Dr. Reni Paulose

Aiza Castillo-Domingo

48 years, orthopaedic surgeon, 
Ministry of Health Hospital, Umm Al Quwain

Daughter: Abigail, 18 years

Son: Derick, 16 years

Aiza Castillo-Domingo

Style problem: He avoids trendy clothes and shoes, hates shopping. He was not like that in his younger days, says Mrs Paulose

Aiza Castillo-Domingo

Style solution: Dr Reni spends much of his life wearing a suit and this is how he feels comfortable. As a result he avoids trendy styles. We wanted to offer him a way to relax the suit image slightly so that he can be on trend but smart at the same time. To do this we paired a relaxed suit with a soft linen shirt and suede loafers to give him a more fashionable look than what he is used to wearing.

Reni says: “I feel surprisingly comfortable. This isn’t what I would usually wear but I am happy to try something new.”

A larger than life character; a colourful personality - one who enjoyed life to the fullest; a selfless and generous person – my dad was all these and much more.

He was not the type to express his love openly; there would be no hugs or declarations of ‘I love you’. Instead, it was through his actions that my elder sister and I experienced his love and understood the extent of his affection towards us.

Reminiscing about dad brings back fond memories of my childhood. I was a naughty kid, and I remember how he was constantly running behind me with a stick! Later, as I grew a little older, all it took was a single look - often accompanied by a sarcastic jibe - to drive home his displeasure or disapproval. It was when I got married, left home, and began to raise my own family that I truly began to miss my father; and realised just how much he cared for me.

There are many traits of his that I find inspiring and have tried to emulate in my life as well. For one, he was very just in his dealings; he was always fair and honest. And he was also a generous person who went out of his way to help anyone who came to him with a need. It was only when he passed away, around two years ago, that we learnt of the magnitude of his generosity as people poured in to pay respects to the person, they said, had helped with their children’s education, in building their house, provided for medical expenses, and so on.

For my father, acquiring and accumulating wealth was never a motivating influence. He believed in enjoying life with what you have.

I am similar to him in many ways, but I know that I can never fill his shoes. Today, our house is empty without him but the way he embraced life with love, joy and happiness is a lesson worth replicating.

Abigail: My dad is a man of very few words; and is slow to get angry but his words laced with sarcasm lets you know exactly how he feels! Although I feel closer to mom, it has always been my dad who comes to my support when she doesn’t.

Both my dad and grandfather are very joyous people – I have never seen either of them sad.

Derick: Very few things make my dad prone to anger; what triggers it is when I am on a gadget for too long; or when I make silly mistakes when answering simple questions in subjects he coaches me. I think both my dad and grandfather are similar in their reluctance to express their feelings verbally, but we know that behind the restrained exterior lies a caring and kind heart.

Khaja Sharfuddin

Aiza Castillo-Domingo

38 years, Stay-at-home dad, Sharjah

Son: Mohammed Uzair, 2.8 years

Aiza Castillo-Domingo

Style problem: ‘I avoid floral prints when it comes to dad style statement.’

Aiza Castillo-Domingo

Style solution: Khaja is a little wary of florals and it’s understandable. They are bold and bright and will get you noticed. For this look however we chose a black and white floral printed shirt. While the print is still bold, the colours are much more muted – it’s less offensive and not such a bold statement. Paired with jeans and trainers, this look is perfect for the weekend out with his son.

Khaja says: ‘I would never choose to wear this usually but I actually really like the shirt.’

‘I will not come to see you again’.

These words, that I spoke to my father in haste, on learning that he hadn’t kicked his smoking habit even as he lay in a Chennai hospital undergoing TB treatment, haunts me to this day for shortly thereafter, he breathed his last. The words ominously came true as it took me a week to reach home for I was in the midst of a visa change and didn’t have my passport. I missed seeing him one last time and this regret and guilt is something I live with every day.

Although my father was extremely strict when my two younger brothers and I were kids, his attitude underwent a sea change as we grew older. He was like a friend to us; we did so many things together – travelling to places, cracking jokes, teasing each other. We were not financially well-off; but I am truly grateful for the way he provided us all that we needed. The immense love and affection he showered on us is what I would like to pass on to my son.

Incidentally, it was exactly a month after my dad died that my wife’s pregnancy was confirmed. It was the eighth year of our marriage and certain complications had resulted in repeated miscarriages until then. We couldn’t have been happier at this precious, God-send gift. However, within months of my wife’s pregnancy, I lost my job. My wife, an engineer, was not employed either.

She soon found a placement and I willingly opted to be the primary caregiver for our newborn. Our decision, however, was met with a myriad of reactions – from ridicule and shock to doubt in the viability of this role reversal arrangement. But we had experienced similar reactions earlier too when my wife completed her engineering degree after marriage. Coming from a conservative background, relatives questioned why she even needed to study. Eventually, the pressure on us to have a child forced her to abandon the idea of a career. Now, when the opportunity arrived, I wanted her to live her dream.

It was with utmost happiness that I took on the role of looking after my son. Cooking, cleaning, feeding him – I take joy in doing these and I am certain that it will go a long way in creating a strong emotional bond with him. I love how my days are now centred around Uzair, playing and caring for him and I take pride in the fact that he seems to want me more than his mother.

Pushkar Thakkar

Aiza Castillo-Domingo

36 years, managing director,
Delmont Fire & Safety LLC, Dubai

Son: Hrehaan, 3.5 years

Aiza Castillo-Domingo

Style problem: ‘The one style that is a big no-no for me is ripped jeans or distressed denims. My fashion style is more classy and ripped jeans just does not tick the box for me. I feel what you wear speaks a lot about your personality and being fashionable has got nothing to do with trends but carrying an outfit with confidence. If I’m not comfortable in something, I will not wear it.’

Aiza Castillo-Domingo

Style solution: While ripped or distressed jeans can be deemed as scruffy, that is not always the case. Pushkar likes to dress in something more classy so we chose a smarter pair of jeans and paired them with a smart T-shirt. While this is perhaps a more laid back look than what he is used to wearing, it is relaxed and great for the weekend.

Pushkar says: ‘This isn’t something I would usually wear but it feels good and is great to wear on the weekend when I am with my son.’

When I was around 10 years old, following a tiff with my mother, I locked the door of her room and ran out, forgetting about it completely as I was soon engrossed in play. That evening, I saw the fury in my father’s eyes and learnt my lesson the hard way. Disrespect to elders, especially to my mother, was something he could never tolerate.

Born and brought up in a Gujarati joint family, respecting elders was the unwritten rule that my younger brother and I grew up with. Discipline was another key factor he instilled in us right from the beginning. Even today, at the age of 63, after a long night or a late party, he is up at dawn and out for his daily jog without fail.

One of dad’s greatest qualities that I have always admired is how he struck a fine balance between being strict and lenient during our growing up years. More importantly, he gave us the freedom to follow our own paths. Although I chose engineering with the intention of joining his business, I soon realised that my interests lay elsewhere. However, not once did my father object to my choice; he respected my decision, and I am grateful to him for giving me the freedom to follow 
my heart. Three years ago, I set up my own company here in Dubai and today, the immense joy and pride 
my father has in my achievements is very evident.

My son, Hrehaan, is three-and-a-half years old; and I hope that he too will grow up with these solid morals. In our family, tradition and culture are highly valued; education is a priority; and respect for all is always stressed upon. I would like my son also to imbue these traits that would help him grow to be a good citizen and for this, I know I must model the behaviour I want to see in him.

My father is a hardworking person. Through his perseverance and self-discipline, he ensured we had 
the best of education and all the required comforts. It was when I worked with him for a short period after college that I witnessed firsthand the ethics and integrity he brought to the work place. He has always lived by the motto: Be straight and honest; and keep your word if you have made a commitment. This has since become my guiding principle in my career as well.

Like most Indian dads and sons, our conversations are mostly always short and crisp; it is to my mother that I talk more. However, on the occasion of this Father’s Day, I would like to reach out to my father in Mumbai to say “a big thank you for supporting me and teaching me to become the very best version of myself”.

Krishna Pujari

Aiza Castillo-Domingo

61 years, Manager, Al Reef Manual Carpentry, Dubai

Daughter: Sneha K. Pujari, 30 years

Aiza Castillo-Domingo

Style problem: My father avoids wearing slim fits because he assumes it’s not meant to be worn for someone from his generation, and he also avoids reds, pinks and yellows (although I think pink suits him), says daughter Sneha.

Aiza Castillo-Domingo

Style solution: Krishna never wears pink so we decided to dress him in a subtle pink shirt. Wearing it with lighter tones makes the colours blend so that it is not so much of a bold statement. While the trousers are straight cut we also opted for a slim-fitting jacket. To finish the look we added pink shoes.

Krishna says: ‘This is the first time I have worn pink in perhaps 30 years. It is not how I would usually dress but if my daughter is happy I am happy.’

In my childhood, it was my mother who shouldered the responsibilities of raising the five of us – my three sisters and a brother. We hardly saw our father who lived hundreds of miles away, working hard to meet the family’s needs. To ensure that we lived well, he had to sacrifice his precious time with us. In the process, what my siblings and I lost out on were the love, discipline and everlasting bond that a father’s presence at home would have given us.

As the eldest son, I believed I had a duty to help in the upbringing of my siblings and so I moved to Dubai 30 years ago. The initial years here went ensuring that my family was well provided for and it was only when they were all settled and independent that I began to think of having a family of my own.

Knowing well the emotional pain and profound effects of growing up without a father, I was keen not to inflict the same on my family. I wanted to be a pillar of support and strength for my wife, Shyamala, and two daughters, Sneha and Sweta. All that I had missed in my childhood, including the joy of living as a family unit, has now been fulfilled thanks to my loving family.

I strongly believe that a family is the most valuable gift we can ever receive in our lives. I was keen therefore to inculcate in my children the importance of nurturing strong bonds with each other and their extended family.

I have given my daughters the freedom to pursue their passions and blaze their own paths – but also making them aware of the limitations of that freedom. My daughters have brought so much joy and love into my life. They have grown up into fine young women – loving, compassionate and responsible; and I am blessed to be their father.

Sneha: When I think about my father, what instantly comes to mind is the picture of a person who shoulders responsibilities ably and willingly but without taking any credit for it. The choices he made and how he stood by his family has taught us about unconditional love, the importance of giving, and the simple concept of placing your family’s needs first.

Dad is also very patient and composed, and these are his major strengths – to be who he is in any situation. He also thinks deep before taking a decision. Even today, I go to him for advice. He offers me answers but lets me make my own decision. I hope that someday, I can do this for my daughter too – be ready with answers and guide her in the right direction.