Society

It takes two to tango

Vijayendra Bidari, Superindendent of Police, and his wife Rohini Ramdas Bhajibhakare, Additional Collector.   | Photo Credit: Photo: R. Ashok

Powerful pair

Celebrities have their own allure. But what we need are accessible role models given the redefined role of women in workplaces. Also when career-oriented successful individuals want somebody to turn to amid day-to-day challenges of their demanding professional lives, deeper and personal connection comes easily with someone within the family. Madurai boasts of women officers who beautifully balance their work and home life while providing vital inspiration to their spouses and families.

An officer like Rohini Bidari Bhajibhakare is no less a celebrity herself in the Temple Town. As Additional Collector (Development) she determinedly sides with women’s dignity and honour and has pioneered the cause of safe sanitation for them. Finding her own innovations come naturally to her and she always strives to give a gender dimension to her projects.

Her husband Vijayendra Bidari, who is Madurai Superintendent of Police, acknowledges without blinking, “She is a very positive and sensitive person who believes in making women employees confident.” The real meaning of empowerment percolates down from her when she herself finds tremendous support from her family.

“The best thing about my husband is he is extremely supportive and non fussy about so many things at home. I am not a great cook but that is never an issue. He never bothers if I am late from work. When I travel, he takes care of our son.”

“Rohini is a good orator and a sketch artist too,” quite adorably Vijayendra quickly highlights his wife’s skills. He also adds that she has the drive to do many things but is not over-competitive and it is her calm and cool confidence that helps both of them to strike the best balance.

Inspite of being busy, Rohini micromanages things at home and insists on having one meal a day with Vijayendra and the mandatory morning walk with him. “We discuss general news and lots of social issues but never work. Being in the same profession, we are able to correlate and understand our respective roles better,” she says. Both love to watch their favourite serial The Big Bang Theory together and also travel. This powerful pair believes in truly giving each other the personal space, respecting each other’s professional independence and sharing responsibilities. When you have the freedom to integrate and prioritise life’s choices, there is nothing that you cannot do. “Life after marriage has contributed positive changes because both of us complement each other and contribute equally, both at home and on the work front,” she says. “I am lucky to have found a compatible partner”, he says.

The great support

“We both run the house equally and stay out of each other’s work jurisdiction,” declares the Indian Postal Service couple V S Jayasankar and T Nirmala Devi. It becomes easy when you know each other too well, in fact for years before marriage. In their case familiarity does not breed contempt. “Rather the bonding and the relationship assumes deeper meaning,” says Nirmala, who confesses she is the kind of person who needs periodic reassurance and Jayasankar is just the person for her. From the time when she used to call him Sir, by virtue of working in the same department and he being her senior, he was always her fall back for inputs, guidance, solving problems and just about anything. “In fact,” she asserts, “he supports me much more than I am able to.”

It takes two to tango

Jayasankar, now posted as Director Postal Training Centre in Madurai, says his wife is extremely sincere in everything she does. It amazes her how she gives not 100 but 150 per cent chasing every matter from the beginning to its logical end. It is not just her perseverance but her aesthetic sense and creative instincts, her visualisation capabilities and the dedication to work and family -- all impress him. As the Director (Posts) Southern Region, Nirmala feels she is able to go that extra mile because her husband eggs her on. “He strongly believes in being yourself and in a self-effacing manner drives me. Because of his support and caring attitude, I am able to do things better,” she says.

Both like to take one day at a time and make time to recharge themselves. “We are huge movie buffs and have a big DVD collection which we enjoy watching together at home. If we do not invest this time in each other, then the hours we spend working will not be happily productive,” points out Nirmala, who often travels on challenging assignments like handling complaints of harassment at workplace. She received over two dozen in the last two years and unless these matters are taken to logical end, no woman will again dare to bring to light the wrongs. “Watching her strength and courage inspires me,” says Jayasankar fondly.

As constant source of inspiration to each other, both feel, it is the unconditional support of both that makes the bigger challenges dwarf into small bumps in life and easy to tide over.

Giving due credit

At the mention of women’s day, Adyasha Parida Nanduri, wife of Madurai Corporation Commissioner Sandeep Nanduri, spontaneously expresses gratitude to those who give us our lives and make us what we are today. And at the top of her list is her mother-in-law, who she feels should get all credit on a day when we remember women achievers. Does anybody ever recognise or acknowledge the role of mothers who play a crucial role in shaping their children’s minds and careers, she asks.

And quite innocently wonders what role she actually plays in her husband’s career.

It takes two to tango

Being the daughter of an IAS officer and now as a wife, the only thing she realises is life is not easy for honest officers in the current social milieu. But her identity and empowerment come from being herself, an independent working woman. Adyasha has been with Infosys for over a decade now.

Her self-drive to financial independence and at the same time her innocent talkativeness is what Sandeep admires the most in his wife. Adyasha says she can’t feel more blessed that he valued his friendship with her and it translated into marriage. Both in fact met as officer’s kids when she was five and he was eight. Though love happened much later when they again met in Hyderabad as college goers, they never spoke much before committing to each other.

It was this silent power of friendship that even now allows them to lead their lives happily and the right way to be. “I don’t have many friends and he is my constant guide,” says Adyasha. He supports her career because he knows she can’t sit at home throwing away a self-earned job.

Like many other power couples, they too keep their personal and professional lives separate. “Discussing work at home is the last thing in our minds. We would rather enjoy a movie and every Sunday try to watch one in the theatre if there is a decent new movie,” he says.

There are also occasions, when she is ready for an outing and he gets an emergency call. But no grudges are heard. “There is a deep satisfying sense in knowing that you are being known and understood so well by another person whom you love,” says Sandeep.

“We both are influenced by what we have grown with and what we see around us. It is important to create positive role models and lead by example, whether you are at home or in office,” he adds. “Girls should be able to dream big about who they want to be,” says Adyasha, “and what kind of world they want to be part of creating.”

When we see images of what success looks like through popular culture or customs, families and education, people like Rohini, Nirmala and Adyasha reinforce that this is what leadership looks like, that this is what women look like. Bold to change others and ready to change themselves and worthy of emulation. If we are not celebrating wives yet, let us start now.

What they say:

It takes two to tango

Gender should not be an issue or excuse for not doing anything. Women should aspire to achieve and be empowered through education. Instead of making them dependent on others, women should be provided fair opportunities in every field – Vijayendra Bidari

Role Model: Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

It takes two to tango

Our clothes, behaviour, words and actions are all means of control. Women have to be sensitised to understand and accept that victimisation and shaming is not because of their fault. It is all because of patriarchal mindset and traditional bindings. When we overcome that, there will be gender parity -- V S Jayasankar

Role model: English writer Richmal Crompton Lamburn

It takes two to tango

Women have come a long way from when they could not be educated and go out to work. Though they have progressed in varied fields, gender parity goes beyond the role of a woman in her social and home environment. We cannot be out of the woods till we treat women as equal -- Sandeep Nanduri

Role model: Mother Teresa

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 3:59:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/wives-are-always-so-inspiring-to-their-powerful-husbands-this-international-womens-day-we-celebrated-the-achievements-of-equally-powerful-working-wives/article17434042.ece

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