Hands- on or hands- off? Just as you need two hands to clap, you need both par­ents to give qual­ity time to their child

WKND - - Paternal Instinct -

But as long as we’re on the sub­ject of part­ners and maids/ nan­nies, Atinir­mal Pa­garani, 32, ad­mits that he is far too re­liant on them when it comes to his three- year- old son, Yogi. “I think I’m much, much less hands- on with Yogi than my fa­ther was with me when I was a child,” he says. “When I was a kid grow­ing up in the UAE, the only help my dad had was my mom. My grand­par­ents lived in In­dia and my fa­ther, at that time, could not af­ford maids or nan­nies. Also, more importantly, we were a to­tal of five chil­dren, all looked af­ter by my mother and fa­ther by them­selves. I, on the other hand, have a good num­ber of helpers, which makes memuch less of a hand­son dad than I would like to be,” he ad­mits.

“My dad is a role model in so many ways, I can’t quite de­scribe it in words. He is al­ways so pa­tient, un­der­stand­ing and calm — I don’t un­der­stand how he does it all the time! I don’t re­mem­ber him ever be­ing an­gry at me, or my mom or my sib­lings. For him, ev­ery sit­u­a­tion, good or bad, was han­dled very lov­ingly and calmly.” He adds that he clearly re­mem­bers his fa­ther try­ing to pa­tiently feed him… “Stand­ing in the bal­cony, show­ing me dif­fer­ent cars for my vis­ual en­ter­tain­ment and slyly putting food into my mouth; things I hated, but were good for my health. I can try to do that with my son, but I can’t be sly with him. I can try to dis­tract him with an ipad or a TV show, but he would just spit out his food and give me the ‘ look’, as though it was the worst sort of de­cep­tion.” He ad­mits that he is nowhere near as pa­tient as his fa­ther, but hopes that he will at­tain that zen- like calm some­day.

“My fa­ther, like many fathers from that gen­er­a­tion ( he is now 70 years old), wanted his kids to study busi­ness and come join the fam­ily shop. Thank­fully, I loved the fam­ily busi­ness. But this isn’t the case nowa­days,” says Atinir­mal. “I could ex­pect the same of my son, but I would like him to fol­low his pas­sion and I will re­spect that. I think my fa­ther, or his fa­ther be­fore him, would not have ac­cepted that sort of a thing eas­ily. Even things like get­ting mar­ried to some­one from within the com­mu­nity was a com­pul­sion in that gen­er­a­tion. Not any­more. Thank­fully, things like re­spect for par­ents and the com­mu­nity have re­mained the same. A child’s up­bring­ing re­ally mat­ters and the ways that my fa­ther taught me is the bench­mark for me and for my child.”

But the lessons didn’t stop there, adds Atinir­mal. “He taught me that a child will not learn any­thing overnight — ‘ Rome wasn’t built in a day’, he told me. ‘ Anger is only one let­ter away from Dan­ger’ is an­other one he taught me and I’ve learnt that be­ing an­gry to­wards a child is not just dan­ger­ous, but dis­as­trous, and ham­pers real growth. ‘ Never be stuck up or stub­born with a child; you will never win. Just learn to ac­cept it and let go. Don’t give your child ev­ery­thing he asks for; make them work for it — not slav­ery, but brav­ery. Be their role mod­els and teach them the value of life… The list just goes on and on.”

De­spite the maids and help, Atinir­mal agrees that it is very im­por­tant for dads to spend qual­ity time with their kids. “I travel a lot for work, and spend­ing time with my son is some­thing that doesn’t go with­out re­miss. Just as you need two hands to clap, you need both par­ents to give qual­ity time to their child,” he says.

“My fa­ther gave me ev­ery­thing I asked for and still does. Maybe be­cause I was pam­pered, be­ing the youngest of the kids and all,” he says, laugh­ing. “But he does make me work for it. And that’s how I will be with my son too.” NOT SO SLY DAD: Atinir­mal with his fa­ther Ghan­shyam J Pa­garani ( above left) and his three- year- old son, Yogi

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