Anu Aga, Chairperson of Thermax, was always told that her main aim in life should be to get married. Her parents gave her brothers different messages than they gave her.
“If I showed my anger, I was scolded. My brothers were not allowed to show tears,” she said at the Women Writers’ Fest, organised by SheThePeople.TV, in Pune.
“The legacy I got from my parents was gender-biased. I was not encouraged to be a working woman,” says Aga
When Aga got married, she didn’t work. She spent her time meeting other ladies and socializing, and she enjoyed it greatly. However, her husband was a very progressive man. He encouraged her to think differently and join the business. He was not happy if she just played cards.
Joining the company
Aga decided to join the company when her husband’s health took a turn for the worse. She started off in the HR department, and enjoyed the experience thoroughly. When he passed away, the company’s executives asked her to become chairperson. “I cried and said no. I am not the right person,” I thought. “I went for Vipassana, and I realized that all I had to do was give out my best. Nobody can be expected to do anything else,” she says.
Aga also realized that she could not compare herself with anyone. “You can never be the person you compare yourself to,” she said. “You just have to give out what you can.”
Don’t be restricted by cultural messaging
“My legacy is that you are a human being first and then you decide what you want,” she says. “It is up to you if you want to marry, and produce children.”
She never gave her son and daughter different messages. “I never told my son to have as many girlfriends as he wants, and told my daughter to be a virgin,” she says.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
“I was never afraid to ask for help,” says Aga. She recounts how she brought in a consultancy to help turn Thermax around. She also says that she has never found a man who could bring her down.
Get rid of your guilt
“The only difference between a man and a woman is the plumbing,” she says. “But in our society, there is an expectation on the woman. Even if she has an important job and is busy, if someone is sick, she has to be the one to take care of them.”
She says that guilt is the most useless feeling, and urges women to get rid of their guilt and go live their lives!