My baby thinks I'm funny: On being a hero dad, and seeking parental approval
In 'My Baby Thinks I'm Funny' comedian Sorabh Pant offers a humorous take on the insanity of fatherhood. This week: Being a role model!
Editor's note: Sorabh Pant is a newly minted father and he loves his son. Of course, that's not where the story ends. In this series titled 'My baby thinks I'm funny' he explores the insanity of being a father — be it nursery rhymes, competitive play schools, the impact on grand parents, feeding/breast feeding, a father being a hero to the son and more. In this column, he talks about being miscast as a father.
My son is a strange creature. Every time I leave the house, he starts crying. Big, giant tears — like it was the climax of Satyamev Jayate. He howls, he cries and it breaks my heart. Even though 14 seconds later, he is distracted because a pigeon farted near him. Parting is such sweet sorrow, until flatulent pigeons.
I’m not used to anyone liking me this much. Even my wife has her limits that oscillate between love and tolerance. My son is 15 months old and he admires me and he looks up to me. And, I hope he always does — even though, I’m well aware that I’m not L’Oreal. And, not worth it.
I presume around the time he’s 11 or even eight or maybe six — he’s going to be over his outright love for me. He would have discovered the rest of the world, and quickly realised that a plump, bald man doesn’t exactly compare to Dora the Explorer or Zayn Malik or Grand Theft Auto: For Young Adults or whatever cool new thing kids of day-after-tomorrow are into.
Being a hero, though. This is a hard job. I presume every parent has struggled with it. You look at something you’ve created and wonder whether you were good enough to help it create. Even great artistes like Da Vinci probably never had to feel that. He never thought, ‘Oh, I’ve made the Mona Lisa. Good stuff, myself. But, now I got to raise Mona Lisa — pay for her college. One day, she will graduate from a painting to a sculpture. And, hopefully become an artiste’s dream — a filter on Snapchat.’
My son makes me want to be a better person. I mean — I’m not planning to actually be a better person but, he makes me want to be. I look forward to disappointing him and myself.
My parents were my heroes too. The only problem is I didn’t know it till after I stopped living with them. And, reading this is how they will find out. Because, actually saying this to them would be awkward. And, declaring you love someone is trumped by avoiding awkwardness.
Both my parents came from small towns, worked really hard, were geniuses in their fields and then achieved more from the point where they started, than I ever will.
Fortunately, I had my elder sister — so, the pressure was off me to achieve anything real or similarly heroic. The first-born takes all the pressure and the ones born consequently, just roam about and as long as they don’t self-combust, their parents don’t care.
I haven’t self-combusted yet. Though, I have come on Arnab’s Newshour twice. And, nothing can make you spontaneously combust that the pride of Assam screaming logic in your ear.
My dad and mom are my heroes for different reasons. My mom is a financial whiz — Raghuram Rajan in a sari — because of whose patient guidance I am not living under a collapsed bridge in Boisar, eating old newspapers. And my father’s humor and generally laidback attitude to life is something I have happily inherited. My wife loves both those attitudes in my dad but, hates it in me. Because, ghar ki murgi baap barabar.
Parents are known to do heroic things for their kids. Some parents' greatest contribution in their lives could simply be the kid they created. Like Sachin’s or Latadi’s parents — I understand I’m going into dangerous territory for a comedian here — but, it’s true. If you’re a parent of a legend, you can just rest happy and bask in their glory. Like Gurmeet Ram Singh Rahim Insaan’s dad — I know this is dangerous territory for a comedian... or, even Narendra Modi’s parents — this is not such dangerous territory for a comedian.
To be a hero to your kid, you don’t have to necessarily rescue them from a burning building. It could be as simple as spending your entire life earning enough money to give your child an education. And, then see them do their Engineering. And, become a topper. And, then join TVF. Well, this is awkward. Or, not — if you’re the kind of parent who enjoys good satire.
Growing up I had a friend who was the son of our very wonderful building dhobi. That kid did his engineering, studied abroad, got a great job. Over and above that — he was a terrific all-rounder and could swing a rubber ball. I may be losing perspective here. But that kid’s parents are heroes. Really.
Becoming a father has helped me understand my parents and their contribution to my life more than ever before. That’s what having a kid does. And, who doesn’t understand their parents most? Teenagers! So, I guess what I’m suggesting is more teenage preg…
Let’s ignore that.
My parents would not approve.
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