Mothers and daughters
(In an earlier edition of our Most Powerful Women (MPW) in Business list, some women on the list opened up about their mothers or their daughters, and told us what they had learnt from each other.)
In the Oscar-nominated dramedy about a girl on the cusp of adulthood, Lady Bird, Marion McPherson tells her daughter: “I want you to be the very best version of yourself that you can be.” To which her daughter, Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson, replies: “What if this is the best version?” The film talks wonderfully about the complexity of the relationship between a mother and daughter, often confrontational, bittersweet, but in its intensity, unlike any other relationship.
Often, the contribution of mothers in building the future and shaping the lives of people is ignored, and relegated to a corner in history. But their role in moulding a person’s life and work is immense and invaluable. And, for a daughter, the relationship with the mother is, in fact, the most formative one. What makes it special is also the fact that when it comes to drawing from shared experience as women, who better for a daughter than the mother. This year, we reached out to some of the women on the Most Powerful Women in business list, and asked them to talk about their mothers or their daughters, and what they have learnt from each other.
Nykaa founder Falguni Nayar says she learnt about millennial consumers from her daughter, while Duru Shah, gynaecologist and Metropolis promoter and managing director Ameera Shah’s mother, says her daughter taught her the importance of a life beyond work.
“What I have learnt from my daughter is her ability to empathise with others and view life through a colourful prism.” Zarin Daruwala CEO, Standard Chartered Bank, India.
“I consider myself lucky to have grown up around a mother who taught me the importance of being resilient, kind, fiercely independent at every stage in life and education.” Diana Daruwala (daughter)
“Doing the right thing at any point in time is the most important thing for a healthy soul.” Ameera Shah, promoter and managing director, Metropolis Healthcare.
“I have learnt from Ameera that human relationships are the essence of life. She has also made me realise that there needs to be a life beyond my work.” Duru Shah (mother) gynaecologist.
“If your heart is passionate about something, do it, even if it involves adventure and risks.” Nivruti Rai country head, Intel India.
“You can love anyone whose story you know.” Sachi Rai (daughter) A senior at Stanford University.
“Adwaita has helped me understand the millennial customer. She was also most supportive about my decision to become an entrepreneur.” Falguni Nayar, founder and CEO, Nykaa.
“My mom is the most multi-faceted person I know: an ambitious and rigorous entrepreneur while being a loving and light-hearted mom at home; a corporate finance whiz who watches Netflix for hours and collects fabulous sarees.” Adwaita Nayar, chief executive of retail, Nykaa.
“To deal with people with sensitivity and empathy, to live with consciousness of the environment. According to my daughter it is not about what we can afford monetarily. We cannot afford to deplete the lives of others and of the future by being irresponsible today and I completely agree with her view.” Renuka Ramnath, Founder and CEO, Multiples Alternate Asset Management.
“Always have a clear purpose and priorities. It is possible to be the ideal mother, daughter, sister, wife, boss, colleague, etc. if you have defined your priorities in each of these roles and are unapologetic about following through on them. Appreciate the many people who help you reach where you are and always pay it forward. And, do not limit yourself by others’ opinions.” Ramya Ramnath (daughter) Curriculum designer and content developer.
“One of Diviya’s key qualities is the fact that she is always content. She has no envy and the capacity to be happy with what she has. It’s a rare quality.” Mira KulkarnI Chairman and managing director Mountain Valley Springs.
“She is a beautiful, fiercely independent woman who has taught me that nothing is impossible.” Diviya Chawla (daughter) Creative director Mountain Valley Springs.
This story was originally published in the Oct 15 - Dec 14 special issue of the magazine.