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‘For my daughter, the best part of the day is when we ride to school on my bike’

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Here’s an account by a loving dad on how he dealt with a little episode of separation anxiety when his daughter first started school

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‘For my daughter, the best part of the day is when we ride to school on my bike’

In 2013, when model turned reality show contestant Vijay Singh won glamour queen Mallika Sherawat’s hand in the dating reality show, ‘The Bachelorette India: Mere Khayaalon Ki Mallika,’ it was all over the news. Soon, their lovey-dovey pictures were doing the rounds as Mallika toured Vijay’s hometown Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh.

Cut back to the present time, Vijay Singh, the cute model, is happily married to Sunita, his childhood sweetheart and is a doting dad to his 5-year-old daughter Vivianna. Let’s hear from Vijay about his most cherished fatherhood experience.

“When 'The Bachelorette India: Mere Khayaalon Ki Mallika,’ happened, I was young and naïve. But now I know, reality shows are all staged. I was obviously heartbroken when my relationship with Mallika didn’t last after the stipulated contract period set by the reality show. But life happens, and now I am married to the love of my life—my wife Sunita—and my world revolves around my daughter Vivianna, whom we lovingly call Ana.

It so happened that after we welcomed Vivianna, she became the apple of our eyes—the entire household is her playground, and she is the queen that conquers all hearts. As years rolled by, soon, it was time to enroll her in a nursery, just like any other kid. High drama unfolded when we took her to the school. My daughter made a scene on the first day of school. My wife and I somehow managed to leave her at her preschool, with special words to her teacher to take care of her. And the look I got in return from the teacher said: ‘This happens to all parents, you will get over it.’

After a few anxious hours outside the school gate (we decided not to go home, as it would make both of us feel more restless), it was pickup time. What we saw that day will stay with me for a long time. Our daughter was howling as if we had left her at the devil’s home! After many calming sessions and a promise to treat her to her favorite ice cream, she relented.

We tried talking to her too—she said that she missed us, her dolls, toys and the whole house when she was at school and that her teachers were strict and didn’t listen to her when she said something. So she just didn’t think that going to school would be of any importance.Next few days, the same routine continued, with more or less the same intensity. My wife is much better at handling such situations than I am. Some days, when my wife insisted that there was no way our daughter could skip school, Ana would come to me and beg me to intervene and put an end to school. She tried to rope in her Dada-Dadi too in her mission “No school,” but with less success. But there were days when she would only listen to me and reluctantly go to school.

The following week, I had to travel to Hyderabad for work, and we all were dreading it. The reason: Vivianna loves the ride to school on my Royal Enfield, it’s her favorite part of the whole going-to-school business. When I told her that I would be traveling for work and that she had to go to school minus the bike ride, she started crying and simply refused to go to school. Her tears made it impossible for me to go ahead with the planned trip. We knew if not for the bike ride, we simply couldn’t make her attend school.

So I decided to cancel my work trip and be her bike ride partner till the time she adjusted to school. And luckily for us, that didn’t take too long. Within a month, Viviana started enjoying school and insisted on going to school even on holidays!

When I look back at those days, I feel letting go of a work trip was a lesser price to pay as a dad, and we eventually managed to help her get over separation anxiety.

I have left my modeling/acting career behind; now, I am concentrating more on setting up adventure camps and homestays in and around Dharamshala. As this keeps me pretty busy, I don’t get to spend much time with my daughter. Vivianna has adjusted well to the changes and spends her day at school or with her grandparents and her mom. But if I am around, I can’t say no to dropping her off to school on my Royal Enfield. For her, that ride is still the best part of the day!”

(As told to Monali Bordoloi )

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