On Father’s Day, Daughters Reminisce How Single Dads Raised Them 

From beautifully wedding their daughters off to taking care of their grandchildren, these dads have done it all.

5 min read
Harsha Narrainen and Pranjalee Lahiri with their dads. (Photo Courtesy: Harsha Narrainen/Pranjalee Lahiri)

Not that these ladies need a special day to express their love for their dads, but when Father’s Day doubles up as “Mother’s Day”, it ought to be special.

It has been an avalanche of emotions (for them) – the loss of one parent and seeing the other parent shoulder every single responsibility beautifully. From beautifully wedding them off to taking care of their grandchildren, these dads have done it all.

This Father’s Day, these ladies remember the challenges and the heartbreaks their dads went through, but in the end, they managed to fill the void – the void their mothers left behind.

Coping With the Loss

Sheryl Sandberg in her speech about single mothers on Mother’s Day spoke about the tough reality of being a single parent and that she did not understand how she would control her tears looking at her son’s or daughter’s crying face!

Similarly, Shraddha Pethe, who lost her mother at an early age from cancer, talks about how her dad kept it to himself initially and never spoke about her mother because he thought she was too young to understand.

But it wasn’t too long before this little girl became her dad’s confidante.

On the contrary, Harsha Narrainen, who lost her mother when she was 27, speaks about her dad openly talking about the loss and not having to hide it.

Dad and I remember mom together. We talk about how she would have reacted to a certain situation.
Harsha Narrainen
Harsha Narrainen with her dad. (Photo Courtesy: Harsha Narrainen)
Harsha Narrainen with her dad. (Photo Courtesy: Harsha Narrainen)

Shattered by the loss, Simran Wadhwa remembers her dad breaking down only when her mother’s body was taken off the ventilator and waiting to be cremated.

“I remember dad didn’t react, but I had to tell the doctor to let my mother's body go! The moment I confirmed this to the doctor, I saw him break down”, she remembers.

Challenges of Being a Single Parent

In her speech, Sandberg also talks about how it is a lonely feeling when your partner is no longer there and you feel bogged down by mountainous responsibilities.

Likewise, Pethe recollects how her dad doted on her and her brother but found it difficult to manage work and spend time with them. So she had to stay with her relatives while her brother opted to stay with him and met him only on Sundays.

Pranjalee Lahiri, who lost her mother when she was seven-months pregnant, remembers poignantly that the biggest challenge for her dad was to do everything that a mother is expected to do for her pregnant daughter – right from the dohaal jevan (baby shower) to the post-delivery rituals.

“But he managed to fill this void seamlessly”, she says.

Pranjalee Lahiri with her dad. (Photo Courtesy: Pranjalee Lahiri)
Pranjalee Lahiri with her dad. (Photo Courtesy: Pranjalee Lahiri)

Narrainen talks about how her dad was always the good cop, but had to assume the role of her mother and play a ‘bad cop’ at times. “This was the toughest part for him as he had to punish and correct us when we were wrong which he had never done before”, she elaborates.

“In return, I had to confide in him and tell him how I was unhappy in life which wasn't something I had ever done before”, she explains.

Doubled Up as Their Mom

Filling the void, these dads had to double up as moms too.

“He helped me out of a bad situation when I had given up on life”, says Narrainen. “I can’t believe how he had the strength to go through everything and come out as strong as ever as if nothing had happened”, smiles Narrainen.

When my younger son was born, Baba made it a point to visit daily, get veggies at times, give time to my older son, take me to the doctors and be with me when no one was around. We want our moms to be with us in such times, but my dad did it effortlessly and without me asking him to.
Shraddha Pethe
Shraddha Pethe with her dad. (Photo Courtesy: Shraddha Pethe)
Shraddha Pethe with her dad. (Photo Courtesy: Shraddha Pethe)

“To ensure that I didn't have to sacrifice my career and that the baby got all the care it needed, Pappa moved in with us. We hired a 9-6 nanny for the baby, while pappa dutifully ensured that the baby was looked after”, prides Lahiri.

Made 'em Strong And Independent

Narrainen recollects how her dad helped her rebuild her life when she had hit rock bottom!

“His confidence in me egged me to move on and find life again”, says Narrainen, who later married a non-Indian man with her dad supporting her all along.

For Wadhwa, it is the values her dad instilled in her that keeps her going. “He always taught me never to look down upon anyone and work towards improvements all the time”, says Wadhwa. This is what has made her a successful woman today.

Simran Wadhwa with her dad. (Photo Courtesy: Simran Wadhwa)
Simran Wadhwa with her dad. (Photo Courtesy: Simran Wadhwa)

Similarly, Pethe thanks her dad for his wholehearted support in everything and for giving her the freedom to make decisions – both good and bad!

Lahiri, who suffered from Postpartum Depression (PPD) after her delivery, remembers how her dad showed complete faith in her, even putting his time behind her convictions (when needed).

He has been my bouncing board of ideas, my vent for letting out life’s frustrations, my friend and my guide
Pranjalee Lahiri

To these dads, who have stood by their children through thick and thin and have been the wind beneath their children’s wings, a very Happy Father’s Day!

(A freelance food and fashion blogger, Pranjali Bhonde Pethe aims at getting people and their favourite food and style closer through her blog moipalate. Email her at pranjali.bhonde@gmail.com and follow her on @moipalate.)

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