Kushe Aunshi, the Nepali Father’s Day, is celebrated amid much fanfare throughout the country. The day, however, seems to be lacking popularity, more so in comparison to Mother’s Day. Unlike during Mother’s Day, where we can see urbanites gift-hunting at Archies and other fancy gift shops, Father’s day seemingly does not grab so much materialistic attention.
Roaming around prominent malls in the Kathmandu Valley, whose shops would’ve been crowded with customers if it had been Mother’s Day, indicated that Father’s day doesn’t share equal popularity among the youngsters.
Is it because urbanites do not bond well enough with their fathers? Is it because fathers share an emotionally distant relationship with their children than the mothers? Or is it because urbanites simply don’t know what to gift their fathers on this auspicious occasion?
That said, it does not mean that the significance of Father’s Day has faded.
Following are few edited excerpts of some youngsters as well as some parents, who talked to My City’s Mushkaan Jain and Shuvechchha Ghimire, about their take on the special day dedicated to fathers.
Ultha Niraula is a CSIT student at Trinity International College, Dilli Bazaar.
My father and I share a healthy relationship. Unlike few of my friends, I can be open with my father when it comes to making house and personal life decisions. However, when my father has something important to say —in issues like behavioral ethics—to me, he usually relays it through my mom. For instance, when I stay out of home late at night, my mother tells me that dad is mad at me for my conduct.
I then make amends to not stay late at night. His efforts, be it direct or through my mother, have taught me to respect people of all economic and occupational backgrounds. There is nothing that I would change about my father, except that he would look better with a bit more hair on his head and a bit less fat on his belly. That way, I would have more options on t-shirts and hair gels, which is what I plan to get him for this Father’s Day.
Prakash Kandel is a gap year student of KMC College.
I live in Kathmandu, while my father is in Baglung. Perhaps that is the reason why our relationship has smoothed over the years. These days, I like to believe that we bond pretty well. My dad used to talk loudly and still does, which almost always spoiled situations for me.
He relentlessly scolded me for being inattentive to studies and spending more time with friends. He made extensive comparisons, where he left no opportunities to remind me how “fortunate I was that I grew up in a moderately well off family” than he was. I remember growing distant from my father following these kinds of periodic outbursts. For years, I only remembered his harsh behavior.
These days, I realize that my father was only protecting me from doing unethical activities through his strict ways. I have also realized that his care was his love for me. If I could visit my father anytime soon, I would probably get him chocolates and a hat as Father’s Day gift.
Yasmeen Gurung is an undergrad student in the UK.
I get cologne and chocolates for my father every year on the occasion of Father’s Day. However, I am undeniably less close to my father than my mother. My father doesn’t do any hugs nor makes conscious efforts to establish a deeper emotional connection with me.
Not that I don’t appreciate my father’s contributions in my life—I do—but I simply do not derive any emotional support from him. Perhaps it is the fact that my father is not that much of an expressive person in general.
If my father was to randomly come around and hug me, I most probably would be surprised and think “where have you kidnapped my father?” Truth be told, I am more close to my grandfather than my father.
How well do you bond with your daughter?
I have a 12-year-old daughter Arju. She is a smart and understanding kid, and extremely close to my heart. Although both the parents love their children equally, the father- daughter bond is said to be a special one, and it is definitely true in my case. I have a healthy bonding with Arju. When she was leaving for Italy, she put a large teddy in my bag and asked me to imagine it was her and to talk to it when I missed her.
How special is Father's Day for the both of you?
She always wants to be with me on Father's Day. She preponed her flight tickets from Italy just because it is Father's Day. She's in Kathmandu right now and trying her best to come to Mustang as soon as possible. I really love the small efforts she makes for me.
As a father, what do you think are your responsibilities toward your daughter?
I don't think that giving your children education the only responsibility of a parent. Times will come when your children reach a particular age and face certain changes when they require emotional support from their parents. We must be able to become friends with them at times of need and only then will they open up to us. We must be there for our kids financially as well as emotionally and provide them with the wisdom that the schools cannot teach.
What are your fatherhood difficulties and how do you overcome them?
It's difficult to understand a growing child as sometimes even they don't know what they're thinking. I am usually away for movie shoots and have to stay away from her at times. But she is understanding and easy to deal with. She is with her mother all the time. Although some problems are difficult to discuss with me, she's always frank with her mother.
Lead guitarist of 1974 AD
How has your fatherhood journey been so far?
I have a two-year-old son. He is growing fast and I love being there for him. With the demise of my wife, I have to be both the father and mother for my son. And I have loved being both.
I love feeding him, staying awake late at night to change his diapers, smiling along with him and generally watching him grow. In two years, he has learned to eat, speak and walk. Kids are quick at learning and imitating things and I am glad to have been a part of the transition. These days, he is in America. We chat through Viber. Although he has only learned to say ‘Papa’, I am content.
What do you do on a daily basis to fulfill your responsibilities toward your son?
Since he is just growing up, I make deliberate efforts to talk and play with him. I read to him. I play music in front of him and he imitates me by trying to play guitar. I have bought him an Ukelele, which he has learned to hold properly. I take him out once in a while to make sure we share a quality father-son bonding time.
What are your fatherhood difficulties and how do overcome them?
Sometimes, I get nervous about the fact that he is growing up. However, I am mostly surrounded by responsibilities and don’t have the opportunity to immerse into nervousness all the time. All I know is that I am going to have to fulfill a big responsibility as a father. I also know that the key to fulfilling my responsibilities is to not run away from them.
How well do you bond with your son?
I have a 19-year-old son. He is a product of modern society. Unlike myself, he was raised in a comparatively well-established family. He doesn’t have to face the type of struggles that we had to endure. In a situation where modernization has overwhelmed the whole world, guardians and parents do not really get enough attention or respect. All we can do is understand that such is the trend these days and your kids are a product of the environment you have reared them in.
How special is Father’s Day for you?
I celebrate all kinds of ‘days’, including the Father’s Day.
As a father, what do you think are your responsibilities towards your son?
I make sure my son doesn’t feel the necessity to fulfill my dreams. He is free to follow his heart. All I make sure, and sincerely hope I have, is that he is true to himself and is investing time on works that are socially accepted and productive.
What are your fatherhood difficulties and how do you overcome them?
I have learned that it is unrealistic for any parent to have materialistic expectations from their children. The idea that one’s children will look after them when they grow old is simply over-rated. We need to learn to be self-dependent and invest on our children with hopes that they would benefit from opportunities we never had for ourselves.