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Chithra Rajaram – October 7th, 2002

Dr: Chithra Rajaram, Editor, Tamil Murasu speaks as to how she balances her family and career:

Chitra Rajaram 37, is a very busy woman as her designation ‘editor’ itself will clearly say how busy she could be. When asked Mrs Chithra Rajaram to share her experiences she started in a more fluent and friendly way. “as in a juggle…..a constant juggle”.

Being a young woman with a greater career responsibility, she was put a question, ‘How much time do you get to spend with your children’? Her answers follow.

“With two children aged 12 and 8 years it is quite a handful.’ “We are quite focused on spending quality time with them. It is very important that My husband or I drop them at school

Last night I had a dialogue session with the Prime Minister and when I got back home, it was about 11-00 pm. My daughter was still awake and even before I could change my suit, I spent a few minutes with her. I try to be a good mother to the best of my ability. My daughter’s Primary School leaving exams just got over. I was on leave working from home and teaching her.

I thought when the children grew older, it will be better. But as they grow the demands change.

So how does she organize her day? She says that she has her valuable diary in which she lists down that day’s work and thus she is very organized.

Her husband Editor of New paper and she, though both are busy on their own right, still they manage to spend quality time together.

“We have our coffee together in the morning. It is usually during Saturday nights, we spend time together. Usually after we attend to our invitations, say about 10-00p.m, we leave out on our own. I think these kinds of little things should be done to ensure that there is a good communication flow among the family members”.

“Family and office are two sets of emotions. It all depends on how you do prioritize each day. At times when things don’t work out, one is bound to be stressed. I have learnt to let it go, as there is no point worrying about unnecessary things,which goes beyond your control. I guess that is where I have made a bigger transition”.

When asked as how she manages the household chores…Her answer was that, “Oh, I have always been fortunate in having good maids. Without the help of maids, parents and in-laws it would be difficult to manage.

When I don’t have lunch appointments, I go home and during evenings, I just pop in and have a look as to what is happening”.

So, how does she deal with the male chauvinism? “Initially when I came on board I experienced, the element of chauvinism. If being women is hard, then being Indian women is harder. Generally there is a tendency to look at you as a woman and not as an editor. When ever, I was hurt with criticism, I just focused on revamping the paper. Now the paper has been doing well. Now I think people have accepted me and once you have proven yourself, then they support and respect you”.

So are women given equal rights to that of men? Yes. It is only for women to take it. Women tend to self censor and apologize more. Whatever and whoever you are, if you can do the job, it is fine. But I must confess that we are still in a male centred, traditionally patriarchal society. That mindset has not changed. It will take many more years to change”.

She further says, “I am not cynical about it as, it is our culture and tradition and that is the way, we Indian women are brought up. We do accept that.

I must also accept the fact that,in the last ten years time, women have become more dynamic and their earning capacity too have cahanged for better.

It is a choice of each woman, whether to be a house wife or a career women. If you choose to be a house wife then you should not worry or feel inferior about it”.

How do you relax? She says: My relaxation comes from reading. We take on a family tour and we get a good break.”

What is your advice to those who want to be a successful career women?

“I would ask them not to worry as to what people say. Instead, do what your heart and dream says.

Are you pious? Do you celebrate festivals? “Yes, I am a Hindu. I do pray. As we do publish paper on the festival days too, I am usually in the office on the festival days. So we celebrate it in the office itself. During Diwali we are off. Generally during Diwali and Pongal we go to my in-laws and my parents place”.

Now it was time to say bye to Mrs: Chithra Rajaram. Yes! If you could balance both the family and career, there could be many more successful Chithras !

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