Renuka Srihari

The Multitasking Perfectionist

Renuka not only teaches subjects to her students, but also shapes young lives so that they can face the world with grace, confidence and strength. She essays the roles of a mother, wife, sister, daughter, and professor, effortlessly.

One woman. Many roles, each one carried out to absolute perfection.
I am here to tell the story of my mother, a very charismatic, strong and confident woman.
Born into a very large family of six sisters and five brothers, life was like that of any middle class family in the 1960s and 70s, until my grandfather fell very sick and was bed ridden. Unfortunately he passed away soon after that, leaving behind 11 young children, of which only one had completed their education. Amidst financial struggles and the grief of having lost her father, my mother managed to complete her BSc.

Though marriage happened soon after, mom was very determined to complete her Masters, thankfully my father was more than supportive.Mom started her career as a high school teacher, working at a school at close proximity to our house. I still remember the days when she would rush from school during lunch breaks to feed my baby sister and immediately go back. As we got a little older, she quit her school job and worked as a lecturer of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry in a women's college.

Growing up, my friends in school would always assume that since my mother had a very demanding career, my lunch would be a sandwich. But to their surprise, it would always be fresh, home cooked and wholesome food.

My mother flawlessly balanced her professional and personal life, never compromising on either of them. After finishing household chores, she would always help us study (the reason why I still remember those dreadful chemistry equations), no matter how tired she was.
Since her subject was research oriented, she would constantly keep herself updated and prepared for the next class, never compromising on the quality of her lectures. Many a times, I would wake up to find mom intensely preparing for the next day, always finding ways to keep her class interested. Once when I asked her how she finds the determination and strength to do so, mom replied saying, "It is not just a job for me, it's a way of life, it's a part of who I am, my passion and my strength."

Mom not only teaches subjects but also shapes young lives so that they can face the world with grace, confidence and strength. She always finds ways to selflessly give back to society, be it helping an underprivileged child or supporting a student who just lost her dad, these give her true happiness.

My mother's professional journey is extremely remarkable. She started as a high school teacher and now she is the Head of Department of Biochemistry, a PhD holder(cancer research) and the Chairperson of the Board of Examiners(Biochemistry). While all these positions are extremely reputable and makes us proud, the journey was anything but easy. My mother has two children, both of us girls, her own relatives would sometimes pass comments such as "You must have committed a lot of sins to have two girl children" or "Oh no, you do not have a son, now who is going to take care of you." These comments, though hurtful, never deterred mom from following her passion, it only made her stronger and she soared high, shattering gender stereotypes, always encouraged and supported by my father.

My mother's charismatic personality is very contagious, to this day she teaches me to never give up in any aspect of life. The word 'fail' does not exist in mom's dictionary because the real failure is to not try at all.

When society teaches us to choose between a successful personal or professional life, we teach women to prove them wrong and excel in both.

I believe that I have shared not just my mother's story but that of thousands of women in the country and around the world who are talented, hardworking and from all walks of life. We as a society should nurture their dreams and encourage them.

If my mother is a kite that keeps soaring high, my father is the string that supports her, one would not exist without the other, they truly complete and support each other.

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