In the movie Abhimaan, insecure Subir Kumar (played by Amitabh Bachchan) gets jealous of his wife (played by Jaya Bachchan)'s success and not just ruins her career but also their marriage. That was 1970s. But, 50 years later, has the dynamics changed? Not really. Most husbands still feel insecure about their wives being more successful or earning higher than they do. Besides, domestic responsibilities are still considered women's job.
However, the conjugal bonding between Sanjay Purohit, Group CEO of Sapphire Foods and Apurva Purohit, President of Jagran Prakashan Group is a refreshing tale of how a power couple should be. The Purohits have been together for the last 30 years.
Why is Sanjay not intimidated by Apurva's success? He says because his mother was an accomplished lady. "Family influences you deeply. When you see strong women around you while growing up, you don't feel intimidated. It's normal."
Apurva says she still sees lot of female middle managers leaving their jobs to devote more time to home and kids. "By doing that they are doing a disservice not only to themselves but also to the next generation because the next generation needs to see working mothers; only then sons will grow up to be equal parents."
Equality in marriage is important, especially for the successful career of the female partner since the societal and cultural expectations put more pressure on them to be a 'good' wife, mother and daughter-in-law. What becomes important is to have a clear view of what marriage entails.
Apurva says that millennials' expectations from a marriage are widely misaligned with the reality. Millennials today are stuck with the idea of having their own space and living an independent life. That is living together, not marriage, says Apurva. On the other extreme are those who expect their spouses to be their best friends, partner in crimes, cheerleaders and advisors - all in one person. "In life, that doesn't happen. It's said in friendship you need six different types of friends. It is similar in marriage. There are expectations but you also need to have separate interests and different people feeding different parts of you. It is important to have separation along with togetherness in a relationship," she adds.
For a successful marriage, Sanjay says, it is important to listen to each other but more important is to listen to understand. "If you believe the other person has your best interests at heart and both of you add value in each other's life, you evolve as a person."
Understanding is important because the romantic aura of a marriage lasts only for few initial years beyond which there are no pink balloons, cards or roses. "Ultimately it is about respect and shared values that make a relationship last. With respect comes trust. That helps in accepting the criticism and feedback," says Apurva.
Taking cues from corporate practice where there is a constant endeavour to get different departments such as marketing, HR and sales to collaborate with each other; Apurva says same philosophy should be applied at home too. "It is not about one partner or the other. It is about both together. It is important to see yourself as a unit and do what is best for the unit."
"Whatever you dream, you can have it, but not all at the same time. The only difference between successful women and the rest is that the former has worked very, very hard," says Apurva.
The Purohits were speaking at Business Today's Most Powerful Women awards ceremony.
Also read: Business Today honours 'Most Powerful Women' who broke the glass ceiling in corporate India