My mother, my superhero – 7 successful women tell us how their mums have influenced their lives
“God could not be everywhere, so He made mothers,” goes a famous quote by poet and author Rudyard Kipling.
One can never underestimate the influence of mothers in our lives. They are our life-long companions, well-wishers, teachers, and open to donning every role to make us secure in their warmth and love.
From the hands that rocked your cradle to the shoulders on which you cried on; a mother’s love is also eternal.
Seven successful women, including entrepreneurs, pay gratitude to their mother’s love, sacrifices, and their far-reaching influences on their lives. From their million-dollar smiles, their unwavering focus, to their generous nature, here are some tributes to mums from their daughters.
Gift of ambition
My mum is truly my superhero. Gorgeous, full of ambition, and born and raised in Mauritius, she fell in love and got married at the young age of 19 in a traditional Gujarati joint family, and had two children by 23.
Needless to say, she had to give up on her dreams and desires to raise two children and support her husband, a struggling first-generation entrepreneur.
She was pretty much a single mum but never complained, instead she sat for hours helping out with school projects and showing me magazines with women in business suits and heels saying, ‘this is what I want you to be, you have to be financially independent.’
She gave me the gift of ambition and empathy through countless stories and bedtime conversations. She broke so many old and irrelevant traditions, asserted herself, carved her own identity, at the same time keeping our extended family together with her love and warmth.
She had a tough life but never forgot to put on her lipstick and her million-watt smile. She taught us so many important lessons of life by just being her fierce, kind, hard-working, and classy self. Words cannot express our admiration and gratitude for this lovely lady.
Namita Thapar, Founder, Executive Director, Emcure Pharmaceuticals, and CEO, Incredible Ventures, Master franchisee of YEA! India
In a world where women are constantly told to "settle" and "sacrifice", the biggest gift my mother gave me was never to be happy with settling. And never curb my aspiration and potential because it was expected of me as a woman by the external world.
My mother is an extremely driven, passionate career woman. She gave her IAS exam in Allahabad when she was nine months pregnant with my sister. My chacha would take her to the exam centre on his scooter, and she would be subject to jibes from the candidates around saying, "kaise kaise log aa jaate hain” (What kind of people come here!) She persisted and gave her exams, and made it to the IAS batch of 1980.
My father and she have an equal relationship – one based on mutual trust and respect for the other and with a lot of love that we as children thrived on. Growing up, her unflinching focus on ensuring that she was able to meet her potential and ensured my father met his, has confirmed that there are no regrets, no "what ifs" in their lives. It has made them happy, accomplished, and led to a life full of impact.
Today, my sister and I take daily inspiration from my mother on not settling. Not compromising on our dreams, potential, and happiness. When the world pushes us as women to "give up", "sacrifice", "compromise", "settle", because it's what women do, I think back to my mom and say no. Not all women. Not my mom.
Naiyya Saggi, Founder, BabyChakra
Resident Santa Claus
Rumi once rightly said, “We are born of love; love is our mother.” For this reason and more, I cannot even begin to express how much gratitude and appreciation I have for my mother, that God granted me in this lifetime.
My mother is quite simply the kindest human being I have ever come across. With her big heart and knack for generosity, she constantly gives gifts and food to all her loved ones, and for that very reason, she is also known as the resident Santa Claus.
We have all learned what it is to be truly empathetic from her — if anyone is hurt or experiencing pain, she will be the first one to reach out a helping hand. Another remarkable quality that my mum possesses is her sixth sense. At any point in time, she has this unique knack for intuiting the ‘big picture’ in a situation, most likely because she has a deep understanding of human nature, and can feel energies quite easily. If there ever was an angel out there - it’s you, mum - Madhuri Genomal.
Pamela Puja Kirpalani, Founder and CEO, Inner High Living
My dad was in the army, so naturally growing up, he was my first hero. However, in the last few years, I have come to realise that the role my mum played in all our lives, was a more all-encompassing kind, her influence palpable in every little thing we did. Without her, none of us would have been on the road that we are on today.
I sometimes tell people how proud I am to quit my job and start up, but the story that needs to be told a thousand times over is of my mother's — how she gave up a high flying job in PR and advertising at the age of 40, to make sure our education didn’t take a hit. And at 58, she decided to take the plunge and be an entrepreneur. She found a gap in the market and dived right in, launching a matrimonial website for the Armed Forces fraternity. Now, that's inspiring!
Ragini Das, Co-founder, Leap.Club
My mother has been the quintessential “iron woman” in my life. Born and raised as a Delhi girl and getting married into a big family in a small town in Bihar, she has always managed to thrive no matter what life throws at her. She has always taught me to be self-reliant and resilient. Her ability to think through a crisis will be a template that I will follow through in my life too!
Yashodhara Bajoria, Co-founder, CAXpert
I draw my inspiration from my mother. Being a housewife and going through hardships of her life, she gave her children the best. She pushed us to be hardworking, strong, and resilient human beings so that we stand up to any circumstance that may occur in our lives.
Her strength throughout life’s challenges has been remarkable. At the same time, I have imbibed a sense of compassion and determination from her. My mum is also my biggest critic – which always helps me mending my path towards betterment.
Japna Rishi Kaushik, Co-founder of Hungry Foal
Confidant, friend, and rock
My mother is a very strong and resilient woman. She has this amazing capacity to love and energise you. She always told me to find myself and then find a man, to be brave and to never second guess myself. I grew up watching this superwoman, an entrepreneur, and social worker in full force.
She had this crazy radar to know when I was getting into a bad relationship and making bad decisions. And I still fought her at every turn. She watched as I took a deep dive into the film world with no clue of what I was doing, and she tried to advise me. I still held my ground that she had no idea what life was all about. My first smack in the real world came soon after, and the only person that held my hand and got me through it was her. In my 20s and 30s, she’s been my confidant, my friend, my rock, and my biggest cheerleader, and me hers.
Sameera Reddy, Actor
(with inputs from Tenzin Norzom)
Edited by Suman Singh