Rajesh and Asha were in school when they fell in love. Their love story persevered through their college years and once they had graduated, the couple got married. Sounds almost like a fairytale, doesn’t it!
They were blessed with two kids, Nisarg and Shaili. And life could not have been perfect.
“My parents were two people who couldn’t do without the other. They always wished to involve each other, even in the tiniest of decisions they had to make individually. I still remember how my mother would seek my father’s opinion even for a dress she was buying for herself. That was the kind of love and respect they had for each other,” recalls Shaili fondly.
Their almost perfect lives soon changed when an unexpected news shook their world.
Diagnosed with liver cirrhosis, Asha’s health deteriorated with each passing day before she succumbed to the condition in 2007.
“I was in class 12 at that time and her loss was a big shock for us. But it was our father for whom the loss had been beyond devastation. For he had lost his first and only love. But he then realised that while she had left forever, there were two kids who still needed parental care and support and that wouldn’t be possible if he were to drown in his own grief,” she says.
In most homes, it is the mother who tends to the tiniest of needs of all and entertains her family’s temper tantrums. Suppressing his own grief, Rajesh shouldered the responsibility of helping his kids cope with the loss, and move on with life.
“He had made up his mind. From then, he would live for us and ensure that besides our needs and requirements, he’d do anything to make us happy. In fact, the biggest joy for him became the little things that he’d do for us, like preparing a glass of milk for me. He’d say: All I want is to see you both happy and prosper in our life and I’d do anything to ensure that,” she shares.
Though the family had slowly begun to rebuild their lives, the void left behind by Asha’s passing could never really be filled.
“It took us nearly two years to come to terms with the fact that she was really gone. But our father’s constant care and involvement in our lives, the way our mother used to do, is what I feel helped us all sail through. In fact, today I don’t miss my mother the way I used to nor am I grieving anymore and I say that not in a disrespectful way. I say that because that’s how well he stepped into her shoes and took over all the responsibilities that a mother normally shoulders,” Shaili adds.
Today, Shaili is a well known name in Ahmedabad, for she is a professional singer and also, runs a jewellery brand named Mortantra.
At the same time, her brother runs their family business of printing, has a happy marriage, and is a doting father of a baby girl.
“While his world once revolved around just the two of us, now there are three of us he fawns over. Through all of our dreams and aspirations, he remained our pillar of support and encouraged us till we attained those. Perhaps mom’s place can never be replaced, but our father did everything he could to never let us feel that absence. It didn’t have to be like that but he chose us over his own grief. Everything we are today, it is because of that,” she concludes.
This Father’s Day, we celebrate superdads like Rajesh Shah, whose love for his kids and shouldering of responsibility in raising them singlehandedly is heartwarmingly inspirational.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)