Mumbai: Since the time I decided to become a single parent, especially the last one year of actually being one, have felt the fastest ever. They say it feels like time goes by faster as you grow older. I can confidently say that in the past two years I finally grew up. After years of struggling, like everyone else does, on that rocky road called adulthood, I didn’t know that growing up would be so beautiful. I guess, that’s what the last two years have been.
Ironically, this life changing decision (about having a child) also has its roots on a rocky road to Chennai, on the way back from the hills of Tirupati. Senior film-maker Prakash Jha, who happened to miss his flight from Tirupati, decided to accompany me on my way back to Mumbai via Chennai. This drive is usually a three hour mundane road trip. However, our conversations from the regular, harmless, ‘filmi gupshup’, took a more serious turn towards marriage and children. The next question, as expected for someone like me, was, ‘Why are you still single and what have you thought about marriage?’ And, of course, like always, my answer was the same. “Never really thought about it. Will take life as it comes. Though I love kids and want to have my own someday.” But then he came up with a suggestion, which was as against the norm and defiant, as his films. ‘Why don’t you think about single parenthood via surrogacy?’ What followed in the conversation was an answer to so many questions I must’ve had in mind but never thought about dwelling further. Within the next hour or so I was sure that single parenthood isn’t unusual, as he (Jha) himself has fathered a girl single-handedly. And holy moly, I was also made to speak, over the cell phone, with a lady who had adopted IVF and surrogacy to become a single mum in Mumbai.
No matter how overwhelming this new idea might have seemed, somewhere deep down, I had made up my mind. I wasn’t going to play the wait and watch game anymore. I was going to be a father, a single father. On the face of it, the next few weeks were about deciding, but, internally it was about how much time could I prolong before I actually meet single mom Rutu Parikh for guidance and then start the actual medical process. No matter how brave we are, I guess, we’re all human. And, then, finally, that day came when there was no looking back.
The next phase, before Laksshya came into my arms, was the easier part. Of course I was nervous, if not terrified about this bold step that I had taken. But with the most supportive parents and a lot of guidance from my doctors, the preparation for fatherhood couldn’t have felt simpler. And, like all parents, I did have approximately 36 weeks before I stepped into a new life. All I remember after that is that rainy night on June 1, 2016, when my son was born. Obviously, I couldn’t sleep. The uncertainty of what lies ahead had finally hit me and how. A journey was about to end and another about to begin.
One would have expected Father’s Day to be one of several questions and contemplations. But, honestly, so far, fatherhood has only provided me with answers. Days couldn’t have been more meaningful and focused in real time. Life has finally found its purpose; a reason to be happy about, a reason to work hard for and, in clichéd terms, someone your own to go back home to. I guess, that’s what true, unimaginable love is all about. It makes you feel so sorted. What did I do to deserve this? I think I did something right and at the right time. And what do I have to say? Just that, I love you my son, Happy Father’s Day.
Courtesy: Collin Rodrigues, The Hindustan Times