My Mummy Strongest!: Shailaja Gandham

Every third Sunday of June is usually celebrated as Father’s Day – and why not? Dads are not only a blessing but also a very important part of a child’s upbringing – hence we need to appreciate and celebrate them. Father’s Day is a perfect time to honour fathers and celebrate the role they play in their kids’ lives. But not every child out there has had that. There are some who probably aren’t blessed enough – or maybe blessed more than usual. Having your dad around in your growing up years is needed, and for those who haven’t – there were mothers who stepped into the shoes of fathers to compensate for the kids. Mothers who have woken up early to pack tiffins, then worked long hours, come back home to cook meals and finish homework – basically, mothers who have fought the world and circumstances like soldiers to bring their kids up.

Today, celebrating the spirit of Father’s Day, we went into the homes of some single moms to understand them and their journeys better. Here are some overwhelming stories of supermoms who have raised their children singlehandedly and perfectly played the dual part of the father and the mother. These heart-warming stories are beliefs that a mother can indeed be a father as well and fill in the vacuum in their child’s life flawlessly!

Text: Anahita Ahuja

Mum: Shailaja Gandham, Early Childhood Educator and Counsellor (mother of Sandip Polepally and Malvika Rao)

The journey so far…
It has not been easy but it wasn’t difficult either. I had a strong family support and two lovely children made it all seem easy. They’ve always understood and stood by me, unconditionally.

You have done anything differently if you could rewind time?
If you asked me this questions few years back, I would’ve said yes. But if I look back now, I don’t think I would’ve done things differently. I love how everything has come together and exactly how it should have been.

 According to you, how much have you succeeded as a parent?
It’s an ongoing process, there’s no success. But those little moments give me a lot of happiness, to watch my children be respectful and work hard does make me a proud parent.

Any particular moment when you felt like it was all worth it…
At my son’s wedding recently, there’s a picture of my daughter, Rahul my son-in-law, my son, my daughter-in-law Nidhi and me, a happy family. That was my “it was all worth it” moment, wouldn’t want it any other way.

“In various situations, I see a lot of her in me now. Apart from that she is someone who motivates me, my 4am friend and my comfort zone.” – Malvika

Child: Malvika Rao, Co-Founder Blueowl Design Studio

Do you think you could have been as strong as your mum?
No, I don’t think I would be that strong or even conducted myself like the way she did. But I do hope I’m half as strong as she has been or is.

If you were in her place, would you have brought yourself up any differently?
I admire the way our mom has raised my brother and me. She’s taught us to be independent and fight for what it is worth. So I don’t think I’d have it any other way.

What is that one thing you admire about her?
She’s selfless. With me, my brother, my grandparents or anyone in the family, you need her and she’s there. It could be the smallest thing, she’s there no matter what.

What kind of a relationship do you guys share?
The other day I sent one of those memes to my mother which read “My mother is either my best friend or satan. There’s no in between.” That clearly sums our relationship.