The IIM student who is also a mother of four
The hand that rocks the cradle can also burn the midnight oil, when project-work or assignments have to be submitted the next morning.
That means finding the seamless balance between being a mother and a student.
Shweta Mallick, who is in the first year at the Indian Institute of Management, Raipur, plays both the roles, rather effortlessly.
But what sets Shweta apart from all other 'mothers' at other MBA institutes that she has four kids back home, a pair of twins aged two, a daugher who is seven years old and a younger daughter aged four.
What also spaces her out from others, is that she does not believe in getting her kids or family on campus to stay with her, she rather talk with them on Skype every day.
Indore-based Shweta Mallick comes off as an exceptionally poised woman, far from what one would expect a mother living apart from her tiny tots, to be.
Whether the confidence comes from the fact that she is 34 years old, her previous 5 years work-experience in the State Bank of India or because she is the mother of four, is hard to tell.
"My sister and her husband are both doctors in Mumbai, my brother and his wife are both IIM graduates, and my husband holds a high position in a bank so I guess it all rubbed off on me to do something more. And it was my mother who often told me that I needed to do something much more with life along with being a mother and banker," Shweta said.
Shweta worked from 2001 to 2006, thereafter quit because her first baby was born and she wanted to be a full-time mother.
Post the birth of her first child, Shweta took on a part-time job of a teacher and also pursued art in a mjor way.
Shweta's husband is as permissive in his thinking as Shweta, and the drive behind her pronouncement to resume studies.
Shweta graduated in Life Sciences in 1999.
In fact, during the interview process at IIM Lucknow, she was asked about her decision to come back to academics since 'studying-fathers' is common at MBA institutes but studying-mothers is not, that too when there are four children involved.
Her only response was that she be viewed as a student, not as a woman or a mother.
Shweta's Common Admission Test score was 99.36 percentile.
Besides her husband and children, Shweta also owes much to her mother.
"I lost my father last year and we asked my mother to come over and stay with us to get her mind off the grief. And now that she is at home, she is looking after my kids," the mother-student informs.
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Image: Shweta Mallick with her kids
Photographs: Courtesy Pagalguy.com
'I miss my children but this is what I have decided for myself'
As a student, Shweta is full-time immersed in studies.
She takes part in as many activities in the institute and is game for all the excursions and extra-curricular activities. She works late on assignments and is as much involved group work as any other.
So does the mother feel guilty at all?
"No, why feel guilty? My children are in good hands and they are happy I am doing what I want to, so why should I feel guilty" Shweta asks.
Besides, the mother has made ample provisions at home.
A huge play room with teaching aids and toys was all set-up before IIM Raipur happened. In that room, a wall which has a list of 'things-to-do' and another wall that has a list of 'mummy-says--things-to-do' take place of pride.
Besides, two full time maids have also been employed for the children.
For Shweta, getting into an IIM was important, the location was not.
"If I had a choice, it would have been IIM Indore but for me any IIM is good enough. The brand works. Yes, I miss my children but this is what I have decided for myself as of now. I missed three of their birthdays last six months," she shrugs her shoulders.
She has not decided on what to do with her MBA degree. Now, that she is into the grind, a successful career is in her mind but she wants to flow with the rigor of the course and decide later.
Her mind is full-up now. She has her next project to think of and also her student club acitivities.
From the four children, the twins miss her the most and make sure she knows that on Skype.
Her second daughter who is the most pampered gets a earful from her mother every day since 'brushing teeth' is not one of her favourite activities.
The eldest has taken on an interesting role. She is most concerned about her 'mummy's classroom' and keeps tabs on her academic performance.
And probably, it's these memories that keep Shweta Mallick, the super-mom going about her student life everyday because she has met her children only twice after joining IIM Raipur -- both during the term breaks.
Shweta plans to take them all on her summer internship.
Image: Shweta (fourth from the left) poses with her batchmates at the institute
Photographs: Courtesy IIM Raipur