As a rule, artist GR Iranna, takes his son and daughter to watch plays, listen to classical music recitals and visit art shows, even if he has to bribe them at times. Likewise, Ajay Pratap Sharma, senior finance officer in an MNC, makes sure he enriches his kids with jaunts to the Qutub Minar, National Museum and National Science Museum. Why? Because the dads of today have become the new hangout buddies. They are taking a serious interest in their little munchkins and adorable adolescents’ fun activities. And the kids are loving every bit of the attention. So, this Father’s Day, we take a look at some indulgent dads and their innovative ways of bonding with their babies...
SIGHT, CAMERA, ACTION!
Whether it’s playing on the Xbox or on the field, dads certainly have a new gameplan rolled up their sleeve for their kids. Take for instance Saurabh Khanijao, CEO of restaurants like Kylin, Sartoria and Poison Ivy. He plays a different sport every morning with his son, Ansh, 11. “If Monday is about swimming, Tuesday is for table tennis, Wednesday, lawn tennis and so on. This is the perfect way to ensure he wakes up on time,” he says. While Khanijao enjoys spending time outdoors his son, businessman Amit Sharma prefers playing indoors on the Xbox. “Every weekend, I take out time to play with my children. When they were young I used to beat them to the game. But today I find myself at the losing end,” quips Sharma. ‘POP’ GOES ROCK When Ranjiv Kumar of Harry’s Karaoke Lounge Bar moved to Delhi 20 years ago from Kolkata, he bought a small karaoke kit for his house. Armed with a mike, he would croon his favourite melodies. Watching him, his daughter Rishika, now 13, started joining him. Kumar was so overwhelmed by his daughter’s interest that he decided to open up a karaoke bar in the city. Now they make a good team even though she prefers Bruno Mars and he, the evergreen Neil Diamond. “Our song choices are from different centuries but it’s a great way to spend time together,” says Kumar.
REV IT UP
Education consultant Prashant Singh and his son Sameer, 14, are crazy about cars. They make it a point to watch car shows on TV together, visit auto exhibitions in the city and head to the nearest showrooms when a new car is launched, for a test drive. Across town, another dad does the same with his toddler, except, instead of cars, he takes him on bike rides. “I am passionate about bikes and was the first to own a Harley in the country. Like me, my one-and-a-halfyear old son Bhim, loves going for bike rides,” says Vikram Bhalla, entrepreneur, adding, “How many toddlers have done that?” Little Bhim also loves hanging out with his father’s biker buddies, and now instead of a handshake he fist bumps, biker style!
OUT AND ABOUT
Ajay Jaiman of Pedal Yatri goes trekking and cycling with his 11-yearold daughter, Damini. “We love cooking and camping in the wilderness together,” he says. Gurinder, a trekker, took his daughter Tara, 9, to the Pindari Glacier when she was just six. She walked 30 km out of the 90 km distance, for the rest he carried her on his back. Then there’s photographer Bandeep Singh, who took his two-year-old son, Bahu for a trek in a pram to Narkanda and Hatu Peak. Last year they went camping on the banks of river Baspa in Sangla and then to Corbett, where Bahu bathed with the safari elephants. “The idea is to get his feet into nature. Kids don’t get that in AC schools, buses and homes these days,” says Bandeep. For the same reason, he throws Bahu’s birthday parties at Zorba the Buddha, in Ghitorni, a scenic spot for Delhiites, and arranges water pools, trampolines and Zorb balls to maximise outdoor fun. Gardens and parks remain hot favourites for picnics, even today, especially with dads of young ones. “Since my daughter, Meher, nearly three, is too young to do many things in Delhi, I take her to Deer Park, which is both near our home and has lots of open space for her to move around in,” says David Housego of Shades of India.
So, next time you hear about a dad whose taking his kid snake spotting in Assam, don’t be surprised. After all, dads are perfect ‘chilling’ partners. Happy Father’s Day!
Cook up a storm: Most dads are donning the chef’s hat with their little ones. Jaiman bakes cakes and muffins with his daughter Damini. If you want to do the same, enroll in the parent-toddler programme at Kinder Plume, New Friends Colony.
Have kids, will travel: Some dads are very particular about their childrens’ interests. So, when Khanijao’s daughter, Sana, turned 14, he took her alone to Goa for a teeny tete-e-tete. But with the full-of-beans young Ansh it would only be a theme park like Sentosa in Singapore.
Picture this: IT professional Biswajit Ghosh sensed his son Arijit’s knack for photography when he beautifully shot tigers at Ranthambore at the age of 10! He went ahead and gave Arijit all his photo equipment including tele and zooms lens, DSLRs and Nikon cameras. Both father, son love shooting at Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary over the weekends
Spa'ced out: Ex-Hotelier Parthi Krishnan’s daughter Cheryl, 17, studies in a boarding. A chance visit to the spa opened up father-daughter bonding. Now, whenever she wants to discuss a private matter with dad, he takes her to the nearest spa for a foot scrub
Book your weekend: Management guru, Arindam Chaudhuri spends time with his son Che, while browsing through books. You could do that too at Katha near Adchini, or The Reading Caterpillar in Nizammudin
• For Taekwondo, skating, basket ball, aerobics etc, head to Siri Fort Sports Complex, August Kranti Marg, Shahpur Jat, from 6 am–9 pm
• Take kids who are 12 and above for paintball at World of Wonder, Great India Place, Noida, between 1–9.30 pm
Mehrauli Archaeological Park, popularly known as Jamali Kamali, adjacent to Qutub Minar complex. It has over 80 historical marvels
Head to the Aravali Biodiversity Park, located on the south central ridge. Great place to catch a glimpse of few uncommon birds like the black-breasted redstart and the red whiskered bulbul