Author Sudha Murty, who has been awarded the Padma Bhushan this year, today shared four points of advice for her husband and Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy, son-in-law and UK PM Rishi Sunak, and daughter Akshata Murty, particularly on how to face controversies.
"People who are in the limelight, they will always have controversy," she said, urging them, and others, to "be morally and ethically right, and work sincerely". Among the first backers of her husband's company — she gave him Rs 10,000 as the company was founded in 1981 — she also listed having patience as a top requirement, and the wisdom to know one's limits.
"Everyone has a capacity, but also limitations," she told NDTV in an interview days after she was chosen for India's third highest civilian honour.
She had life advice for women in general too, especially for those who have to juggle personal life with their profession. "I want to tell all Indian women, that once the children come, they become the priority. When you rejoin (your profession), you won't join at the same level. But remember, age is no bar. It is your passion that takes you to the top, and a good support system," Ms Murty said.
She cited her own life: "When I took a back seat in my career, I never thought this [career in writing] would be possible... It was difficult for me because I was a technocrat and I liked working in a technical company. But, instead of cribbing, I decided to do something else."
Originally an engineer and computer sciences expert, she has written over 20 books, some of which have inspired TV series.
"I have a passion for writing, I used to write in Kannada... When my first book in English was published, it was a turning point in my life because then it could be translated into all Indian languages... I was able to reinvent myself," she added.
She addressed being rich - Infosys is among the world's top IT companies - and said, "Status is all about mindset... Money is very important in life, because then you can help more people. [But] what is there to show off in wealth? There were rich people before me, and [will be] after me."
On backing her husband with Rs 10,000 of her savings as he sought to establish an IT firm in the late 1970s-early 1980s, she said, "I gave it to him for his dream. In case it wasn't successful, we would have gone back to my house. All I wanted was a two-bedroom house and a scooter.
Asked about being India's "favourite grandmother", she said, "I grew up with a lot of cultural wealth. Today, there is no opportunity to share this wealth with the next generation because grandparents don't usually live with the grandchildren. This is why I write. I joke that now I have become the nation's 'Ajji'. Children come up to me at airports with my book 'Gopi' about my dog and call me 'Gopi's Ajji'."
Asked who is boss at home, she said, "Independent of our positions of power, we are equal. In human relations, I am the boss. I have a lot of patience. In tech issues, my husband is the boss."
On whom she called after the Padma awards list carried her name, she said the first two were her husband and daughter.