Vasanthi Hariprakash is a multi-talented journalist, TV and radio anchor, show host and media trainer. She writes, trains individuals and institutions on how to leverage the media, moderates debates and panel discussions, struggles with gadgets, hums half-tunes, but loves telling full stories.
Was yours a love marriage or an arranged marriage?
Ours was love after engagement. Per tradition, my family went to his house to see him. I wasn’t interested and the idea was to say no, as I’d just joined Indian Express. When we met, I told him that I’d just started earning and wanted to enjoy my work. I also wanted to study. He said I could study after marriage and he had no problem with me working the night shift.
I was stumped that this guy was saying all the right words.
After I went to work, he told my mother that he understood I needed time, but from his side, “It’s HER”. His fate was sealed right then.
How do you and your husband achieve/manage work-life balance?
I guess it depends on what rules you set in your marriage early on. Some women I know are there for their husband in every aspect, like choosing their shirts for work and getting them ready, whereas I, on the other hand, am so not that person. Frankly, it is to each their own. In our marriage, we give each other space. In fact, sometimes there really is so much space that he has no clue where I am; I too don’t bother him with constant calls. We have evolved and grown into such individuals. By and large, we are aware of the blueprint of each other’s lives…
Usually when I’m not travelling, every morning, we have about 15-20 minutes when we catch up with each other, before getting into our schedules. We make it a point to do this. He’s a coffee guy while I’m a tea person. He makes a strong ginger tea, the way I like it, and I make him his cup of strong filter coffee. We give each other these, settle down with a huge pile of papers and even though we don’t exactly talk much, the newspapers are a great connect as we discuss the day’s news and more.
How about after you had your son?
There was, in fact, quite an imbalance at my end! I used to work for the late city edition, more like the typical newspaper, going in for work when the world is returning from it. I couldn’t be around at home all the time, and a big thanks to my mother and mother-in-law for the support at home in the initial years.
The balance comes a little later on. My philosophy is, don’t micro manage.
I believe in keeping track of your child, your husband, and your in-laws; but I don’t need to get involved in every minute detail, trying to be the perfect daughter-in-law.
I frankly am not. I’m flawed, but I think that this is so much better than trying to be perfect.
Your son took a year off to study to get into a course he wanted, rather than compromise with something else, and you were very proud of him. How did you deal with social judgement about this?
From the start, my husband and I have been very clear about not letting what others say get to us. As long as we know what we are up to and are accountable to our family and conscience, I think nothing else matters.
My husband and I are built differently – he was worried about explaining a year off in case our son did not clear his exams the second time, while I believed in shielding him from outside issues.
My only fear was that I didn’t want Anirudh’s fears to compound; he shouldn’t feel left out at any point of time, as that was a very vulnerable age. But we firmly believed that we should support our son to achieve his dreams and be there for him and that belief helped a lot. Every child is different, and they should do exactly what they like. Why would you want to put your child through the whole pressure, to live someone else’s perfection? The biggest help we, as parents, could give is discover the potential in our children and just nudge them and do everything we can to nurture it, and not let it be killed.