'I'm a parent to a boy who's turning 30': Comedian Kumar
"I don't ever want to have kids. I hate them," says Kumar. But he could not turn down an 18-year-old boy when he stood outside his home asking for sanctuary.
"He told me, 'I fought with my father. Can I stay with you for a few days?'
"One night became 11 years," the 54-year-old says.
The infamous stand-up star says in an interview with Our Grandfather Story on July 7 that the son that he has come to call his own is actually his friend's younger brother, Sathin.
Sathin had anger issues that caused him to quarrel with his father whom he was close to, which led him to leave home.
Although Sathin's parents kept asking him to return, he refused.
His mother went to Kumar's house, looked at his living conditions and left, Kumar says.
"I told myself without asking her, 'Okay, I think I'm a parent now.'"
Kumar recalls how he was abused as a child by his father because "the only thing that reminded him of the failed marriage were the kids".
His father had become an alcoholic after Kumar's mother left him.
"If someone were there to help me when I was younger, I would not have been so helpless.
"So when Sathin came to my house, I thought I could see myself in him," he says.
Kumar did not reveal publicly he was looking after Sathin as his own.
"I'm a very private person, very reserved, so people don't know that I'm a parent to a boy who is 30 years old this year," he says.
He also learnt that being a parent is no easy task when Sathin did not return home one night.
So Kumar confronted him.
Sathin did not like this and "threatened" him, Kumar says.
He eventually found out why Sathin had disappeared — there was no PlayStation 4 in his home.
"So I ran to the shopping mall to get a PlayStation 4.
"Then he came back immediately, and you could see the glow on my face," says Kumar.
Kumar also brought Sathin to meet ex-convicts to set him straight.
"'You see, you want to be there? Do you want to be like them?'" Kumar had asked him.
Sathin says this taught him that he ought to control himself and his emotions before he too ends up in jail.
But Kumar's relationship with Sathin has not always been seen in a positive light, even among "friends".
"I had friends who asked me before, 'Have you touched him?'," he says.
"I said, 'What do you mean?' Is it because I'm gay? Like, I would touch him for —"
Visibly upset, Kumar says he told his friend to "get out".
"I can't have friends who can't understand."
Responding to the accusations lobbed at him and Kumar, Sathin says, "Kumar is my father and mother."
He goes on to say that Kumar is looking after him and that people can think however they want.
Their parent-child bond is clear to see.
Kumar talks about how he must call Sathin when he reaches his destination on overseas trips.
"He just wants to hear my voice. And then we'll tell each other, 'I love you, I love you, I love you'," Kumar says. "That's very nice. It makes my whole trip."
Sathin laughs and suddenly says, "Thank you for bearing with me."
"Nothing to bear, lah," says Kumar. Like any bonafide parent.