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Lockdown Changed Equations This Father's Day

As the world celebrates Father's Day today to honour fatherhood and the special bond between a father and his child, The Draft brings you stories of how, this year, the lockdown made Father's Day special for some families

For Marathi television and theatre personality Mihir Rajda, his biggest grouse was that work kept him away from his six-year-old daughter Nihira. “I hated it,” recalls Mihir. “She would call me after every few days when I was away at work and I couldn’t be with her,” says Mihir. “During this lockdown, I managed to spend so much quality time with her that our bond has strengthened,” he says.

Today, when Mihir goes out to shop for groceries and gets late by even five minutes, Nihira calls to check on him. It started when Nihira’s school shut before the lockdown and for the first time, Mihir got a chance to spend a full week with his daughter.

HAIR BONDING: Marathi television and theatre personality Mihir Rajda
spending time with daughter Nihira during the lockdown
“It was then that I learned she loves mathematics, just like I do,” says Mihir, pleasantly surprised. Earlier, whenever he got time to spend with the daughter, they would do ‘fun’ things, now – throughout the lockdown - they were doing just about everything together. “I also realised my daughter is intelligent and understanding at the same time,” maintains Mihir.

“During the lockdown, on one occasion, while working late at night, Nihira came up to me and said, “Dad, chalo mujhe chinta ho rahi hai aapki,” recalls Mihir, moist-eyed at realising how sensitive and caring his daughter had become. This Father’s Day will be special for Mihir and Nihira too.

THE FAMILY THAT BAKES TOGETHER...: Mihir Rajda tasting the cake he baked with daughter Nihira
Lockdown turns boon-in-disguise for stroke survivor

Today, during Mission Begin Again, at the crack of dawn, Kalpesh and Jayesh rush to check on their father as soon as they wake up. As the elder son, Kalpesh runs his fingers through his frail-looking stroke survivor father’s hair to check on him, 62-year-old Ashok Manrupchand Jain opens his eyes with a smile. The times have changed. The lockdown has infused a rare responsibility into his sons.

On April 4th, at 7 am, Ashok woke up with a loss of control on his facial muscles. After being unable to take a bath by himself, the family found him unable to eat breakfast properly. “It was scary watching the side of his face slump and being unable to keep food in his mouth. We knew at once that something was wrong,” recalls elder son Kalpesh.

BACK HOME: Recuperating stroke survivor Ashok Manrupchand Jain (centre)
got timely treatment because of sons Kalpesh Jain (left) and Jayesh Jain
They rushed him to Bombay Hospital where he underwent treatment for two days before returning home. But that was not all. On May 6th, again at about 8 am, Ashok displayed similar symptoms, except that this time around, they seemed more severe. Ashok’s eyes had turned glassy and he couldn’t recognise anyone in the family. “Now, we rushed him to Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital at Girgaum where he remained for treatment, for 20 days at a stretch,” says an emotional Jayesh, recalling the ordeal.

Now, back home, in hindsight, the family maintains the lockdown came as a boon considering, at all times, both sons, Kalpesh and Jayesh would be away at work throughout the day and the situation could have simply spiralled out of control had their father fallen sick then.

“Which is why they say, ‘What happens, happens for the best’,” maintains a visibly weak yet positive Ashok, now well on his way to recovery. “Now, both my sons stay more at home, spend time with their children, wake up early and eat healthy. My stroke has scared them into behaving themselves,” he says with a twinkle in his eyes. “Why, for the first time in my life, they’ve even planned an informal family get-together on Father’s Day,” he adds.

Hiya Bonded, Spent Time With Father At Shop

Merchant Navin Jain found himself spending quality time for the entire two months of the lockdown with his 14-year-old daughter Hiya Jain who helped her father put things in order his shop. “Earlier, she would be embarrassed to come to the shop but, this lockdown, she spent so much time with me instead of her friends as has been the case,” recalls Navin.

CLOSER THAN BEFORE: Merchant Navin Jain with teenage daughter Hiya Jain at his shop
For the very first time, Hiya spent time with her father even bonded with him at work. “This time, I realised how busy he has always been with work. Always at the shop, I always complained about how he hardly had time to spend with me. But now, I realise how difficult it was for him,” says Hiya, planning a surprise treat for her dad, this Father’s Day.

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