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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Meandering and Random thoughts on Indra Nooyi's " Women can't have it all "

By now, unless we live in the fictitious and magical world of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, we would be well aware that Indra Nooyi  has confessed to not having it all, inspite of , or maybe because of, being CEO PepsiCo. The candid moment came during the course of  an interview Nooyi gave to David Bradley of The Atlantic. Nooyi's remark(s) has sparked off intense debates and  discussions ,and also 'me too' confessions from other working women . Barkha Dutt's signature programme ,We the People, devoted an hour, an engrossing hour,  to the  question which has no answer- can women have it all?

Many, nay most,  questions have no clear answers. Even the simple questions throw one into paroxysms of doubt and uncertainty.  The black dress or the red one? love marriage or arranged? your place or mine? And then later, when  the die has been  cast and you have gone in for that boy you were dating since your sophomore year you realize that he is so not it.

Homo sapiens, most of us,  are by default good  observers- of  people , families, relationships. Our collective  voyeurism has  taught us a bit and  then some  more about human psychology .  One lesson which we, the voyeurs, would  have learnt by now,  relevant in the present context, is that no one, almost no one has it all. We can't have it all because there is no all- as in this much and no more - for us. As Holmes would have succinctly put it," its elementary ,my dear Watson".At no stage can any of us declare-"I have it all".

 And so, when one comes back to Nooyi's  headlines making statement, one is ever so slightly surprised. Why is it making headlines? Yes, Nooyi is obviously saying something she believes is true and  yes, the interview is an interesting read . But does it make me sympathize with her? No, it doesn't. On the contrary , and specially when one looks at the many women who are trying to make it somewhere in life- without any support system in place, it makes me want to say - " Ms Nooyi, you may not have it all ( remember: no one does)but you do have a lot". The lot I am referring to is the support  any working woman looks for." You have your mother( ahem!), your husband and your office staff. Plus, you have yourself".

Believe me,  it's a whole lot more than what your sorority of sisters have.


  1. I completely agree with you, Anju. No offence meant to her, but Ms Nooyi really does not realise how blessed she is to have the support of her family and staff compared to some other lesser mortals who have none of it. They still make it in life with just their innate strength and will power to fight all odds and make a place for themselves in this world.
    No one, really, has it all.