Life & Style

How busy dads from Kerala have made the most of the lockdown to spend time in the company of their children

Actor Krishnakumar with his daughters

Actor Krishnakumar with his daughters   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

For Mollywood actor Tovino Thomas, the lockdown that came in the wake of the pandemic was a “sort of a blessing in disguise.” Recently, the star became a father again when the family welcomed a baby boy, Tahaan. “Till my daughter, Izza, started going to playschool last September, my family used to accompany me during film shoots as they love to travel. When the lockdown came into effect and all shooting was stopped, I was busy with the shoot of Minnal Murali and my family was at home. Now, I feel glad that I could be with my wife, Lidiya, when little Tahaan too joined us,” says Tovino from Irinjalakuda in Thrissur.

It was also a time when his brother and sister and their kids were already at the family house. “A while back, I had bought a foosball table and we also love to play jenga. We cooked together and adopted a new pet, a beagle, and the entire family was after him for a while,” says Tovino.

Actor Tovino Thomas

Actor Tovino Thomas   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

It is the same quality time with children that many dads went to town about when they were at home during the lockdown. Social media is flush with tales and photos of fathers playing, cooking, chatting and watching films with their children.

If Dulquer Salmaan shared photos on Instagram of his daughter Maryam Ameerah’s art work on his nails, Aju Varghese turned the walls of a bedroom into a canvas for his children. He posted a picture on his Instagram page that had him drawing on the wall while his two pairs of twins sat around him with colours and paper.

Actor-producer Aju Varghese turned the walls of a bedroom into a canvas for two pair of twins

Actor-producer Aju Varghese turned the walls of a bedroom into a canvas for two pair of twins   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Bengaluru-based actor and technocrat Prakash Bare cherishes the time he got to spend with his 17-year-old daughter Shruthi Bare before she leaves for the U.S. to study bio-engineering at John Hopkins University. “My work as an entrepreneur and actor does find me travelling a great deal. So, during the lockdown, it felt nice to be at my home with Shruthi. Her exams got cancelled and she was also at home. She got back to dancing, singing and cooking. Both of us are foodies and try all kinds of cuisines. She is a perfectionist who enjoys cooking and it was great fun to be her assistant as she baked, chopped, whipped and cooked. So we found that dishes that looked complicated can actually be made at home,” says Prakash.

Prakash Bare and Shruthi Bare had great fun cooking together during the lockdown

Prakash Bare and Shruthi Bare had great fun cooking together during the lockdown   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

On long walks with her with their cat and dog, he was pleasantly surprised to find how politically and socially aware she is. “She was well informed on Indian and international politics and current affairs and it was a pleasure to hear her talk about it and share our thoughts,” he says.

Meanwhile, actor Krishnakumar’s daughters brought him up to date on wireless technology and he admits that he was astonished to learn how much all four of his daughters, “even the youngest at 10”, had to share with him. “Many of us are so used to advising them, teaching them and telling them to do this and that. But during the lockdown, I had the pleasure of listening to them talk about so many things,” he says. While actor Ahaana, his eldest daughter, is the tech guru at home, Krishnakumar says the three younger ones are also far advanced in such matters than her parents. “Mobile technology should be used with supervision in the case of children. But let’s also give them a chance to share with us their tech wisdom and their attitude towards life and society,” he adds.

For some who became parents during the lockdown for the first time, like Praveen L R, an IT professional from Thiruvananthapuram, the work-from-home arrangement has helped him spend more time with the family. Praveen and his wife, Sheryl, were blessed with a baby girl, Sarah, some days after the lockdown came into effect. “It feels comforting to be around them as I'm able to lend her a helping hand any time,” he says.

The lockdown gave Manu Mohan, assistant professor in mechanical engineering at Marian College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram, the chance to stop being an “outsider” for his three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Shivani Sruthi, who used to be “more close to her mother”, Sruthi S, an assistant professor in Economics at MG College, Thiruvananthapuram. “When I was doing my PhD in Kozhikode, I used to come home on weekends or once in two weeks and Shivani was not all that close to me. But the lockdown changed the equation between us. We bonded over games, cooking and story-telling sessions at night when I would make her one of the characters!” says a happy Manu.

Manu Mohan with his daughter, Shivani Sruthi

Manu Mohan with his daughter, Shivani Sruthi   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

As for Krishna Chand, an IT professional based in Kayamkulam in Alappuzha district, he was able to spend the duration with his two-year-old son, Gyan Krishna. An employee in Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram, he used to see his son only on weekends. “I’ve been working from home for the last three months and I can’t tell you how excited I am to be with him every day, watching him grow. I am dividing my time between work and playing with him, teaching him new things. I don’t mind working late at night so that I can spend more time with him in the morning,” says Krishna Chand.

VN Shakthi Kumar, Kerala marketing head of a transnational diagnostics company, is happy that the lockdown has brought him closer to his daughter, Meenakshi MS, a post-graduate student studying in Puducherry.

VN Shakthi Kumar and his daughter, Meenakshi MS

VN Shakthi Kumar and his daughter, Meenakshi MS   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

“In the last two years, we haven’t spent much time together. I keep travelling most of the time and so we couldn’t interact much whenever she was at home. So when we were together, we had a lot of things to discuss, ranging from books and social issues to current affairs and anything under the sun. That felt good. Then there were small pleasures such as our Maggi noodles cooking sessions at night!” laughs Shakthi.

(With inputs from Athira M, Harikumar J S, Saraswathy Nagarajan)

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 3:47:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/how-busy-dads-from-kerala-have-made-the-most-of-the-lockdown-to-spend-time-in-the-company-of-their-children/article31860823.ece

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