Women can achieve great heights in their career. However, at home they still have to fulfill the role of a dutiful wife, daughter-in-law and mother. Such is the dilemma of Indian women. Any disruption in the balance of responsibilities comes with a huge price. She ends up offending her in-laws, husband and children alike. However, very often, such is not the situation with men. They are only required to fulfill their office responsibilities. Same is the situation with Indra K Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo. In a hearty conversation with David Bradley, who owns The Atlantic, she talked about how she manages both her work and her family.
Indra recalled how on the day when she became the president of the company, she returned home early to break the news to her family but on reaching home, she was asked to get milk from outside by her mother. Her husband was already back home but she was expected to perform the chore. On returning back when she broke the news to her mother, instead of sounding happy, she said “You might be president of PepsiCo. You might be on the board of directors. But when you enter this house, you’re the wife, you’re the daughter, you’re the daughter-in-law, you’re the mother. You’re all of that. Nobody else can take that place. So leave that damned crown in the garage. And don’t bring it into the house. You know I’ve never seen that crown.”
Such was the response from her mother. This is the plight of women in our country. And this is perhaps why they silently suffer. The respect they get in office they don’t get the same respect back home. They struggle to cope up with this dual treatment. It is as if they are completely two different persons in two diverse environments.
They naturally feel guilty when they cannot devote adequate time to their family. So they have to develop ‘coping up mechanisms,’ as she said in the interview. For example, her daughter on every Wednesday had class coffee for working women at 9:00 clock, which naturally she could not attend. Her daughter would give her a list of mothers who would attend it while she would call up her school and present her daughter with a list of mothers who could not attend the event.
Indra is actually right when she says that her biological clock and her career clock are in conflict with each other. She says that when she had kids she had to pay attention to her career and when she was rising up to the managerial level her kids became teenagers and needed lot of her attention. Besides, her husband sulked that he was last on her priority list. Thus she had to cope up with all such guilt. Her ability to maintain her emotional quotient was perhaps what makes her one of the most powerful women in the world. But, tragedy is, inspite of attaining so much, she cannot have it all.