By Aarti Malhotra, 52, Delhi
My most enduring memory of childhood is the sight of my widowed mother sitting calmly in a shop by the side of one of Delhi’s busiest roads selling Mobil Oil and other petroleum products. Having lost my father when I was 16, I was intensely close to my courageous mother, who raised me and my two brothers all by herself, working hard all day so that she could feed us well.
When, at 21, I got a marriage proposal from a business family in Delhi, she did not want me to waste any time, and so I completed my BA in English Honours from Miranda House after marriage, when I was three months’ pregnant. I later had two sons, who are now grown up.
My mother bequeathed to me complete devotion towards one’s family, and so I have chosen to put my energy into my kids. I encouraged them to develop their unique talents as children; I took care of their wellbeing; and now I am helping them set up new businesses of their own. I constantly give them ideas for expansion and help them with sales, logistics and back-end support.
I believe that being a housewife and mother is the most responsible job of all, and I take it very seriously. The ‘maid culture’ of Delhi irritates me; I believe wealthy homemakers are creating a generation of entitled snobs by palming off childcare duties to paid help.
It was my pride to cook nutritious meals for my kids when they were small, and now to support them in their business ventures. A homemaker’s contribution to the world is invaluable.