Rohit M A is a serial entrepreneur and the Co-Founder and MD of Cloudnine Hospitals. He reflects on his experience as a young father, how he balances work and family, and his hopes and aspirations for his six-year-old son.
When Monica and I got married, we knew we wanted to be young parents, the kind of parents that could keep up with their child and hold a candle to his energy levels. But if you were to ask me when I knew I was ready to be a parent, I wouldn’t be able to put a finger on it. It wasn’t a precise moment that lit up in my head, but more of a consciousness that young parenthood was a priority. And so, two years into our marriage, our son Rishi was born.
Monica took a hiatus in her career when she became a mother. For the first two years of Rishi’s life, I was so immersed in my work, that my involvement in his upbringing was minimal. It was a time when my work needed me, but I forgot that my baby needed me too. I missed several of his major milestones, and in time, he missed my presence less and less. He grew exceptionally attached to Monica, and my guest appearances in his life mattered little to him. That was when it struck me that my priorities needed changing. I had to be more involved.
Growing up, my mother and father had distinct roles in our upbringing. My mother was the gentle nurturer, kind and patient, while my father was the disciplinarian. Because he was perpetually busy, I wasn’t particularly close to my father as a child. My mother, on the other hand, knew the intricacies of our daily routines; what we were doing, what we were eating, what our favourite pastimes were.
Rishi is six years old today, and I am as hands-on a parent as my wife. In fact, he is now closer to me than he is to Monica, a fact that she impishly denies. I relate my role as a parent to my mother’s role, rather than my father’s. I like to know what Rishi is up to everyday, who his friends are and what interests him at school. Monica and I take joint decisions about his hobbies, classes and lessons.
Sometimes, I think about the future. I contemplate the amazing galaxy of opportunities available for our children, and I’m left wondering what decisions my son will take as he grows. In earlier times, success was measured by material wealth and professional achievements. Of course, it is, today as well. But the world is moving towards a silent emancipation. I can’t predict what path my son will choose when he is on the anvil of adulthood, but by being involved now, I know that I can lead him part of the way. That said, I want Rishi to own his decisions, take credit for his successes and learn from his failures. I want him to be independent and embracing of new experiences.
As a parent, I have only one worry about the generation that we are raising. With the onset of the digital age, children today are becoming emotionally detached, preferring to communicate through screens and devices. They value everything less, whether it’s the love of their parents, grandparents or even gifts they receive. I think we need to instil a sense of gratitude in our children.
I’m glad that Monica and I chose to be young parents. Monica often regales me with stories of how strangers react on finding out that she is a mother of a six-year-old. She doesn’t look it, they tell her. It’s curious that there is a growing impression in metros today that parenthood needs to be postponed. As young parents, we have more energy to invest in our son. Since Rishi is our only child, Monica and I deliberate over every decision together, and I sometimes contemplate how it would have been if we’d had more. Perhaps our parenting style would have been different, perhaps it would have been the same. For now though, between Monica and me, I think we have it covered.