkable during my childhood. I am very similar and different from my father at the same time. Like him, I am a very compassionate, non-aggressive and a mediating person. But I am more involved in my daughter’s day-to-day activities and career planning, and we go out often on father-daughter dates. What Reena (Sharad’s wife) and I wish for our daughter is that she creates her own individual professional identity, and follows her own passion.
Birsa Dasgupta, Filmmaker
It was my elder daughter Meghla who helped me evolve as a father. She was around five years old, when I adopted her. I was around 24 to 25 years old, still growing up as a person; it was an interesting phase in my life. In fact, I should say Meghla made it easy for me to be a father. When Ida was born, it was all the more responsibility along with fun.
I don’t think I am a star, and it’s difficult in my profession to give time to my daughters, but I try to take out time for them. Both of them have made their debut in acting now, and Meghla has already assisted me in a film too, so we share a very different rapport with each other. Both my wife (actor Bidipta Chakraborty) and I encourage our kids to do whatever they want to do, but they should be passionate about their work, and believe in it. Ida is just nine years old, and is a digital kid — it’s too early for her to decide on anything, but we keep telling Meghla to follow her heart.
Abhishek Dutta, Fashion designer
Being a father has made me a way more responsible man, and I look forward to getting back home, to catch up with their daily activities. Despite a busy schedule, I try to allocate dedicated time for my two sons — Aaryansh (12) and Aakarsh (8) — especially on the weekends, and we simply sit and enjoy our time together. Whether by teaching new things playfully or studying together, one must nurture their talents as a parent, and I do this by playing cricket with them and discussing science. It’s very important to have a good educational background before pursuing one’s career, and I see to it that my children take studies seriously besides everything else. Also, since kids nowadays are very unsocial and left to themselves, spending all day with their smartphones, I ensure that we spend time together and learn social skills of engaging in conversations with people.
Pandit Bickram Ghosh, Tabla maestro, composer
I became a father pretty late, when I was 39 years old, and the second time around, it was terribly late, since I was 47. But I haven’t felt it in that way ever. The first time, I was very confused as a dad, since I didn’t know how to handle certain things — having a child leads to a huge shift of focus in life. Earlier, it used to be just me and my music, and fatherhood took a while to sink in. So, I feel my performance as a father was better the second time around. Now, I have learnt to prioritise time for kids. Last year, in December, I went on a trip with my elder son, Aadit, who is 14, to Thailand and we had so much fun. He now stays in a boarding school, but whenever he is here for holidays, we go out together to watch movies and do things together.
The younger one, Arav, is just five years old, hence it’s still more of a playful relationship. With the elder one, I am also his guru (he learns the tabla from his father). Usually, I try not to work beyond 8 pm. I think, in the case of fathers, the bond kind of grows stronger with age, and a time comes when a father becomes the child’s best friend. What I wish for my sons is that if they imbibe a great work culture, spirituality and a charming personality, then in all probability, that will stand them in good stead, and eventually lead them to a happy and successful life.