The Power of Two (Mothers & Daughters)

Mother’s Day is a special sentiment.

The saying, ‘We are but the product of our environment,’ is absolutely relevant to mom’s bringing up their precious daughters.  They have pushed the buttons, they have been as cool as cucumbers but each time the focus was to build positive qualities. Moms always have the best interest for their daughters. They are non- judgmental, understanding and tirelessly nurturing.

So, what is the deep end of the story of the duos’ relationships? The answer might just be in the bonding of the most special kind that is rock solid, unshakable, the type that is unconditional.  The usual face offs that occur between the duo are but bitter – sweet bumps that makes the relationship stronger offering new perspectives and discoveries about each other.

What better then to walk the corridors of enterprises, the strong pillars of which are built on absolute trust and interdependency? The one common thread that runs in every mother- daughter run businesses is that they harmonize each other’s strengths.

This Mother’s Day, Divas Mantra pays homage to five chosen mother- daughter duos of our times. We take a peek at their inspiring works and the substantial mark they have made in their realm of competencies.

1. Angels of the Pandemic: Dr Jayanthi Shastri and Dr Aditi Shastri

There is something devout about women in science, more so when the leaps are tremendous and mankind has been served. We celebrate the duo who has taken the experiential approach, diligently researched to bring us the finding that the COVID 19 virus gets to men more than women.

A recent research by them was posted on MeRixix that hosts unpublished research papers. The study revealed that the time taken for the virus in the testicles to leave is longer, making men prone to longer and severe infection. With real time tests conducted on patients in Mumbai, India, found the gender disparity of the virus and reasons of why it can take a serious toll on men.

While Dr Jayanthi Shastri, the mother is the head of the Microbiology Department at Kasturba Hospital for Infectious Disease, Mumbai, Dr Aditi Shastri, the daughter is an Assistant Professor of Oncology at the Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

2. Prima Donnas of the Fine Arts: Mrinalini Sarabhai and Mallika Sarabhai

Dance is a graceful and a powerful art.

This captivating journey of a mother and daughter into the world of fine arts speaks about their inherent passion. They stir your souls with their rhythm. They are exponents and amongst the best in the country.

Late Mrinalini Sarabhai, a Padma Bhushan Awardee, conquered the classical world. She is regarded as the mother of the Fine Arts and a queen of tradition and heritage. Mrinalini Sarabhai, the legendary & distinguished dancer-choreographer founded Darpana Academy, Ahmedabad in 1949.

Mallika, the equally acclaimed danseuse daughter of Mrinalini Sarabhai is presently the director of Darpana. She has been trained as a classical dancer from a young age, having been inspired by her mother. A graduate MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, she chose fine arts and pursued her love to be a professional performer.

“Art is creation of beauty but it is also a powerful language that can express our deep emotions most effectively,” says Mallika. She has expanded her realm of creativity to being a choreographer, thespian, writer, a film maker and a publisher amongst others.

3. Women of the Waters:  Leena and Bhakti Sharma

Hailing from the city of lakes, Udaipur, India, the milestones achieved by this mother and daughter duo have made waves across the waters of the continents. They have excelled and made history. They are the Indian water women in sports. They are the pride of India.

“Moving from pools to deep waters, into the oceans and seas has changed the direction of my life,” says Bhakti, the young swimmer. Bhakti swam in the Antarctic Ocean at a temperature of 1°C breaking the world record. She had won a dozen swimming competitions, coached by her mother. Her mother Leena Sharma is her inspiration.

A former swimmer, Leena Sharma encouraged her daughter to take to the open waters. The magic happened when the duo became the first ever mother & daughter in the world in 2008 to swim the English Channel.

Indeed no mean feat learning swimming skills without a personal coach and to reach international water for these brave women of the waters.

4. The World is their Runway: Shweta and Jaya Shivakumar

Picking up the pieces and standing tall when the odds are against you is exactly what this mother-daughter duo did and they did just right.

Burning midnight oil for that entrance examination is one thing, but staying up to brainstorm on a name for a clothing brand is another. WHY SO BLUE was born out of love for designing fashionable clothes.

Mama Jaya was an inspiration the daughters and as she understood the passion for fashion in her daughter Shweta, she left no stone unturned. She stood like a pillar to see that the dream took shape. She decided that taking loans would never be the option and decided to gradually grow. Jaya herself had an interest in stitching and that came to the fore just when the duo needed it. The rest is history.

“Our brand stands for everything peppy and happy, something which will instantly lift the mood of the person donning the product,” says a happy, bubbly Shweta.

If this is not self help and women empowerment; what is?

5. History through my Wings: Aubrey Maben and Amy Mehta

It seemed like a kaleidoscope of the sun, the cottony clouds and the painted blue sky. But this was not a prism teasing the senses; this was real life, a real woman flying past the sun.

Aubrey Maben is India’s first female micro-light aircraft flying instructor as also the first woman to get a motor glider license. Embarking on a mission from Hyderabad in a motor glider to cover 21 countries in 80 days, the mother & daughter are on an adventure mission. They fly across Bangladesh, the Philippines, Japan, Russia, Alaska in the US, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the UK, Turkey and Iran.

Covering 21 countries was challenging and involved many a logistics issue. Also the stakes were high as it involved an aircraft, one pilot and varying weather conditions.

Audrey Maben had Amy Mehta her photographer daughter in this once-in-a-lifetime flying around the world. Amy was her companion and she was documenting the flight on the micro motor glider. Going down the pages of history as one of the firsts from a mother- daughter duo, they teach us that the impossible does not exist.

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