As part of the Star Plus Nayi Soch initiative, we unveil a series of father-daughter interviews that challenge gender stereotypes and give a glimpse into this very special bond.
Shashi Sinha, CEO of IPG Mediabrands India, is well known for his colossal work in the advertising and media industry. Here, he and his daughter Ritika Sinha, who works at Hindustan Unilever, tell us how their relationship helps them to be the very best they can be in their respective roles.
Empowerment through freedom
Ritika tells us that her father always tried to avoid influencing her decisions. “When I was just finishing school, I kept asking him for advice and he would say ‘do anything you want’. I was frustrated because I was looking for guidance from him, but I realised that he was only trying to avoid influencing my decisions. That was his way of empowering me and helping me have faith in my own decisions,” she recalls.
Sinha laughs in response and says, “I should add that I was delighted when she chose to pursue Economics in college. My only endeavour while she was growing up was to ensure that she did more than just get good grades. I wanted her to be a well-rounded person, involved in extra-curricular activities, and I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
Having fun at work
The proud father, while staying away from imparting too much advice, adds, “I think the only thing I ever really tried to impress on Ritika was that while she’ll have to work hard, she also needs to enjoy her work and to keep things light-hearted.”
To which Ritika adds, “Yes, he always tells me never to sweat the small stuff. I have to admit that I don’t know how my dad fits so much into his schedule effortlessly. From the very beginning, we could tell how passionate he is about his work and that’s how he makes it look very easy, but it is not.”
Sinha tells us that in his growing years, he never saw any discrimination between him and his sisters. “My father was perhaps stricter with us (boys) than with my sisters. But there was no special treatment as such for any of us. We were brought up with strong values of love and respect.”
Ritika adds, “My dad brought us up the same way that his parents did, except not as strictly. Growing up and even now at work, I see my accomplishments as they are. I don’t see it as the accomplishment of a girl or a woman. I suppose it was easier to overlook common stereotypes because I was fortunate in my upbringing.”