Bollywood's 'single parents club' reminds us of a not-so-shiny truth
An important lesson about love and legitimacy
Forget the red carpet at award ceremonies, it seemed like the biggest celebrity magnet this week was a birthday party for a pair of three-year-olds.
Karan Johar hosted a big-budget production to celebrate his twins, Yash and Roohi, exiting their terrible twos. And while Instagram was flooded with photos of celebrity mommy-and-me moments, we couldn’t help but notice a poignant post shared by Tusshar Kapoor.
Declaring “We broke barriers”, Kapoor introduced us to the ‘Single Parents Club’, comprising himself, sister Ekta Kapoor and Johar, all of whom became proud parents via surrogacy a few years ago.
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A post shared by Tusshar (@tusshark89) on
The viral photo could have given hope to millions of financially-secure, independent, single folk who were all hoping for plus-ones of the gurgling kind to start their own family.
But in an attempt to put an end to commercial surrogacy, India’s Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 now permits only legally married, heterosexual couples to use this method to start a family. It also allows a woman to act as a surrogate purely out of altruism.
Kapoor’s post highlights the fact that the current law ignores the rights of single persons, divorcees, live-in couples, widows and widowers and members of the LGBTQIA community.
It negates the fact that people might choose to remain single. Or that their sexual orientation might make it next to impossible to naturally procreate (fun fact: gay marriage is still illegal in India).
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I am a single parent in social status…but in actuality am definitely not….my mother so beautifully and emotionally co parents our babies with me…I could never have taken such a big decision without her solid support…the twins turn 3 today and our feeling of being blessed continues with renewed vigour with every passing year…I thank the universe for completing us with Roohi and Yash…..🙏❤️🙏
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Let’s be honest, like Karan Johar mentioned in his post crediting his mother for help with raising his kids, we’re from the land of the over-eager extended khandaan.
Even if you don’t have a Bollywood-sized bank account like the people in Kapoor’s photo, there’s an army of dadis and nanis waiting to bathe, clothe and (over)feed any child that has the privilege of being born in an Indian family.
Not to mention the chachis who offer to help with babysitting, and the kakas that help tutor their little nephews and nieces, in everything from math to making fun of their younger siblings.
This veritably gives a Mary Kom-style knockout to the argument that single parents would not be able to raise their biological child by themselves.
It gets even more confusing when you realise that India allows unmarried citizens to legally adopt children.
While being a parent is probably the toughest job on earth, there are two areas in which single parents have a unique advantage over their married counterparts — no fighting with your spouse or dealing with nagging in-laws.
You can safely reprimand your child for misbehaving without an over-dramatic “baccha hi toh hai,” from your beloved saasu maa, who is, in fact, responsible for creating the man-child you share your bed with.
Imagine the amount of energy you’d conserve if you could skip all the bickering about things that don’t matter at all – the damp towel on the bed, chachiji’s birthday party that you can’t miss, and the mommy issues that surface more often than you’d like (every time you try making rajma chawal).
Plus, you’ll always be the favourite parent.