The story of Vidhi & Gaurav (name changed) looks at Vidhi’s amazing journey through a One year MBA juggling the duties of a mother and that of a student at the Indian School of Business.
The real life story is an excerpt from author Disha Chhabra’s, My Beloved’s MBA Plans – a collection of true stories tracing the lives of One year MBA students. The stories have a common thread running through them – how much are you willing to give up to fulfill your MBA dream?
Vidhi and Gaurav: A Risky Ride
Vidhi and Gaurav had been married for two years when Vidhi got a call from the Indian School of Business. Vidhi’s joy knew no bounds. Finally her dream was coming true. Gaurav got a job in Hyderabad so that they could be together. Gaurav and Vidhi moved into a family accommodation within the campus. Things were hunky dory till the day when Vidhi skipped her periods and realised she might be pregnant. She immediately went for a test and it turned out to be positive.
“I still remember that day. For every woman it’s one of the most special moments of her life when she knows she is carrying a life in her womb. I was happy too. But there were many other thoughts running in my head. I had paid a heavy price to be here – from the incredibly high fees to the fact that I had left my job. There were Gaurav’s sacrifices too. My mind was flooded with thoughts. I wondered whether I should drop out of ISB or continue. Whether I should have an abortion. So lost was I in all these thoughts that I did not even tell Gaurav about it till the time he came home.“
Gaurav tells us, “When Vidhi broke the news to me, I forgot about ISB for a few minutes and hugged her. I was going to become a dad. I was overjoyed. But when I saw the tension on Vidhi’s face, reality struck me. Within a fraction of second, I went blank and sat on the ground. What followed was an hour-long silence between us. We did not know whether we should be happy or sad. An executive education at ISB was an opportunity of a lifetime for Vidhi. But this moment was equally important.”
It was the most difficult decision of their lives. They had long discussions. They even discussed the matter with their close friends at ISB and with Vidhi’s doctor.
Vidhi explains, “Neither of us wanted to abort the child. We had recently met many of our friends who were having complications conceiving a child because they had not planned a baby at the right age or had aborted their first baby. We did not want to risk it. However, my friends who were present students at ISB told me it would be impossible for me to manage. I was confused but Gaurav dispelled all my fears. He was my biggest support. He promised to take good care of me. It was his love that helped me take the most difficult decision of my life – to continue at ISB and also continue with my pregnancy.”
Vidhi engaged a full-time maid to take care of everything at their accommodation. Gaurav opted to work from home to be around her. But things were easier said than done for Vidhi.
“I would be nauseous every morning. I could not push myself too much, nor could I skip a meal. Assignments could wait, but the baby needed good food on time. I skipped many classes. Sometimes I had bad mood swings making it difficult for me to even smile. Gaurav helped me with many of my assignments so that I could sleep on time. But thankfully, the teachers and my batch mates went out of their way to make sure I was comfortable. My friends would help me when I missed lectures. Everyone around seemed to be God’s angels and helped me in every possible manner.”
This story seems unbelievable, but it is Vidhi and Gaurav’s love that made the impossible possible. Vidhi did manage to pass every semester. But things were getting tougher as time went on.
“As the pregnancy advanced, I wanted a break from my studies. I even contemplated submitting an application to the college to allow me to continue the year after with the next batch. But Gaurav was always around and his care and patience kept things going. Sometimes he would be standing outside my classroom so that I could have a glass of juice between classes. I was touched by his concern for me and could have never imagined Gaurav doing all this for me. Earlier, I used to do everything for him while he either idled away at home or was busy with work. But it was the other way around now., He arranged for the doctors to regularly visit me on campus, kept a record of all my medicines, and made sure I had juice, milk and fruits regularly. Sometimes when I would get cranky, he would be a patient listener and would wait for me to calm down.”
I also spoke to some of Vidhi’s classmates on the phone and they told us how they were amazed at Vidhi’s determination.
“Very few of us thought that this was the right decision the couple had taken. Nevertheless, we wanted to make things easier for them and tried making Vidhi as comfortable as possibe. Gaurav is one of the best husbands of his generation, a true role model. So concerned was he that the schedule of her vaccines and the doctor visits was pasted on the walls of their hostel room just below Vidhi’s class schedule.”
Vidhi and Gaurav had decided not to break the news at home till much later. They knew that their parents might object to Vidhi continuing and make her come home.
“This was making things even more difficult. It was our first baby and we needed expert advice from the elders of our family. They deserved to know. But the flipside was that if they got to know they would come the very next day and make me pack my bags. Gaurav and I will always feel guilty of not telling them the news sooner.”
As time passed, while Vidhi’s course became more rigorous, she began to feel lethargic. By now, the entire teaching faculty knew about Vidhi and her case was discussed in the council meeting. The question was whether to give her some leniency in terms of marks. However, rules did not allow that.
Fortunately, this difficult phase passed and Vidhi gave birth to a little girl on 3rd December. The entire batch went to meet the little princess.
“That day, when we held the baby for the first time, everything seemed worth it. From then on, my friends not only took turns teaching me and helping me with my projects but also babysitting. Gaurav stayed up late with the baby as I slept early for my next day’s classes. This was affecting his job too, but he never complained.”
Vidhi skipped the campus placements as she wanted to take a break and take care of their daughter. After Vidhi’s post-graduation, Gaurav finally took on a long pending project and to compensate for the lost time. The couple have named their daughter Khwahish and she is soon going to be a year old.
“In hindsight, I am still not sure if we made the right decision.
It was a big risk. But then God, my husband and my batch mates made things easy for me. Whenever any of my batch mates go to Hyderabad, they make it a point to come and visit Khwahish.”
The couple’s journey has indeed been a unique one. Gaurav has been the perfect soulmate.. Khwahish is lucky to be born to such lovely parents. Some day she will grow up to know how exciting her birth was. Some day she may visit Khwahish palace – her birthplace where her parents’ dreams came true. Vidhi and Gaurav prove that no matter what the situation may be, personal and professional aspirations can go hand in hand provided there is love and support.
At the end of the day, we are happy that fairy tales exist in reality.