Chutney soca singer Rikki Jai says the most important lesson from the teachings of his father has been his ability to be disciplined in his approach to everything in his life. This, he says, has led to his success throughout his life. The 2011 Chutney Soca Monarch is the father of two sons. He says his children, eight and six, are already learning that discipline is very important to him. As Father’s Day rolls in this weekend, Jai, whose given name is Samraj Jaimungal, says his boys, Aashish and Vaashish, are very different in many ways. “One is very shy and the other is not. One is very expressive of his feelings and the other a lot less. “One is very artistic with drawings and other artistic things and the other loves to sing. “But they both love to dance,” he said. Rikki Jai became a father for the first time at 38. He was already 14 years into his career and said he simply continued with his work, taking it all in stride. “I never have and will never see my kids as a hindrance to my life or career. In fact, my children give me the inspiration to keep going and to accomplish more in my career,” he said.
“At the age of four, my son played the keyboard for his graduation from pre-school and at five, my first son wrote a song for me to sing—these are my proudest moments thus far, as a father,” he boasted.
Proud to be dad
Admitting that he cherishes the time he gets to spend with his boys, whether it be doing homework or fun activities, Jai says he is happy that he is able to provide them with that assurance that he is always there for them. Asked what he felt was the most important role of a father, he said: “Being on the job, staying on the job and loving the job.” With constant touring, one would imagine his career would pose a challenge to his parental obligations. But he said he works hard at balancing his career and the time he spends with his boys and his family. “When they were smaller, it wasn’t really a challenge but now as they are getting bigger, it’s getting tough to leave them for long periods,” he explained. He says his sons are both very attached to him and the sadness in their voices and faces hurts him deeply when he leaves them to go on tour.
Not a title, but a role
Highlighting that fatherhood is a role and not a title, Rikki Jai called on the fathers of T&T to cherish the role, saying that they would reap what they sow. “Man up and accept your responsibilities with pride and love the children, because they deserve that and so much more if we, as parents want them to be the best that they can be,” he said. “Be the provider, the comforter, the listener, the teacher—the everything to your kids.”