My Father: My Guiding Light

Rajesh Shah

Rajesh and Asha fell in love in school, continued their romance through college years, and got married after graduating. They gave birth to two children, Nisarg and Shaili. The 25 years of married life were like a fairytale for them until Asha was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis and passed away in 2007.

Single Dad, Double Love

On this Father’s Day, MomJunction celebrates dads who have been playing the role of both the father and mother and the dads who are fighting all odds in raising their children single-handedly.

In a four-part series, we bring you the real-life stories of such single fathers. These fathers have not only provided the best to their children but are also standing as examples.


Shaili was a school-going teenager when her mother left. It was devastating for the family to cope with the loss and accept her absence. Rajesh was in depression for two years. He wouldn’t cry lest his children break down but would sit silently for hours. Shaili says, “Papa lost his first and only love. Still, the way he shouldered the responsibility of my brother and me gave us immense strength. There was not one day in three years of my college where he did not wake up to give me that glass of milk in my hands. For someone who had seldom entered the kitchen, that glass of milk was his first lesson in cooking. Buying sanitary napkins for me, designing dresses using my mom’s old pictures as reference, and learning to cook my favorite dishes – he did it all, and he still does!”

Turning nostalgic, Rajesh says, “I did not make an effort to turn a mother or do what Asha used to do for our children. Life taught me everything! My children are well settled in life. Nisarg is flourishing our family business, and Shaili is a professional singer and owns her own jewelry brand. I am content at heart. 

“Asha continues to live with me – in my children and in the three suitcases filled with our love letters, hand-made cards, newspaper cuttings of romantic poems, and pictures of our travels as a family.” 

Rajesh helps Shaili by guiding her to manage her business accounts and Nisarg in the family business. He has dedicated his days and nights to his kids. He has five of them now — his children’s spouses and his granddaughter Venisha! He still wakes up every morning to give that glass of milk, but it is for his granddaughter now.

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