We are back with another interview of a father, ex-marketing professional and brand strategist, now mentor and consultant to start-ups and an entrepreneur himself Mr. Anaggh Desai. In this interview, he speaks about the mixed feelings of fear and pride he felt while raising his daughter who is now an adult and shares excellent rapport with him.
Q: Your describe yourself as ‘Entrepreneur by Attitude, Employee by choice’. Can you elaborate it for us please?
This tag line was for my corporate avatar where I conducted business as if it were my own but never invested and remained an employee by personal choice. In the past couple of years this has changed to “Entrepreneur by choice, Employee by attitude” to go with the new avatar.
Q: What is a typical day in the life of Anaggh Desai?
There has been a sea change over the past five years. Getting up and making my own tea, reading newspapers or jotting down thoughts whilst drinking the tea. On the days that I commute to town, I get ready to go to work by 8.15-8.30. I leave by 5-5.30 to reach home before traffic gets me. On the days that I work from home, I use my modified bullet journal to finish my work and follow up. I sometimes have lunch with my mother who stays with us or a little later, I take a power nap and step out to catch up on work related matters. Dinner is most of the time with the wife who reaches home from work by 8-8.30 and once in a while we are graced by our daughter’s presence. In between all this I have to follow instructions of the three women in my life, my father-in-law and now the maid. It is usually ‘Order this’, ‘pay the amazon/myntra guy this’, ‘get xyz repaired’ etc. etc. which I need to fulfill.
Q: Do you see a paradigm shift in parenting and how it is done today vis-a-vis the last generation?
I am what you can term as a sandwich generation. By the time we got through our parents to become adults, our daughter grew up to advise us. During our time we knew that nobody is ever ready to have a baby or to be a father. There were no classes to take, no diploma that told us that we were qualified. She’ll come when she’s ready and you will adapt. And love the shit out of her. Was I scared? Damn right. Am I scared? Damn right.
My wife had given up work whilst our daughter was growing and did most of the parenting work. But my daughter and I would have our time over the weekends. That was when I would fulfill some of her demands in contravention to her mother’s instructions.
We also had to understand that there can be just a few ground rules and rest is all fluid. My ground rules were:
- No TV or radio on huge volume for 30 minutes after I enter the house ( that was my time to de-stress).
- She never lies to me nor me to her.
- Irrespective of any amount of work I would accept her calls. My assistants were told that Mrs. Desai could be explained I was busy BUT never ever Ms. Desai.
- Till she was 18 (which got extended to 21) if I committed that I would be there for her, it could be taken to the bank.
We have broken rules with her, never got her carded and so on, but in all this never ever did I say I am your friend. She had, has and will have plenty of those but would never ever have a father.
Q: What was it that you did differently while raising your daughter in comparison with both, last gen and new parents today?
Last generation which means me and my parents, there was a gap. Whilst we were modern in thought, there were still the religious tones, hearsay of relatives and regimental approaches of parenting. The current generation seems to be the other extreme – friends, freedom and then unable to map expectations – that is not to say it may be wrong, however reading a book about helicopter mom and so on doesn’t really work. There are too many aspects to bringing up a child and flexibility is one that is of paramount importance. The flexibility should not be to an extent where it breaks. But I see a lot of parents are quite balanced in their approach. So one can always say hindsight is 20/20.
Q: Do you see an evident generation gap in your daughter’s way of thinking and yours?
Yes, in some ways it is extreme. For e.g. she is extremely conservative in some ways compared to me. In other ways not much, she thinks and agrees to my way, but that may be with all credit to her mother.
Q: Looking back, if there was one thing you would have done differently in parenting, what would it be?
Stopped giving family too much importance overall and give more importance to wife and daughter.
Q: How has fatherhood changed you as a person? What have you learnt about yourself after becoming a parent?
We wanted a girl and had arrived at a decision of having a single child too. Parenting has taught me patience, not to repeat the same mistakes that I hated. Act as a wall between high expectations and allow her to work through her problems herself but be available when needed. It is quite surprising that old friends used me as a sounding board and today their kids use me as a sounding board, so guess I have kept evolving as a person to parent.
Q: Answer in one word: What is the one thing you want your daughter to remember you as?
Q: Your daughter is lucky to have ‘Coffee with Anaggh’ everyday not having to wait for twitter announcement like your other 21k followers 🙂 So what is the indispensable advice you frequently offer to her over coffee?
Nothing. She is an adult and knows that I am always available so why waste that one odd day in the month when we have coffee together? 🙂
Q: Any parenting advice or tips/ tricks for fathers who juggle between multiple roles everyday over and above being parents.
- Don’t treat parenting as a job.
- Don’t treat parenting as a role.
- You may be able to give 30 minutes to your child, but ensure that those 30 min belong to her.
- Share anecdotes, stories instead of advice.
- Ask them, don’t tell.
We hope you liked this interview. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. You can also tweet to @anaggh directly to know his views on parenting and raising a teenager.