It was in 1984 or 1985. We were living in a 1-bedroom apartment then in Prabhadevi, Mumbai. One night I was working on some papers in the living room. My mother was trying to put her 2-year old granddaughter to sleep in the bedroom. All was quiet making me believe that sleep reigned. Suddenly, a small voice piped through from the darkness engulfing the bedroom.
“I love you, Lata.”
A smile spread across my face and I answered, “I love you too.”
Silence greeted my response for a heartbeat or two.
Then the little voice came back with a spirited, “I love you three.”
That, my dear readers, is one of the earliest memories I have of a princess, as I used to call Neha Seshadri, my niece, from the time she was born. Today, I have set out to recount the fourth story in my series “watching the next generation mature into people you can be proud of*”.
The princess grew up. And like many youngsters got caught up in the desire to acquire a management degree and be successful. With CAT, SAT or whatever ‘ABC’ scores not good enough for what is known as ‘A’ grade business schools in India, she applied and got into the Business Management course in the then newly opened University of Petroleum and Energy Studies in Dehradun, India.
They say history repeats itself in families. We found it a little eerie that the granddaughter was entering the ‘oil’ field as my father had worked lifelong in that industry. Eerie because we had never really spoken much about my dad and his career.
I was concerned about her decision and remember telling her, “Neha, it’s a man’s world still. More so in the oil industry. You have led quite a cosseted life. Are you sure you will be able to handle the rough and tough world of oil?”
Children do what they want to do. Neha, too, didn’t listen and off she went to do a management major in what is now called the energy field.
I guess it was destined. For, she met her future husband, Ashish Singh, there:)
Neha also did well for herself in university; even winning some ‘best student’ award and receiving the award from the then President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. Here’s a photo that has become a family treasure:
Having said that, by far the biggest treasure Neha added to the family trove was in the form of her husband, Ashish and his lovely family.
I still remember the words spoken by Ashish’s father, Rajkishore Singh, to Ashish and Neha before their wedding: “Through your wedded life, look at each other the way you are doing now in the first flush of love.”
The words were spoken in Hindi, a language rich in emotion and cadence, and I have done my best to render the feeling in the English language here.
Wiser words were perhaps never spoken.
It’s been over 8 years since Rajkishore spoke those words. Neha and Ashish are now the proud parents of two little boys. They have somehow managed to balance married life, careers, parenthood and in the midst of it all, acquiring a second management degree. Neha in Human Resources through Xavier School of Management (XLRI) and Ashish through Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta.
Through it all, Neha and Ashish have retained a strong sense of the true meaning of life. I am quoting below a Facebook post by Neha on her recent birthday, which should speak volumes. What I have left out is Ashish’s response because that was personal. I can only tell you that Rajkishore (who we lost to the grand place up there last year) would have been delighted.
For the grandmother who brought me up and whose spirit I share… For the mother Sudha Seshadri who ensured I had everything.in the world (even today)..often starting her day at 3 am to ensure so….for my little mother Lata Subramanian who is mine through thick and thin…for my father Al Seshadri who will walk a dozen miles for me…for Aditya Seshadri who is still the little one..for Ashish Singh who makes life magic and every wish true…for Dhruv and Dhairya who make life worth living..for all my cousins and chitti, chittapas..attai, athimbers.. Peripas n Perimas…aunts n uncles last but not the least super duper friends…. I have loved every moment of life spent so far and look forward to many more with you… — feeling awesome.
As I write this, I feel proud that my princess has truly grown up. Her words on her birthday post tell me so. But more than that, each time I see the pure love shining from her eyes when she looks at one of her sons or her husband, I feel reassured that we have a success story on our hands.
Now all I hope for is that Neha and Ashish bring up their sons to realise the same true measures of success.
#Parenting #Parenthood #Success #Successfactors
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Featured Image Credit: Neha Seshadri as a bride
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