Let me take you back in time...
10th Jan 2003
I had to come to Bangalore to attend an interview for my next potential job. About 850 kilometers away, 'SHE' - my wife Vinita, was pregnant and stayed back in Andhra Pradesh with my mother and daughter (5 years then). We were expecting the delivery in next 2 weeks, so we thought I have time to attend the interview and be back home in 2 or 3 days.
11th Jan 2003, about 12:30 PM
Vinita felt some discomfort, itching on her body and thought to see the doctor in the clinic in our colony where we lived. Let me give you some more background. Back then, I used to work as an Instrumentation & Control Engineer for a process industry which was in a remote location next to a river. Being remote, the location didn't have a good hospital nearby. The hospital we were visiting during her pregnancy was about 110 Kms and used to take about 3.5 hours to reach. No doubt this was a long distance to be covered during an emergency.
The doctor checked her condition and said that things look fine and there is no need to worry. As her delivery time is nearing, she might be feeling so. She came home, however she was still not comfortable. She took the medication prescribed for the itch and slept.
11th Jan 2003, about 4:00 PM
She got up again due to discomfort and this time, she also saw some blood. She got worried and decided to walk back to the clinic (about 700m from our home) to meet the doctor again. Her intuition said that the situation is not normal and she needs to do something about this. As things turned out, her intuition was right.
She talked to the doctor about her condition and thought process. Hearing her, the doctor suggested her to go to the hospital she has been visiting for the checkup as the clinic doesn't have enough infrastructure to deal with emergencies. But by then it was already about 4:45 PM and darkness would start setting in very soon. Being a remote place, getting a cab at that time was also a challenge. She told the doctor to inform her if she comes to know of a cab ready to go to the hospital in the city and returned home to try to arrange for transport herself. Unfortunately, she couldn't get any. But like it is said, God always help those who help themselves.
11th Jan 2003, about 6:45 PM
To her pleasant surprise, she got a call from the doctor that a car, which came to the colony to drop one guest, is returning back to the city immediately and she could tag along. Without any hesitation and delay, she packed the required items and boarded the cab with my mother and daughter. One of our family friends (husband and wife) also accompanied her. During the whole journey of about 3.5 hours, she maintained her composure and kept praying for the safety of the child in her womb. All this while, her discomfort and bleeding kept increasing, but she didn't lose her patience knowing that it would jeopardize the whole situation and might put the child in danger.
It was unfortunate that I wasn't present to help out in such a dire situation, and the lack of proper phone or mobile connectivity, meant she couldn't even inform me. However he was determined to save the life of the child, even at the cost of her own.
11th Jan 2003, about 10:45 PM
The car reached the hospital and she was rushed to the Operation Theatre. Fortunately, the doctor was already in hospital due to another unrelated emergency which was, by then, resolved. Local anesthesia was given. As soon as the doctor began the operation, she fell pale as she found that the umbilical cord had ruptured and the child was submerged in a pool of blood. The doctor, along with her team of nurses, took immediate steps to ensure the child and the mother were both safe.
At 11:00 PM, my son was born, and my wife was also healthy. All's well that ends well!
After returning from Bangalore 2 days later, my wife narrated the whole story to me. While I felt sorry for not being there with her, I felt so proud and happy how well she had handled the whole situation. I really appreciate her.
This incident was an eye opener for me. Would I have been able to handle the same situation with as much patience, resolve and courage? Or would I have jeopardized the whole situation by creating panic, confusion and mess? Even in business related matters, I feel proud to say that her suggestions and decisions and much practical and yield better results.
In this real life story, there are multiple instances where I can sense the power she possesses, her strengths like intuition, courage, decision making, sacrifice, fighting spirit, self-sufficiency and much more. I feel she has everything that is needed to handle an emergency or a crisis. I have grown up seeing my Mother, have been spending my life with Vinita and now seeing my Daughter growing up into that mould. The women have, throughout my life, set examples for what strength and resiliency looks like. And for that, I tip my hat to them.
Thank you Vinita, for being the strongest support of my life! Though I might not have said this often to her, but I have meant it always.
I am sure many of you would agree to this and would have similar stories to share from your real lives. Feel free to share your experiences.
We have a lot of examples in the world where Women leaders have proven their capabilities. I had recently been on the panel discussion at one of the events. I talked about this good report from McKinsey called ‘Diversity Wins’, which was published in May 2020. It is a study from 15 Countries and more than 1000 large companies, where they found that companies who are topping the list in gender diversity, were 25% more likely to have above average profits compared to those who are at the bottom of the list.