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An Optimistic Teacher by Rupali Seth Print E-mail

(Editor’s note: Rupali is the daughter of P.K. and Savita Khanna, and the great-granddaughter of Amma, about whom Mrs. Khanna has written in the book Dadi Nani: Memories of Our Grandmothers. The purpose of this contribution is to show the similarities and differences between the lives of Rupali and her great-grandmother.)

My early years were spent in Fiji and Dubai. When we returned to India, I was ten years old, and it was difficult for me to adjust to the climate, food, and people. Then my parents moved from Mumbai to Jaipur, where I studied from 6th to 10th standard, and this is where I became familiar with and adjusted to Indian traditions. In Fiji, Dubai and Jaipur, I studied in coeducational schools, which, I think, help build healthy relations between boys and girls.

I tried my best to become a doctor, but I did not succeed in the pre-medical entrance exams, and switched to botany. After I got my M.Sc., I was offered a teaching job in a good school but my parents encouraged me to continue on to a Ph.D. Perhaps this came naturally to them as my father has a Ph.D. himself.

In 2001, when I was in the last leg of my Ph.D., I got married to Puneet; ours is an arranged marriage. My husband, who is affectionate, caring and understanding, encouraged me to complete my doctoral degree.

After I got my Ph.D., I worked for two years at a premier government scientific laboratory in Pune. At present, I am a Lecturer in a reputed college of Pune. I feel that, in today’s competitive world, this is an achievement any young Indian woman could be proud of.

Marriage comes with many responsibilities for an Indian woman like me. As a workingwoman, I find it difficult to run my home as meticulously as my mother, dadi or nani did. For them, their only focus was their home, but I have office responsibilities also. Undoubtedly, technology has made my life easier: I can manage work and home because various time- and labour-saving gadgets are now available. Moreover, my dadi and nani managed large joint families, but today it’s just three of us: Puneet, me and our one and a half year old son Abir. My in-laws live in Delhi, and they hardly visit us because I am at work, not at home, in the day, and so cannot spend enough time with them or look after them when they visit us. I do manage to visit them once a year.

I am North Indian, not yet fully adjusted to life in Pune; there are times when I really miss my family, relatives and friends from North India. Also, while I understand some Marathi, I still cannot speak it, which makes me feel left out from office discussions, which are often in Marathi.

I am now about 33 years old. I am quite satisfied with whatever I have achieved so far with my parents’ blessing, husband’s support, and God’s grace. Life has just begun for me, and I am optimistic that I will achieve more for my family, our country and myself.


© Rupali Seth 2007

Rupali was brought up as a middle-class Rajkumari. She grew up in many in parts of India, and got married at the age of 27.


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3.26 Copyright (C) 2008 / Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."