BENGALURU: As an entrepreneur who was trying to prove herself in the startup space, at a time when the word was barely in currency, Biocon CMD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw often interacted with John Shaw who was then the chairman of Madura Coats. Seven years on, when he moved to Europe, Mazumdar-Shaw recalls visiting him in Amsterdam. Which is when he proposed to her, and within a short while, the two tied the knot.
While the first year saw a lot of shuttling, Mazumdar-Shaw recalls telling him that one of them needed to give up their job. “I said that won’t be me. John agreed since he felt that I was building a business while he was working for an already established set up,” Mazumdar-Shaw shared at the launch of Sudha Murty’s book, The Daughter from a Wishing Tree at Crossword Bookstore, where the two were in conversation.
Murty’s book is dedicated to Shaw. In the book, she brings to the fore women in Indian mythology who might be fewer in number, but whose stories of strength and mystery are many.
From Parvati and Ashok Sundari to Bhamati and Mandodari, the collection features women who frequently led wars on behalf of the gods, were the backbone of their families and makers of their own destinies. “My book focuses on lesser women in mythology. It’s an attempt to remind readers of the strong female influences in their life.My book is dedicated to John because he stands by women,” Murty said, adding that while women goddesses are worshipped, they are hardly appreciated otherwise.
While Murty was one of the few girls in her engineering college 50 years ago (now, when she goes back to her college, she sees boys in a minority, with over 50 per cent girls enrolling for the course), Mazumdar-Shaw was one of the first ones in the entrepreneurial space. She recalled the challenges of being a trailblazer, including facing rejection from banks and employees. “Today, we have 12,000 employees. To succeed, you must not give up,” Mazumdar-Shaw said, adding that her father was keen she did something with her education. “To this day, my 88-year-old mother continues to run her business actively,” said Mazumdar-Shaw.