I Be­lieve

Savvy - - Contents - In­ter­viewed by Vin­o­dini Kr­ish­naku­mar

Cricket su­per­star Suresh Raina’s wife Priyanka on love, nav­i­gat­ing life as a crick­eter’s wife and work­ing for causes that are close to her heart

“I be­lieve as women, we need to stand by and up­lift each other! The power of a woman is bound­less! We can cre­ate, nur­ture and trans­form the world. We can be silent but not ig­no­rant, we can be calm but not ac­cep­tant, we can be kind but not weak. We can hap­pily put aside our wishes to make oth­ers pros­per! It’s a mat­ter of re­al­iz­ing our strengths be­cause we are ca­pa­ble of do­ing things beyond our imag­i­na­tion.

“We are the back­bone of so­ci­ety and that’s what makes all women savvy! Let’s em­brace all savvy women!”

I may be a techie-turned-so­cial ac­tivist, a crick­eter’s wife, a mother… But what de­fines Priyanka Raina is the fact that she strongly be­lieves in the phi­los­o­phy: If you have an idea, a dream, go for it! Re­al­ize your strength and your pow­ers! And the world will be your oys­ter…


I was born in Ghazi­abad in UP. My fa­ther Te­j­pal Singh worked for the Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment and my mother Sushila Singh is a home­maker. In Ghazi­abad, we stayed in the Ord­nance Fac­tory Es­tate – a huge cam­pus where ev­ery­body work­ing with the Ord­nance Fac­tory and their fam­i­lies lived. My fa­ther was a math­e­mat­ics teacher and also a lec­turer of Hindi lit­er­a­ture at the Ord­nance Fac­tory School.

I have two older broth­ers, Abhishek and Vivek. Abhishek works with Cog­nizance and Vivek has his own ven­ture. Both are mar­ried with a son each and set­tled in Gur­gaon. We share a great re­la­tion­ship and they have al­ways been my sup­port sys­tem and my best friends.

The Ord­nance Fac­tory Es­tate was very green, fresh and very pro­tected. In­ci­den­tally, Suresh (Raina) was also born in the same city. We went to schools close by and al­most grew up to­gether. I went to a girls’ school, while he went to a boys’ school just across the street, where my fa­ther taught.

I come from a Jatt fam­ily, and I had a very sim­ple and en­cour­ag­ing up­bring­ing. My par­ents raised us with very high val­ues and em­pa­thy to­wards ev­ery­one. They al­ways taught us to live with ethics and com­pas­sion. And be it my broth­ers or me, we had a very equal kind of en­vi­ron­ment at home. I was never treated dif­fer­ently from my broth­ers - if they were given any priv­i­leges or en­cour­age­ment to do things they wanted to, I was given that too.


I was very stu­dious and was the high­est scorer in school. I stud­ied in a coed school till pri­mary, af­ter which I joined the Jawa­har­lal Girls’ School. School life was fun and I was very ac­tively in­volved in ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties like clas­si­cal danc­ing, mu­sic and scout camps. I trained in bharat­natyam for seven years and did a lot of stage per­for­mances.

As a kid though, I al­ways wanted to join the in­tel­li­gence ser­vices or even be­come a pri­vate de­tec­tive! I think that was the ef­fect of watch­ing too many By­omkesh Bak­shi shows when young. An­other crazy thing I wanted to do was be a trav­eller. I guess that was be­cause the cul­ture at home was not much into trav­el­ling. We did some fam­ily trips but it was not like ev­ery sum­mer we went on a hol­i­day. And maybe be­cause I missed it so much as a kid, I wanted to grow up and just travel…


As a stu­dent, how­ever, I was al­ways in­clined to­wards science and math­e­mat­ics. I re­mem­ber ex­plor­ing my brother’s (who

I was very stu­dious and was the high­est scorer in school. As a kid though, I al­ways wanted to join the in­tel­li­gence ser­vices or even be­come a pri­vate de­tec­tive!

was do­ing his engi­neer­ing in com­puter science) books when I was still in class 10. I would read all about the tech­ni­cal lan­guages, pro­gram­ming etc and get very in­ter­ested in com­put­ers. So af­ter school, I went to KIET (Kr­ishna In­si­ti­tute of Engi­neer­ing and Tech­nol­ogy), which was near our house, to study engi­neer­ing.

Col­lege life was full of heavy books and as­sign­ments. Four years went by quickly, as ev­ery­thing around was very com­pet­i­tive. We had se­mes­ter ex­ams ev­ery six months and ev­ery­one wanted to be a univer­sity top­per. So that phase was very busy.


Af­ter com­plet­ing my B.Tech in In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy, my first job was in the IT sec­tor - with Wipro in Ban­ga­lore. I worked there for about two years, but was out of In­dia most of the time. We were 80 stu­dents from our col­lege who were placed at Wipro, and we all moved there to­gether.

Life was def­i­nitely dif­fer­ent, es­pe­cially in terms of be­ing more in­de­pen­dent, man­ag­ing your stay, trans­porta­tion, food, laun­dry etc… Ev­ery­thing was new but also ex­cit­ing at the same time, as fi­nally you’ve started earn­ing on your own and are mak­ing a life for your­self. My par­ents, in fact, were so con­fi­dent of me that they did not even come to Ban­ga­lore to drop me off - they were like, you book your flight and just go (haha)... Be­sides, Ban­ga­lore is a city teem­ing with peo­ple like us – com­ing to start their ca­reers from scratch. So ad­just­ing here was easy.


Af­ter about a year, I was sent to Nether­lands for six months on a project. When I came back to In­dia, I got an of­fer from ING Bank (in Nether­lands) - they had their head­quar­ters in Amsterdam. It was a good op­por­tu­nity and I de­cided to move back.

Luck­ily, for me, I didn’t have to con­vince my par­ents to al­low me to work in an­other coun­try. In fact, they were more con­fi­dent than me about my abil­i­ties, and that was very en­cour­ag­ing. Be­sides, since I had al­ready spent six months in Nether­lands, they knew that I was pretty well-versed with the city and the cul­ture. They were, in fact, re­ally happy for me, and this time too they didn’t come to see me off or any­thing (haha)…


Liv­ing in Nether­lands was a very en­rich­ing ex­pe­ri­ence pro­fes­sion­ally as well as cul­tur­ally. I was work­ing with peo­ple from all over the world and made friends with peo­ple from dif­fer­ent cul­tures and back­grounds. I also picked up Dutch and had the chance to in­dulge in dif­fer­ent cuisines.

I vis­ited my par­ents fre­quently, and so did they. I loved trav­el­ling and could fi­nally ex­plore many places in Europe. Some of the friends I made there have re­mained very close. Some have moved to New

Liv­ing in Nether­lands was a very en­rich­ing ex­pe­ri­ence pro­fes­sion­ally as well as cul­tur­ally. I loved trav­el­ling and could fi­nally ex­plore many places in Europe.

I’ve known Suresh since I was seven years old. Since we stayed close by, we were part of the same cul­tural func­tions and dance per­for­mances.

Zealand, some to Eng­land and some to Dubai. So it’s fun hav­ing friends ev­ery­where…

Life there was very con­ve­nient too. Be­cause the coun­try is so or­ga­nized, I learned to be very or­ga­nized too. I would wake up on time, go to work, be back on time, cook my din­ner, hit the gym, come back home, have my din­ner, sleep on time… I lived a very sched­uled life.

As for work, I grew from a test man­ager, look­ing into qual­ity-re­lated stuff and han­dling a team of four-five peo­ple, to a prod­uct man­ager and then a risk man­ager, han­dling a team of 30-40 peo­ple. It was ex­cit­ing ca­reer-wise too. I also did a cou­ple of diplo­mas in lead­er­ship man­age­ment from the Rot­ter­dam School of Man­age­ment (Eras­mus Univer­sity) there.


Nine years passed by re­ally soon, and then mar­riage hap­pened… Well, mar­riage and chil­dren were some­thing I had not en­vi­sioned for my­self at all as I was so busy trav­el­ling and work­ing, but des­tiny had other plans…

Like I said ear­lier, I’ve known Suresh since I was seven years old. We’ve been friends since child­hood and he was friends with my broth­ers too. Since we stayed close by, we were also part of the same cul­tural func­tions and dance per­for­mances. But I re­mem­ber from the time he was re­ally small, he was into sports. He used to spend a lot of time on the ground prac­tis­ing and play­ing bas­ket­ball and cricket. Cricket, how­ever, was never my thing…

When he was 14, he moved out of Ghazi­abad as he went to the sports school in Luc­know and af­ter that I didn’t see him much. I got busy with my col­lege and when I

Li’l Priyanka with her broth­ers; shin­ing in school

Pho­to­graph: Anuj Parti Makeup & Hair: San­jay Arora

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.