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Canteen Talk

How can I give him my Dad’s place?

Shanika (14) is sad during her online classes and her friends notice this. Why? Her mother wants her to meet someone, who might be her new dad. She does not like the whole thought of having a stepdad; blame those stories she read about step parents as a kid. However, during her conversation with her friends, something happens that changes her whole perspective. Let’s find out what.


It was break time between online classes. But Shanika was still on camera. Akira, Sachin and Anshu were online too. It was their snack break -a time for them to gossip on a separate meeting link. They all joined that link but something was weird today.

“Hellooo! Someone’s day dreaming”, Akira said when she noticed Shanika. 

“Why are you so distracted and quiet today? Is everything okay? You even turned off your camera for so long!” Sachin asked. 

“No, I am fine”, Shanika sighed.  

“Don’t lie, Shanika, you haven’t uttered a single word since morning. This is the longest you have been without talking. C’mon, blurt out!”Anshu asked. 

Shanika got up and went to shut her door. She also picked up her earphones and adjusted them before speaking.

A new dad

“I don’t know how to say this but I am so stressed. I just can’t stop thinking about it”, Shanika finally spoke up. She sounded sad. 

“What is it? Share with us. We are here for you”, Sachin assured.  

“While we were returning home last night after dinner, my mother told me that she wants me to meet someone she likes – a man! And if everything goes well he might be with us in future – as my stepdad! Gosh!”, Shanika explained.  

“Ohh, Sharvari auntie is planning to get married? That’s great Shanika”, Akira said. 

“Are you making fun of me Akira? This isn’t great okay”, Shanika was on the verge of crying and very angry. 

“Calm down! I am not making fun of you Shanika. There is nothing wrong in having a step dad”, Akira explained. 

“But how can I give him my dad’s place? That’s just so unfair”, Shanika was crying now. Her friend felt helpless. After a brief pause, Sachin spoke. 

“Hey, please don’t cry. We all wish we were with you. Damn these online classes. But come think about it. Nobody can replace your father, it’s just that your mother needs a companion too”. 

“Yes Shanu, she has spent so many years of her life alone, struggling and trying to fulfill every need of yours. Now that you are mature, it’s time for you to understand her too”, Anshu added.  

Keep this to yourself

“But I don’t even know him, will he treat me and my mom the way my dad did?” Shanika asked. 

“I guess you should trust your mother, she will never bring anyone in your life who won’t treat you right”, Sachin said. 

“And it’s not like they are getting married tomorrow, auntie just wants you to meet him na”, Akira added. 

“But I am scared that my mumma won’t love me after he comes into our lives”, Shanika sniffled. 

“Are you crazy Shan? Your mother loves you more than anything, and you have always been her first priority and no one can change that”, Anshu said. 

“I want to confess something here Shanika and all of you. But please keep this to yourself, promise”, Sachin jumped in. 

“What Sachin? This is no time to tell us who you have a crush on”, Anshu chided him. 

“My mother is actually my stepmom. Atin, my brother, is actually my step brother”, Sachin announced. Everyone was shocked. 

But your ‘real’ Mom

“OMG! Really?” Akira said. 

“But Rati aunty loves you so much! I mean…” Shanika was lost for words. 

“Yes, exactly my point. My parents separated when I was just four year old. I only have memories of them fighting. They both are-married now. I too initially found it tough to adjust and call some other person as mom. But guess what – it just happened. I was so happy the fights stopped! My parents are very happy in their own lives. I am very happy with my new mom and papa” Sachin said. 

“Yes, I can see that. We have all met aunty”, Shanika said. 

“So, despite all the horrible stepmom stories you hear and read in childhood – Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel etc. real life is not always like that. My stepmom has always been my strength. I love her so much”, Sachin smiled. 

“And your real mom – I mean…your biological mom?” Shanika asked. 

“We talk and visit each other sometimes. However, she has her own family and her own priorities. I never really miss her anymore now. Maybe I was too young. But my point is – not all step parents are monsters! Okay! Just take a leap of faith. Your mother too deserves another chance at life. So let her have that life”, Sachin explained. 

“Hmm, you may be right, Sachin. Thanks for sharing your story”, Shanika nodded.  

Go with a happy heart 

“So, take a deep breath. Just meet him once, talk respectfully and see how he is with you and your mother. Then tell your mother how you feel about him”, Sachin suggested. 

“What if I don’t like him? Will my mumma understand?”, Shanika asked 

“Why be negative? I am sure she will understand and she won’t take any decisions without you”,  Sachin assured with a smile.  

“I guess you all are right, mumma deserves to be happy too, and I will support her decision”, Shanika said. 

“Good to hear that”, Sachin said. 

“I hope everything goes well”, Shanika said. 

“It will. We are here with you, no matter what”, Sachin said.  

“Time for a group selfie guys. Look at the screen. I will take a screenshot”, Shanika smiled. 

“C’mon. Let’s do this later. Our History ma’am is calling us on Teams! Our break went a tad too long”, Anshu said and everyone logged out to join their online History class. 

Photos: Shutterstock/Prostock-studio/Person in the photo is a model/Names changed. 

Have you ever been in same situation? Share with us in the comments box below. Remember not to share any personal information in the comment boxes. 

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