What we learnt from Chanda Kochhar’s letter to her daughter
One of 100 most powerful women in the world, CEO and MD of ICICI bank but a mother first, Chanda Kochhar wants to watch out for her daughter in this competitive, compassionate yet cruel world. She wrote a letter to her faraway-used-to-be-my-baby-girl-now-all-grown-up-young-woman. The message is loud and clear. It will, in fact, overwhelm you, bring out your humbleness, strip you of your pride and ego, and make you go back and read it again.
We feel that in a way she apologizes to her daughter who grew up faster because the mother didn’t have enough time. Through the letter she hopes to make up for the lost time or at least let her know that she was/is always there. You can’t help but feel for this woman who did everything to get the family’s future right. Yes, she missed a few steps but only because she was trying so hard to keep the grass on the other side greener.
Advice is like the recipe or the ring that is passed on over generations. It is precious. When grandparents or parents offer advice, it’s the one to hold on to for life because they have been through the worst—and they have seen it all. Chanda Kochhar listened to her parents, learnt from it, practiced it and decided to pass it on.
What she was trying to tell her daughter is the blatant truth—at the end of the day, are you at peace when you go to bed? Do you have the right job? Does it make you want to wake up the following day? Do you keep good relations with people? Do you have a passionate life? It is very important to have one. In the form of companionship or in the form of your distant dream. Don’t run after temporary help, or, simply put, do not seek monetary happiness. Money can never replace happiness.
And then the big ‘E’ in our closets—which was addressed quite beautifully. Equality. Undeterred. The day we talk about equality is the day we realize that the mind is poisoned with the thought of inequality.
When you lose your parents—your guardians by default—you end up on a path of self-discovery. Unfortunately or fortunately it happens earlier on in life for some. But here is the actual strength of a driven woman. Often, women under pressure of self-doubt do not channel their talent. They hide it because, well, the man can take care of her. But you don’t have to go through a tragedy to find yourself.
How to be a supermom?
Kids often underestimate their parents and what they do to help them live a life worth living. Chanda Kochher’s children may not have realized how brilliantly and flawlessly she played the role of a mom and an MD simultaneously. One can even say that she was only successful because she struck a balance between her professional and personal lives.
It is very important to have an I don’t care attitude. When you let something get to you it’s only your downfall from then on. Just hold on and give it time. It will heal. You should always remember why you started the journey in the first place, if at all you have thoughts of calling it quits.
She stressed on the fact that it takes a lot of work to build a steady and sturdy relationship. Marriage is a partnership after all and your partner’s support is of utmost importance when juggling between work and home. Chanda Kochhar was only able to do this because her husband empathized with her and she wants to make sure that her daughter and her future husband too build the same relationship.
And, at last, the golden words to live by, reiterated by Chanda Kochhar: We all write our own destiny. Everybody out there is busy building their own lives, too occupied to build yours too. Take it in your hands. Dream big. Don’t be afraid. Dream with a full heart. There will be obstacles. It’s a part and parcel of your life. You will get through it. You will emerge successful. You might be content or not. But at least you’ve done it yourself. Just like an author you will have written your biography.
She ends the letter with words we may want to share someday with our children too. She says, ‘Aarti, there is no limit to what a determined mind can achieve, but in achieving your goal, don’t compromise on the values of fair play and honesty. Don’t cut corners or compromise to achieve your dreams. Remember to be sensitive to the feelings of people around you. And remember, if you don’t allow stress to overtake you, it will never become an issue in your life.
Remember that good times and bad times will be part of your life equally, and you have to learn to handle both with equanimity. Make the most of life’s opportunities and learn from every opportunity, and challenge that life brings along.’
Mother’s day is not far away. We thought that this letter would help you express those feeling you’d kept shut and give you enough time to (a) not forget Mother’s Day and (b) do something special for your mother—maybe say the things you could never say before?
Happy Mother’s Day in advance to all the beautiful mothers around the world. We want to remind you that you may not be the CEO of a company but you are the CEOs of our hearts. What you have done for your children will never ever go unnoticed or unheard . . .
. . . thank you.
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