FATHER’S DAY: ARE DADS LESS IMPORTANT THAN MOMS?by Monojit Lahiri June 19 2023, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 5 mins, 7 secs
Why is Mother’s Day celebrated with such blockbuster drama, passion and emotion, forever resonating big with the collective imagination, way beyond the low-key and tepid Father’s Day event, questions Monojit Lahiri.
It’s simple, boss,” replies a cool, bindaas Mumbai-based co-ed who is a Bollywood freak. “Mere paas Maa hai, remember” wisecracks (or is it seedhi baat?) apart, why is Mother’s Day celebrated with such blockbuster drama, passion and emotion, forever resonating big with the collective imagination, way beyond the low-key and the tepid Father’s Day event? Isn’t the poor devil also an (active) joint partner of the production team? An entity whose input is as critical for the final output? A person who is a part n’ parcel of this joint production? Hasn’t this soul, in recent times, also raised his hand to ask for Paternity Leave to demonstrate the simple fact that apart from the labour of love, there is also the tacit desire to be involved in every aspect of fathering a child.
None of these, however, seem to cut much ice with most of whom I spoke to. London-based Neha Singh believes that the reason is a no-brainer. The 25-year-old Investment Banker reckons it has to do with “an emotional bonding. Mothers raise children as they are the homemakers. Along the way, values, beliefs, good and bad aspects of life are all imbibed from what they teach you. Fathers are a different scene. Sure there is love, but I guess emotion is preceded by respect and the looking-up-to factor. It is, mostly, more formal and no matter how close you may be, there is a distance. Mom is your best friend, confidante, everything! She is special and irreplaceable! No wonder Mother’s Day is so important to all, especially daughters!”
Kolkata-based law student Kushal Sen gets his own spin: “Good question! Never thought of it seriously but I guess it has to do with the umbilical cord and breast-feeding factor - both physical activities hugely influencing emotional connect, at least subliminally. Also, no male can overlook the nurturing and fostering factor, critical in raising kids when small. Fathers come in at a later stage and usually hit different touch points – sports, studies, career plans etc. The more delicate and nuanced side (emotional, sentimental, ideals, values) are almost always single-handedly taken care of by moms. To that extent, they invest much, mostly selflessly, without any expectations or returns. Their joy is seeing their kids well fed and bred and in a secure place in the future. They (rightly) deserve to be cherished and celebrated.”
Sydney-based IT executive Sid Desai finds this whole issue ridiculous. “I don’t know why this issue is ever discussed because, for me, my parents are equal partners with their responsibilities cut out. Mom is the homemaker. Dad is the provider. It is obvious that a mom, born with built-in mamta, etc, will be in a better position to impact their children’s mindscape in the formative years because the poor dad is working his butt off to give them a decent life. It’s not a level playing field, guys!”
Agrees Naina Maheshwari, an MA student from Delhi. “Sid is totally right! It is not a competition or a contest. The dad brigade (unfairly) don’t stand a chance because the laadla beta or laadli beti syndrome has a direct and powerful connect, mostly, with moms, famous for their unconditional, my-kid-can-do-no-wrong signature tune. Kids (even long after they’ve grown up and had kids of their own) are influenced by this at a subliminal level where fathers don’t really feature. Does that mean they don’t love their fathers? Of course not! I love my dad to death, but on their respective Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, it’s more challenging and fun to locate a gift for my mom. For dad, it’s very predictable because men don’t like surprises, are happy with more-of-the-same and frequently tell you what they want on that day!”
Marketers bring in their own ground realities. They agree that Father’s Day is actually “one of the smallest commercialised events,” way behind Mother’s Day. In fact, it was reported a week before Father’s Day in 2014 that Americans were expected to spend around $7.4 billion less on gifts and goodies for dad, compared to the same spend on Mother’s Day! Robert Passikof, president of retail consultancy Brand Keys, suggests that apart from a bigger emotional link, “there’s a more pragmatic reason: There’s more stuff to buy for mom! Beyond a gadget, clothes or gift card, there’s little else.”
Agrees Suman Dave, marketing consultant who dotes on his Delhi-based father. “My mom loves surprises, but dad doesn’t. I know exactly what he wants: music, movies, books, maybe gadgets and perfumes, clothes…so I try and get him to talk about stuff, within this list, that is missing and get that for him on Father’s Day. Oh, this time, it was a slightly high-end mobile. He wasn’t too happy, insisting he was both comfortable and satisfied with his present (stone-age) apparatus. Soon, however, he started loving it and now can’t get enough of the apps that come with it!” Mom, says Dave, likes ‘mushy’ stuff while dad, at this stage of his life, “likes stuff that he can fool around and spend time with, something he can’t anymore do with Mom.”
So there it is. While admittedly it’s not a contest and dads are important, come D-Day, whoever heard Mere Paas Paa Hai! This may, however, inspire your ol’ man to unleash the other zinger made famous by the most gorgeous, celebrated and revered senior dad in B-town: ‘Buddha Hoga Tera Baap’!