Has anybody noticed that fatherhood is suddenly in fashion? The advertising guys surely have. So, corollary to the Metrosexual Man is the Proud Papa syndrome. If I’m not much mistaken Nivea started it with the black-and-white shots of a shirtless hunk with an equally (but for different reasons) luscious baby. Since then there have been a slew of ads featuring fathers with their children…notably Raymonds. But this isn’t a post about advertisements. This is about fathers, new fathers…or maybe I should say the new-age fathers.
Men certainly are being better fathers than their earlier counterparts. I see a lot more men with babies, wheeling prams, clutching frantically to over-exuberant toddlers. I see them in shops, on the roads, in buses and cars. I see them taking their kids to school, the movies, shopping, the playground and home.
One gentleman I know rushes through his day at top speed, juggling an entrepreneurial venture with friends. In between he stops to answer his cellphone and listens with rapt attention to his three-year old announce to him that she is going to feed her best friend with grass tomorrow. “Grass?” he asks incredulously. “Arre, woh mitti mein ugta hain na, woh! (the stuff that grows in mud!)” He gravely discusses the pros and cons of this desicion and hangs up after they’ve reached an agreement.
There is the head of my company who has photographs of a grinning pre-schooler lining his table. The little imp is an exact replica of his father in miniature and only stops darting in and out of mischief to cling to daddy dearest’s leg and order him to give him a ride.
So much has been written about the mother-child relationships. In my not-so-fiery-feminist side of the mind, I visualize a man as the manifestation of strength, the hard, tough kind. A baby or a child on the other hand represents innocence, fragility. A father and his child are truly a picture of tenderness without weakness and strength without harshness.
A child after all is a creation of both sexes, a union of two complements. For the father to be taking pride and joy in the creation in which he has an equal role to play is right and fitting. I actually think men may probably make better parents than women now. At some level while most modern men still conflict with the idea of modern women….this friction isn’t going away anytime soon…..I guess the latent sensitivity and deep emotion that are coming up find a better outlet to their offspring than to their partners.
Such a far cry from fathers who didn’t know what class their kids studied in or didn’t know a diaper from a cloth nappy. Today’s daddy is mixture of Gandalf the Gray (funny and wise), Einstein (always knows the answers!) and The Mask (can turn into anything anytime). Papas who can heal a skinned knee just as quickly as a broken heart, smart dads who know when to intervene and when to let alone, daddies who pepper all their sermons and lessons alike in jokes. No, these are not just those few and random examples of ‘sensitive’ men. I think men really are taking fatherhood a lot more seriously than before. Which is a wonderful thing. I’m so very glad my children and their generation will have two loving parents even if they can’t stand each other. Hopefully we won’t compete over who loves the child more.