Banker turned bestselling author Chetan Bhagat loves being a parent in progress. He has no regrets over his decision of having quit an 11-year-old, well-paying job with a global bank in Hong Kong and relocating to India to pursue his passion for writing, full-time. Chetan Bhagat is a busy guy, essaying columns, pursuing public speaking, writing books and screenplays…all while he brings up twin sons with his wife, Anusha, in suburban Mumbai. India’s first author celeb, he is known for speaking his mind in his signature mince-no-words style and is decisively vocal on social media as well. Count the chirps in his repertoire and Five Point Someone, One Night @ the Call Center, The 3 Mistakes of My Life, 2 States, What Young India Wants, Half Girlfriend, One Indian Girl … pop up instantly, having inspired box-office spinners.
Excerpts from a cool chat with author Chetan Bhagat.
So how’s the ride going: bringing up a pair of twin boys?
(Smiles) Well, it is tough to bring up two kids at the same time, but I think my wife has the tougher role. The benefit is that you end up raising two kids at the same time, so you don’t have to do it all over again for the younger one.
Is it relatively easier to bring up two kids of the same age? Any pearl of wisdom here?
I think so, as the kids give each other company and keep themselves amused. However, it is more hectic to deal with two sets of tantrums instead of one.
You are one of the few lucky dads who have the chance to be around physically at home to spend time with the kids, bond with them, enjoy the parenting experience. Do Ishaan and Shyam tend to ‘value’ you less (as compared to Anusha) since you are not a traditional “office going” parent?
What extra dimension does your being at home bring into the picture?
I think they see me as someone who lives life on his own terms. I think and hope that at some level it inspires them. Also, it makes them less hung up about ideas like men have to go to work and women have to stay at home. I feel one parent needs to be relatively accessible to the children. I missed that with my parents while we were growing up as my father (who was serving the Indian Army) was stationed out of town on different postings and my mother was working full-time (in the Agriculture Ministry).
Back to the daily parenting grind: How and when do they know you mean business, that they cannot push you any further?
I think I am a fair person, and while I am casual and easygoing most of the time, they know that certain things are non-negotiable with me. Doing their own work, talking politely to the domestic help are some issues where they get scolded if they fall out of line. Since I am easygoing at most times, they don’t take my being upset lightly. Usually, a look is enough (laughs).
Shilpi Madan for Indian Express