Here’s a story of an individual which surely caught our attention this week, when we got to know of someone who is a ‘stay at home dad’. Most would consider this title to be for mothers only so here’s another perspective of being a different dad. Meet Suman Kumar, who is also an author and a stand up comedian.
“I was born in Madras but I spent 20 years growing up in a small town called Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh. My father used to work for the Animal Husbandry department of A.P. My mother was a stay-at-home-mom 😉 I have two brothers, one elder and the other, younger. Both are jackasses and try their best to troll me all the time.
I did primary schooling in a convent called Little Flower before moving to a government-run school to pursue high school. My family wanted me to become an engineer but I hated the idea. Though I didn’t know what exactly I wanted, I knew I wanted to do something with the arts. So, to the utter delight of my parents, I studied B.com.
I have always wanted to be a full-time writer. When my wife, Dr. Chitra S got her doctorate in Kolkata back in 2011, she said that she’d take it up only if our daughter who was about two years old and I go with her to Kolkata. “You have been talking for way too long that you want to write a book. Why don’t you do it in Kolkata?” Chitra asked and it made sense so I took the plunge.
Comedy came much later after we moved back to Bangalore in 2015, but yes I had no idea how tough it was going to be. Like one of my friends said, ‘It initially feels like flying when you fall.’ I had idea that the security (or the lack of it thereof would affect me so much.) I realized that the worst addiction in life is the pay check.
My wife was my pillar of support. ‘Go do what you always wanted to do Suman. Money will happen.’ I’d be lying if I told you it was smooth between us. It was a test of the strength of our relationship. I am glad we saw through it, despite some really tough times.”
On his book Ranga Half Pants, Suman shares “ This story is a coming of age story. Ranganathan aka Ranga, 14, goes to school after Dasara holidays to discover that he is the only boy in his class still wearing half-pants. All the other boys have moved on to full trousers making Ranga the butt of cruel jokes and bullying. Things hit a real low when his arch-nemesis Joel becomes friends with Ranga’s best friend Kaivalya. Prasad, 24, is a man forced to live by the sword. Now he wants to give it all up for the love of his life, Tabassum. His rivals, however, have other plans for him. The worlds of Ranga and Prasad clash on a fateful, violent night. Will Ranga get his full pants? Will Prasad outwit his foes?
On being a dad that most others aren’t in terms of being a stay at home parent, Suman Kumar shares, “ So many fathers miss spending time with their kids especially during the infant and toddler stages. I consider myself lucky that I experience my child’s growth… her first steps, words, and tantrums; I had the best seat in the room to watch the magic unfold.
Even in my acts I talk about being a stay-at-home dad. I urge men to take time off—six months or a year—to be just dads.
My daughter is six now. She loves sports and possesses an uncanny grasp of music. Her favourite band right now is ‘One Direction’. What do I aspire for her? Well I don’t want to influence her but we support her interests. She wanted to learn badminton, so we signed her up with the known academy. She wanted to learn swimming and I taught her in our apartment pool. I would say Chitra and I are more of friends than parents.
Her friends would say stuff like ‘my dad is a manager. I have trained her for such situations!’ So she knows what to say. She always quips, ‘My dad is a writer. He promised to write a book for me one day.’
We used to get beaten up by parents when we were kids. Corporal punishment was considered normal back then. Today, parents are mature and open-minded. Thank god for that.
Being a stay-at-home dad is probably the toughest job you’ll ever do, especially if you are an Excel jockey like in an IT organization. But the Return on Investment (ROI) is immensely fulfilling and lasting. Even if you don’t do it full time, I think it makes sense to take a break for a few months and be a stay-at-home dad. It made me a better person. I understand the value of patience now. I respect the solid work moms out there put in, daily. It is important that men grounded in patriarchy in this country spend some time being stay-at-home dads so that they become better humans. “
“And if you want to become a stand up comedian? Just do it. Find an open-mic venue in your city, get up there and tell your stories. The only qualifications you need are honesty, honesty, and honesty.”
Wish there would be more dads who would take up the suggestion of being stay at home parents to understand what it is on the other side of the fence. We thank Suman for sharing this interesting story with us.