With FATHER’S DAY featuring this month, we nd out how couples deal with their other father, the father-in-law
Fathers are our real life heroes that we look up to as an inspiration in our lives. As we grow up, we meet a new father, the father-in-law. As the country celebrates Father’s Day, Citadel finds out how the father-in-law correlation with daughter-in-law an
Tucking us i nto bed every night, making us believe that we are brave and there was no monster hiding behind the cupboard, teaching us how to ght our battles, making us laugh like no one could, that is what fathers are all about; he is every boy’s hero and every girl’s king. He is irreplaceable and an indispensable being to every individual in the world. Similarly, another fatherly personality enters the lives of most of us at some point: the father-in-law. Maybe, he’s two decades or more late to make you laugh. Despite his late entry into your life, you develop a rapport with him. Perhaps, it isn’t exactly the same with the father who raised you, but a connection is there, one that can always emerge as something exceptionally special. And it does. Anushree Patankar, 30, a teacher who has been married for ve years, admits that the wavelength she shares with her father-in-law is akin to that she has with her father. “He pushed me to pursue my B.Ed Degree post my marriage, just the way he pushed his son to pursue his higher education. I would wonder how our natures would match with each other, but I have come to realise that it depends on understanding each other. As we have begun to understand each other, it has changed our relationship over the years. For instance, at the start I would be a little scared of him, but now I can talk freely with him,” says Anushree.
Anushree’s father-in-law, Moreshwar Patankar, 69, a retired bank employee, couldn’t agree more. In order to help her mingle with him and the family more, Moreshwar suggests that they take turns at doing household chores. “We have bonded so well over the years, that whenever she’s facing a problem, instead of conding in her husband alone, she chooses to tell the two of us together believing that it’s important that I know too. And she’s also always there to help me the moment I need her. For example, she’s always there to the rescue when it comes to my computer inefciency; whether its internet banking, sending an email or anything else, she’s right there next to me,” says Moreshwar admiringly. While Anushree avers to being slightly nervous about communicating with her father-in-law at the start after the nuptial, Purva Sinnarkar, 31, an architect, has a different tale to share. Having a love marriage, she had met her father-in-law, Vivek Sinnarkar, an architect too, a couple of times before tying the knot. And as luck would have it, they are both poles apart. “Baba clicks with new people he meets at the drop of a hat, whereas, I need my own sweet time to bond. This friendly nature of his is what drew us close instantly,” she asserts warmly. Purva and Vivek, the father-in-law - daughter-in-law duo, attribute their affable relation to the good times that they have invested in the family and also with each other over the span of seven years of Purva’s spousal. “After stepping into the family in the beginning, she would only obey. But with the passage of time, she is vocal about her thoughts and opinions and even objects if she deems necessary. She makes most of my decisions for me and I feel like I am not responsible for much, which is great. We both like to cook, so we often cook or help each other in the kitchen or if she feels like having something, she tells me openly, without hesitation, ‘Baba, I haven’t eaten a pizza made by you in ages,’ and then I make one for her willingly,” expounds Vivek. Elaborating further, Purva tells us about their common interests. “We have the same professions, so usually we nd ourselves talking a lot about it, sharing our experiences and so on. Apart from that, I have imbibed certain qualities from him. For instance, I was never a spiritual person, but he is. And watching him involved in it every day has inspired me to become a little spiritual too, which has also reinforced my inner self. That pious connection and liking that we have formed is one of a kind, something I don’t even share with my own father,” says Purva earnestly. Growing old is just like another childhood, wherein children take care of their parents. Vivek Ravindra Joshi, 75, a retired businessman, takes pride in how his daughter-in-law, Nayana, is protective of him and even scolds him for his own good, like a mother would do her child. “I am completely okay with my daughter-in-law scolding me,” Ravindra puts forth, making it clear that he would have it no other way. “I used to be a chain smoker, and she has also managed the task of making me quit. And that too in her own easy way without being pushy about it,” he implies with joy. Ravindra has no daughters of his own, so the entry of Nayana into the family has lled the void. He goes on to say that the two of them do a lot of things together, one of their favourites being singing and playing the classical piano (peti). Also, they have their share of jokes and exchange of zingers, which might lead one (if with too traditional a mindset) to think that ‘this is no way to talk or behave so openly with your father-in-law.’ But they both can’t help it. They are so comfortable and at ease around each other. In spite of the happy banter and togetherness, the differences are going
to be inevitable.”We know that we don’t have to agree with each other all the time,” says Nayana clearly and continues, “We have argued a lot, but we have never held grudges. We give our opinions and tell the other person what we think then and there. We go to bed with clear heads after there’s a spat, to never let it rise with us the next morning.” Turning the father-in-law- daughterin-law rapport into a congenial one might be a tad easier, given the woman moves into her new home. However, when it comes to the son-in-law, the situation can be faintly different. But that again counts on one individual to another. “Transparency is key,” says Nitin Paithankar, 52, a Deputy General Manager, in a matter-of-fact tone while speaking of his relation with his sonin-law, Soumitra Deo. “The faith and condence automatically comes into being when the two people are being themselves and not putting up any facade. And I always felt that way about Soumitra,” he adds. Soumitra (27), an Area Sales Executive, recounts with outright frankness, “When I was dating my then girlfriend (now wife), the only important thing to me was for my father-in-law to see me the way I am and accept me for who I am. I knew a bit about him through my wife and was aware of what he expected and was also ready to try to live up to his expectations. But the best part is that we both think in very similar ways and often have the same thoughts and approach to circumstances and things. Furthermore, the fact that he had a love marriage and I was having one too helped him understand my position well. I often call myself lucky to have the two of us thinking so much along the same lines as that helps us get along superbly.” Although, Soumitra being wedded for only one and a half years, Nitin says that understanding each other in depth takes time and they are still getting there. Soumitra sees eye to eye with his father-in-law and adds, “We try to keep it natural between us and don’t go over the top to make any additional efforts for each other. We both make it a point to stay in touch, but above all, we don’t delve into each other’s personal space, which we both believe is extremely important.” Speaking about the signicance of marital happiness, Ravindra Ghalsasi (65), a social worker, claims that as long as husband and wife are happy with each other, things involuntarily fall in place for the father-in-law and son-in-law / daughter-in-law too. “My daughter and son-in-law are leading a happy married life. If they are both happy with each other, I don’t see what’s standing in the way of me having a happy bond with my son-in-law,” says Ravindra cheerfully. It is true t hat t he father who did your favourite things with you growing up and the father who takes a little time t o understand t hose favourite things, both have a different and signicant spot in your heart. But sometimes, they do ll each other’s shoes. Mandar Desai, 36, who lost his father before he got married, believes that his father-in-law, Ravindra Ghalsasi, did the same. “We talk about everything,” says Mandar with evident love and affection owing through his voice and goes on, “It has been 12 years since I got married and if there’s anything I ever need, I know I can always go to him for advice, even when I have other uncles or male relatives from my own family. And for the most part, acceptance has gone a long way for us. Whether it’s our mistakes, aws or inefciencies, accepting them with our positive traits eases most t hings out between us, giving me the best relation with him I could ever ask for.” Ergo, they say marriages are made in heaven, perhaps that’s when they pick out the other father too.