Rachana Dubey (BOMBAY TIMES; March 6, 2017)

A mother, they say, is born when she conceives her baby in the womb. A father is born when he holds his little one for the first time in his arms. It's a joy that neither can hide. However, Karan Johar waited for an entire month before announcing to the world that he has graduated from being a father figure to a real father. Blame it on the pressures of being a celebrity. Thanks to the progress in medical science and the concept of surrogacy, the filmmaker, who had expressed a desire to adopt a few years ago, is now daddy to little Roohi and Yash Johar. On the occasion, Bombay Times spoke to Tusshar, the first single daddy of Bollywood, on what it means to be the sole parent and how it changes your life. Excerpts:

You woke up to the news of Karan becoming a father...
(Cuts in) Isn't that great news? It put a huge smile on my face. I'm very happy for him. I know what he must be feeling right now. Doubly so. It's a different kind of happiness. It fills you with confidence. Being a single parent teaches you time management and in a matter of minutes, you become so selfless because your energies are suddenly not for you, they're for your child. Karan's babies are about a month old. It's the most overwhelming feeling to have your children around you.

How different is it to become a dad via surrogacy?
Usually, as a couple, the woman experiences changes in her body and the man sees her belly grow gradually over nine months. That gradually over nine months. That prepares him, in some way, for the life-changing experience that he's about to have. But in cases like Karan's and mine, we didn't really go through that. I can speak for myself. One day, when Laksshya came home, my life changed. The doctors sent me his pictures a few minutes after he was born. I couldn't believe what I saw. I couldn't believe that it was my child. A part of my heart was also scared because babies look swollen when they're born. And I didn't know that. When he was brought home, I saw the swelling had subsided a bit and that was a relief.

Laksshya is now nine months old. Are you ready to step out and work?
I'm working on changing the cycle of my days, once again. I wake up earlier than usual. I try finishing as much of my chores relating to Laksshya as soon as I can. I ensure I balance my time between him, my family and my work. I'm preparing myself to be away for longer hours. It's more mental than physical preparation. I'll be shooting Golmaal Again and probably, whenever I can, I'll take him on the set. I can only be away from my son for that long. He's the focus of my life.

Has becoming a dad changed you?
Yes. When Laksshya came home, I just put him in his cot and sat next to it for the entire night. It was as if I was guarding my greatest treasure. Today, when I have to step out, I have to plan my day much in advance so that his timings and schedule are not disturbed. I ensure that I do as much of his work as I can on my own, though I do have a dedicated help and my family to support me. My food, sleep, work-out and professional assignments revolve around Laksshya's routines.

Karan mentioned that his mother Hiroo Johar will play a crucial role in raising the babies. How supportive was your family when you decided to take the route?
I was apprehensive. I wasn't too sure if my parents, who I thought were pretty conservative, would accept my decision. I told my mother (Shobha) first. To my surprise, she was completely for it. She stood by me and encouraged me. When she told my dad (Jeetendra), he was just as gung-ho. So was Ekta. I had immense emotional support at home, right from the time I started the procedures for surrogacy. They held me through it and even after Laksshya was born. That is a must for anyone who decides to go for something like this. I'm glad Karan has Hiroo aunty by his side.

Do you have a piece of advice for Karan?
He's the best multi-tasker I know. He doesn't need advice actually. He juggles so many things at once. And Karan will be an excellent father. He's a terrific son and a great pal. He's loving; he's a giver and a complete family man, which is evident even in his movies. He cherishes and values relationships. After the relationship with his parents, this will be the closest to his heart. The only thing I can tell him out of my experience is that he should go with the flow. There are no formulas for being a father. Trust your paternal instincts. They'll never misguide you.