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Storyboard18 | To Her, With Love: HCL's Srimathi Shivashankar uses lessons she learnt from her grandmother in her work and life

In a ‘joint family’ in India, where one grows up with grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins, ‘teamwork with discipline’ was the only way of life.

March 04, 2022 / 05:30 PM IST
Srimathi Shivashankar, corporate vice president, HCL Technologies.

Srimathi Shivashankar, corporate vice president, HCL Technologies.

Every drop counts: Srimathi Shivashankar, corporate vice president, HCL Technologies

I hail from Ariyalur, a village in Tamil Nadu in South India and grew up in an environment where it was imbibed that ‘less is more.’ In a household which is termed as ‘joint family’ in India, where one grows up with grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins, ‘teamwork with discipline’ was the only way of life. There were ‘processes’ and ‘standardization of schedules’ in the household that did not differentiate ‘earners and caregivers.’

My paternal grandmother is one of my role models for imbibing values that promoted “Vasudeva Kutumbh” which means World is one family. My grandma was always up by 4 a.m. and would start preparing food for the household. She would always keep aside a handful of rice in a pot and donated the same to any temple or charity every month. Whoever was up early hours of the day in the household were also asked to join this exercise. The intent was to contribute every day for a cause that you believe in. I witnessed how this small deed everyday helped the communities during famine and other emergencies in the village. 

I learnt at a very early stage in life the concept of charity, and how it has to be integrated into everyday life. Later in my career I applied this in HCL, through the “Power of one” program, where employees volunteered to give INR 1 a day for community actions and adopted a cause to service one day in a year. My grandma taught me that money is not needed to transform the world but sharing what you have in excess every day in your own way and advocating the same with your teams will go a long way.

‘To her, with love’ is a Storyboard18 special series where women in leadership tell us about the women who inspired them and led the way. A shout-out to her.
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