If , like a typical wife, I go through Devendra’s pockets, I find no money. On the other hand, I often have to lend him money from my purse… this keeps me sticking to my job as a banker irrespective of my husband’s stature!
Jokes apart, I have always guarded my professional life zealously from my personal life. I may use a little political connection to help deserving causes as a banker, but I will not be one of those causes. I am ambitious, I have worked hard to make my way up the corporate ladder at Axis bank; I have hopped skipped and jumped ( that is took lateral transfers, worked in different departments till I found the one that ideally suited my temperament and my skills I began my job as a cashier, then moved to Government business, then premium banking and finally wealth management). I will one day break the glass ceiling and reach the top echelons of the Bank, but that will be as Amruta, not Amruta Fadnavis. Don’t get me wrong; I am very proud to be Devendra Fadnavis’ wife – and I am happy that the pride is mutual. He has always supported me in my career goals and prevented me from taking the emotional decision to resign when my daughter was a baby and I thought she needed me more and was all set to resign. He convinced me that we would manage; that having a working mom would be best for our daughter too and she would understand. She has – she is a very mature person for her age! If I had resigned from my job then it would have been very difficult to get back into the professional groove. It always is for anyone who takes a gap: the world moves ahead and you are left behind. Typically twice in her life any girl can fall prey to this temptation of resigning – once when she gets married and then when she becomes a mother. It is for every person to live her life as she wants, but she must think hard and long before making impulsive decisions that can permanently set her back in her career. Look before you leap!
Coming back to breaking the glass ceiling – that is one of the reasons I chose Banking as a career and why it is an ideal job for a woman. It is easier in this industry for a woman to reach the top – if you see, even in India, most of the women who are CEOs or Managing Directors or Chairpersons of their organization, are with various banks.
Women are natural bankers, They understand finance instinctively – even illiterate women down the years have managed to run their homes well on the most meager of budgets. They understand debit and credit, you don’t need to teach a wife when to debit the hubby and credit herself!
The rules and laws are more women – friendly in banks. Today even more so than earlier. Whether it comes to giving paid maternity leaves or strict laws to prevent sexual harassment. When there is a charge of this happening, the natural sympathy lies with the alleged victim and it is for the perpetrator – in most cases the boss – to prove his innocence. Even if the boss is a woman and the harassed person a man.
I was always a studious person and stood among the top 3 in my class rank wise. But I had fun too, my life did not revolve round just books and classes. I studied in St. Joseph’s convent, Nagpur and I had a great time enjoying school life with my group of friends. We are in touch even now through various social networks and look forward to our get- togethers.
I always knew I was going to be a professional, a career woman. With my mother being a gynecologist – she is in her sixties and still does 2 to 3 deliveries a day -and my father too an opthalmologist with his successful private practice it was a given that I would grow up and work too. But I never wanted to be a Doctor! I could not even stand the smell of spirit or the sight of an injection. I was elder of two siblings. My brother is 4 years younger than me and even he did not chose to study medicine. He is an engineer and runs his own business.
What I wanted to do became clear to me when I was doing MBA from Tirpude Institute of Management, Nagpur. I had two majors – Marketing and Finance. I realized that banking would be one career I could use my knowledge and talent in both subjects. I was also a ‘people’s person’ : good at interpersonal relationships and that is a must to be a successful banker. You also have to be diligent, hardworking, prompt at your desk work and also ready to move in the market. You need street smarts and at the same time have to be competitive and goal oriented. They drive you hard to achieve targets and I never defaulted on any target set for me by my bosses. Even when they knew my husband was a successful politician and rapidly rising up the political ladder I was never giving easy tasks or soft targets. They (Axis bank management) have been fair with me; neither indulgent nor harsh.
When I finished my MBA I went to Pune to study Taxation laws at Symbiosis, Pune. Then I had to repeatedly go to Mumbai to appear for the Axis Bank entrance exams. Axis bank was comparatively a new private bank in the Indian scene but it had already gathered a very good standing and was fast emerging as an Indian MNC with presence in other countries too. It seemed like a good place to work in. Today, they have exams at many centres but then they had centralized recruitment from Mumbai. One theory exam followed by two rounds of interviews. After I had cleared all and been selected, they wanted me to join at their Mumbai office itself. But my parents did not allow this; they wanted me to work in Nagpur and be with them till I was married.
My marriage was a traditional, arranged marriage and I had a fair idea of my to be husband’s political aspirations and early success in this field. But somehow, I knew he was also not the type of husband who would stand in the way of his wife’s career or want her to ‘sacrifice’ her work to help in his goals. My in laws too have been unstinting in their support. Devendra never forces me to accompany him on his social- political outings and I seldom do. The only time I made an exception was during the recent elections when the stakes were high and he needed me to contribute equally to the campaigning. Also since, he has become the CM, I find myself being invited as chief guests to many dos and events. I select the ones I find meaningful and interesting; I think I too owe it to society to contribute more as the Chief Minister’s wife. It is my obligation but I also plan to use my ‘bargaining power’ and influence to get help from my bank and from the government for causes I care for. Empowerment of women; saving the girl child and helping out people in backward, impoverished areas like Melghat are issues I would like to contribute to.
My advise for any girl wanting to join the profession of banking? Doing an MBA is a must and also preparing well for various Banks’ entrance exams. You must also make sure you have the aptitude and the attitude to be a banker and enjoy being around people.
Associate Vice President, Axis Bank