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Subodh Sankar, who owns the boutique bookstore and cafe Atta Galatta with his wife Lalitha Lakshmi, is a hands on father to his 16 year old daughter.
A big cozy home in a quaint area of Koramangala is what Subodh Sankar and his wife Lalita Lakshmi converted into Atta Galatta, a desi looking boutique store. It’s a place where they started a bookstore where you could just walk in and read books for an hour with a cup of coffee, choose your book leisurely and buy too if you like. They stock books in various Indian languages and also ones written in English written by Indian authors.
Along with it this also a place brimming with activity as it’s where artists come together to put up an event, hold discussions, authors come to launch their books and also some put up workshops for children.
Another addition to the bookstore is their bakery which started off as just a café for the bookstore which served basic fare but now along with that is a brand which serves scrumptious baked goodies to people of Bangalore.
Subodh Sankar is the lively co-founder of Atta Galatta, which recently was one of the the sponsors of the literary festival in Bangalore in 2015. He comes from a technical background and left his career to start this venture along with his wife who also was a working professional from the advertising arena.
While he comes across as a warm person in his professional life, Subodh Sankar the father takes pride in the fact that he is a very hands-on father to his 16 year old daughter Aparajitha Sankar, and believes in being involved in her growing years and spending time with her.
Subodh remembers that his first reaction on hearing that he was going to become a father was one of disbelief. Embarking on this new journey of the unknown he experienced a very strange feeling – like all parents, moreover for all new fathers. During the journey of pregnancy is when he muses that slowly the idea starts to sink in and they started getting prepared for it with all the fear and confusions that come along with it. He says, “When Aparajitha emerged, it was a mixture of indescribable emotions; excitement, happiness, surprise and relief. I haven’t felt that cocktail of emotions ever again.’
As those were the days that he was still working in the technical industry, he recalls how he hardly used to get time to spend with her. As the demands of the job were for him to travel he used to be out of the city most of the time and it was his wife who used to be totally in charge of their daughter. He realized how much his job demands took him away from his family and this was one of the primary reason for him to quit his job and start something of his own.
7 years of his daughter’s childhood was what he missed and he regretfully muses on how he thought she became 7 so quickly. By starting his bookstore he was able to focus on his first priority of family without compromising on work demands as they go in stride. It has been 8 years now since quitting his job and he feels he does not have to balance work and life now.
Subodh’s style of parenting, he says, is more hands-on.
He talks about his childhood where like most kids of that generation he was brought up in a more conservative manner. With that what is meant is his father was the more serious kind, the authority figure of the house. He would approach his father with great respect for approval and always try to be in his good books, whereas it was to his mother he would go to discuss things. The communication that used to happen was very formal with his father compared to his mother.
As he says, “My father was the typical father from his generation, and I would like to think of myself as the typical father from mine.”
With Aparajita he says that she treats both her parents equally and she approaches either of them to discuss matters or for anything. There is no set boundaries or rules on what he does or his wife. This comfort level proves to be a great support system.
About his style of parenting he would ensure that one key thing he gives to his daughter is a male perspective. Mothers and Fathers have different styles of communication and parenting techniques, and each has its own benefits. The takeaway from each interaction is important. From a child’s point of view, getting another viewpoint helps in taking decisions. By providing a male perspective he feels she gets a complete different dimension of things as it would be totally a new one compared to her mother’s or her own.
Atta Galatta and what he is doing there is something that his daughter is really proud of. He feels that she’s really happy as to how it has grown as a community. Subodh and Lakshmi are recipients of many the accolades from the art community and book lovers. This has an impact on their daughter’s life as this in turn trickles down to her. It definitely makes her happy and proud of being part of their dream.
On being able to give the right balance in life and spending time with his daughter in her growing years, Subodh now thinks that all fathers should “absolutely and totally be involved in all aspects of parenting” as that’s a key contribution to their kid’s lives.
Image source: Subodh Sankar.
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