Tusshar Kapoor chose to become a single parent and Laksshya came into his life in 2016. Six years down the line, he has penned his journey to fatherhood in a book called 'Bachelor Dad' which will be released in a few days time.
ETimes spoke to Tusshar at length about this. Here are the excerpts from the conversation that transpired:
You named your son 'Laksshya', which is so apt; children are every parent's first priority...
Lakshya means goal. Children should be the first priority for all parents. Toh mera bhi lakshya Laksshya hi hai. The credit of naming him goes to his bua, my sister Ekta.
How did the name 'Laksshya' come about?
Ekta shortlisted a few names which were based on certain alphabets. Unmein se mujhe Laksshya unique laga; common nahi hai. So, we decided to go with that.
How did you think of writing a book?
When Laksshya turned 4, a few of my friends and colleagues asked me that why shouldn't I put down my experiences of single parenting into a book. They said that my journey has been different. After that, I got an offer from Penguin. I felt 'okay, let me present a different Tusshar to the world, the Tusshar who is not just an actor but a parent and writer as well'. Lockdown gave me sufficient time and it all added up.
How did you decide on the name 'Bachelor Dad' for the book?
A writer-friend suggested this name. Penguin and I both liked the title as well.
How did your thoughts accumulate?
Initially, I wondered if I had so much to weave it into a book. Initially, I felt 7 chapters would be enough. But I was told that the book cannot be too short. Now, I was quite busy during the lockdown phase as I was into the post-production of a film as well. Then, I didn't want to ignore my workouts. So, I decided that I will reserve the post-9.30 pm time for writing.
Slowly, I began to feel that I had more matter than I had envisaged.
It went well. It took me 10 months to complete the writing part. I had decided to first pen it down and send it across, but I was told that I would have to use the Word File.
Reminds me of the way I wrote stories in my earlier days as a journalist. I wrote them with a pen in a Rough Book and later wrote them using a computer/laptop.
I have still not met Penguin personally. It was all about online meetings.
Who did you tell first that you want to become a Dad but differently?
I first spoke to myself. After I was convinced, I went through the medical stages involved. Once it was successful, I told my Mom first. She went ahead and told my Dad. After a couple of months, I told Ekta. I went by the doctor's instructions. We were supposed to be very confidential about it as it had to be done very sensitively- and we took steps in breaking it in the family.
Mom's (Shobha Kapoor) reaction?
She was a bit surprised. She was a bit shocked. She said that they are with me in the decision if I am ready to take the responsibility. She said- as grandparents Dad and she will help me but it's me who has to be clear about my journey ahead. So thankfully, there was no objection.
Dad's (Jeetendra) reaction?
I wondered if he would wonder that I was doing something wrong or on how it will all happen. But he was very cool about it. Jo unke reaction ki mazedaar baat hai, woh maine book mein divulge ki hai.
Didn't he break into a dance? I can't forget his dances on-screen...
Dad doesn't get over-excited when it comes to decisions regarding his family. He was an extrovert as an actor. I won't say he's changed radically but he is a different person. After all, life has become different in our movie world, it has become very uncertain. But no, he doesn't break into a dance (smiles). He has become very cautious and weighs his options. If I take him to a dance-reality show, he will dance his heart out without batting an eyelid- but that's a different story.
I remember you talking about your sister Ekta's reaction: 'You have guts'...
She didn't say it in the sense that I have done something shocking. After Laksshya was born and I was about to announce, she said that my decision would show a way to others. That's the context in which she said that I have guts. Many people want to become a single parent but they are scared. But no, I didn't do it with any intention of breaking any path or becoming a trail-blazer.
You have said that you wrote 'Bachelor Dad' also because you tried to deliver some messages in the media but they got lost in translation. What were those messages?
Just like you are asking me, people ask me how I have managed. But through interviews they don't get the right picture. So I decided why not to put it out from the beginning. Some people feel I am carrying out a herculean task. Some people feel that my parents have helped me. Some people want to know why I didn't adopt instead. I am not saying that too many things were lost in translation. But people have had certain questions which I thought I would answer through a book.
With Ekta's son Ravie coming into the family, Laksshya must be having superb company. It must be so much fun at home...
It's more the merrier. Ravie is also like my son. Laksshya loves him a lot. Ravie also looks up to him a lot. I am happy that they'll grow up together.
How does it feel to go to parties like Taimur's birthday?
I love to catch-up with my friends, inside and outside Bollywood, who are parents. I love to socialise on that front. Initially when I was not a parent, I hardly socialised. Waise aaj kal, Laksshya ke school jaata hoon toh bhi socialising ho jaati hai. My son has changed my life.
There must have been nights which kept you awake for Laksshya...
Not too many nights. He has been a very happy child who has slept well at nights.
I have loved this journey to fatherhood. I won't say there weren't many challenges, but it has been great fun. Like, it took me quite some time to decide on which school should I admit him in. I took to these challenges like a fish takes to water. I was old enough to handle it. I wanted it at that part of my life. It has completed me. There is still a journey ahead, though. I hope I am doing it well.
You are getting into real-estate business...
The real-estate business is my Dad's thing. I am helping him in that. Acting is my first passion and profession and it remains that way. I have turned producer too and will be producing movies. Real-estate is my father's baby and it's not that I am getting much into it right away; we have been doing it since the past few years and I don't know where it takes us. But it has been fun till now.