Varsha Pattni is a true example of the unconditional power of women and how you can achieve both a successful career and a happy home. I truly believe that we have within us, all the resources we need, to be able to handle anything we are handed.
Varsha is a true inspiration; always smiling and giving to others. I can’t wait to watch her daughter Sona reach the Paralympics in the coming years. Will be a proud moment for the community.
Read Varsha’s account first hand…
I was asked by an ardent committee member of the PPA to share with other community members what a typical day in my life consisted of. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am sure it is not that dissimilar to all of yours and realised by sharing, we may find common ground amongst each other and a realisation that no matter how your day gets, you’re not alone J
6am: The dreaded alarm clock goes off and you get that feeling. You know the one I mean…where you can’t believe it’s already morning! Although it may feel like I’m sprinting out of bed – what I actually manage is to crawl out conscious of the fact mayhem will erupt if a delay in my timing interrupts with her routine. Should be avoided at all cost
Sona, our younger daughter with special needs, requires assistance with her regular day to day tasks. Those of you who know her will undoubtedly agree with me that she is an angel, but, unfortunately sees no need to conform to a timetable. In my opinon, like every other girl I know
7am: Ensure Sona is all ready to be picked up by her school bus to take her to a special school in High Wycombe, an hour’s drive from Stanmore.
7:45am: Leave home with Meera, our 18-year-old, to drop her to Edgware Station en route. Like every weekday morning, the roads are heaving with traffic and the journey which should be no more than 15 minutes takes approximately 45 minutes. A route I have become accustomed to
My admiration goes out to all those cyclists I see tackling these busy roads; you see, although (thanks to my husband) all of us (including Sona) are proficient cyclists, neither the girls nor I have the confidence to ride our bikes during rush hour and even though I detest having to spend so much time in traffic, I do value the time it gives me with Meera discussing various issues and listening to her opinions which though different from mine, can nonetheless be valid.
9.30am: Now for me; girls sorted, I set off for work at and rarely get to my desk before 10.30am.
As a busy lawyer, I am extremely fortunate to have total flexibility over the hours I work.
This arrangement started in 1997 when my Senior Partner Andrew Lockhart-Mirams invited me to join him at Lockharts (a leading specialist law firm for health care professionals e g doctors, dentists etc}. I agreed, but it was on the condition that I have total flexibility over the number of hours I work and the number of days I come to the office. I couldn’t have done it any other way as at the time Meera was barely 20 months old and Sona had just arrived on the scene.
Today, I am extremely fortunate to enjoy the same freedom; you see when people trust you and you are given the freedom to work in a way that works best for you, you automatically do more than what is required or you may have done had you been forced to work within a rigid structure. I shoulder a great responsibility being a partner at Lockharts and heading the Property team of the firm. Whilst in the office, a fair amount of my time is spent on supervising the work carried on by our junior solicitors, paralegals and where appropriate, the associates of the firm. Though I manage to do some work in the office, I invariably end up bringing the bulk of my work home.
I mainly deal with the development and the construction of Health Centres around England and Wales, I need 100% concentration when I am approving the project documents; I find that concentration and focus is at its peak in the quiet of the night.
My assistant gasps when he sees that I have been dictating reports at 1am. He is awesome and again, I am fortunate to have someone so reliable by my side. When I leave the office, if I’m to attend meetings over the following days, he hands over all I need to make my life simpler; files, train tickets, taxi bookings etc. Such is the lawyer’s life!
Lucky for me, when I do travel, the train journeys allow me the rare opportunity to get stuck into a good book; currently ‘A Fine Balance’ (which I am determined to finish!). It’s these moments of reprieve, no matter how short, that I savour
3:30pm: I will have left the office so that I’m able to collect Meera from Edgware station and homebound by 5 PM.
Sona arrives home at a little earlier and my mother-in-law is at home to receive her. Not only is she waiting eagerly for the girls to get home, she has also cooked them a healthy and wholesome meal.
Mother-in-Laws have been tarnished with the same negative brush from back in the day! When it comes to mine, I am truly blessed with a lady who is the glue which binds our family together. The minute I arrive home, she cannot wait to tell me about what has gone on in her day; who has phoned her or vice versa and what the latest news is in the family.
We live in a superbly harmonious extended family; the word extended here to encompass not only our immediate family but also aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews and nieces here and in the four corners of the world. The great advantage is that my girls are growing up learning the same values that my mother taught me; care, compassion and tolerance. These are values not taught but learned. And I know my girls have the same within them. For example, during a time when London was blighted by gale force winds and rain, Meera asked me “Mum, how is Mami? We haven’t heard from her, is she okay? Have you rang her? Does she need anything?’ “. As the name suggests, Mami is my husband Dipak’s aunt, aged 75 who lives on her own.
6pm: Time to take Sona out again. Sona swims three times a week and attends Bollywood and contemporary dance classes twice a week. Sona represents the London Borough of Harrow in London youth games. To her credit, and bearing in mind that she has coordination difficulties, she has won a gold and silver medal for Harrow managing to swim 25m in 23 seconds. Her personal swimming coach has just recently written to the Paralympic team and is seeking to have her assessed by them.
Whilst Sona swims, stamina permitting, I walk across to the gym where my personal trainer awaits; my brother Jaiman.
8pm-9:30pm: Sona & mum time as I assist her with Kumon and / or her new speech program PROLOQUO02 which has been installed on her iPad so as to assist her in communicating with the outside world.
10pm: My first chance to sit down and watch the 10 o’clock news with my husband and Meera. We catch up on the day’s events and as though I haven’t got enough to do, both of them will give me a list of things which they want me to do the next day!
(Little do they know, I sneak off at 11 o’clock to indulge in my guilty pleasure: Prison Break. One hour of wonderful fiction sets me up nicely for the next day, and I am off to sleep (no doubt dreaming about the next episode!).
On behalf of the PPA community, iPattni.com would like to thank Varsha Pattni for sharing her life with us and allowing us to appreciate the value of family from her perspective.
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