Even as India readies to pass a bill that forbids single parents from adopting, and director Karan Johar becomes father to twins through surrogacy, two single fathers tell us why it's the best decision they made
Aditya Tiwari, Pune, software engineer, 29: Father to Avnish, who was adopted in January 2016
'I told my wife, he is not your responsibility'
"I think Sushmita Sen inspired me when she adopted two daughters. In 2014, I was at an orphanage in Bhopal on Father's Day, distributing sweets. The staff told me that they had a good record; several kids had found homes in the last few months. But one of them was meeting repeated rejection. It was a four-month-old child with special needs. He suffered from Down's Syndrome. At the home they called him 'paagal'. He had holes in his heart, had a problem with his eyes, and couldn't walk. I decided he will be my son.
It was a long, hard battle to get him home. They first told me I wasn't allowed to adopt since I was single. Then I realised they wanted to make money and let a foreigner couple adopt him. But I would visit Bhopal every two weeks and keep the pressure on. I sought help from various NGOs, and finally on January 1, 2016, he came home.
I get up every day and help him get ready for school. I then make it to work, come back for lunch with him, return to work and then return at night to spend time with him. My life revolves around him.
I got married recently, but I told my wife, Arpita, my son is not your responsibility. He will never be a burden on her, but she has settled in with him and we haven't encountered a problem yet. But I am raising him as my son.
His health has improved substantially. His cardiac condition is good, he can walk, and he has just started talking.
He is a lovable child and, every day, we discover something about each other. I have realised that love and time spent together is a healer."
'I don't wonder what my day will be like anymore'
"My days have filled up since Laksshya arrived. I have no time to wonder what I will do with my day. It's all about Laksshya. In the early months, I was overprotective and would peep into the nursery every now and then…not let him be. Now, we have a planned routine in place. I wake up at 8 am, and spend my mornings with him before I hit the gym. I time the visit with his first nap of the day. I juggle my schedule until he takes his second nap post-lunch. I've also begun to return home early. It's only after he hits the bed early evening that I get out and do my own thing.
I begin shooting for Golmaal 4 starts in a few days in Hyderabad, and I am planning to take him along. It's tough to stay away from him. I know my parents are here to help me, but I think I'm capable of raising him alone if I had to.
Tusshar Kapoor, Actor, 40: Is father to Laksshya born in June 2016, of a surrogate mother through In Vitro Fertilisation
Life is happy, except for the occasional fear of the unknown. But I have accepted that maturity lets you handle the ups and the downs. And, if you wanted it [fathering a child] badly, like I did, you'll manage no matter what. Once that's done, it's easy to answer questions like, 'Can I handle this job?', 'Should I travel now that he is here?' Once the child arrives, every decision is taken after taking into account its needs. I have had to make sacrifices, I admit. I don't go out as much or live the life I used to, but that's a choice I made and am happy with it.
When Laksshya is old enough, I will tell him honestly about what happened [surrogacy], and that he is special. I think his upbringing will ensure he isn't insecure [with the reality]. Notions of the importance of the 'ideal' family are hollow. It's all about the love the child gets."
As told to Aastha Atray Banan
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