The story: This book is a reflection of Aradhna Sethi’s life in Switzerland. Her journey from being a journalist based in India and moving to Switzerland as a newly married woman. Soon she finds herself involved in different roles that life has in store for her – those of the journalist, the startup-wife, and the mother – to name a few.
Her husband, Anil Sethi has entrepreneurial dreams. We have all read books by entrepreneurs – on how they came up with the concept, their working plan, and how they progress into seeing this dream take shape. But what role does an entrepreneur’s wife play as he follows his dreams? How does Aradhna, the start up wife help her husband follow this dream? Aradhna calls her book, ‘The Entrepreneur’s Wife – A Survival Guide’.
Having read the book, it’s fair to say, startup wife or not, you will surely relate to the book. Most of us, if not all Indian women living in Switzerland, have followed our husbands/partners to this country. New to this country, new to the language, new to everything around us, we have all explored and felt what it’s like to make Switzerland your home away from home. Many of us have had to change our careers or take charge on the home front, while the husbands and the kids settle in at work and school. But what all goes into making a new country (Switzerland in this case) a home away from home? Aradhna Sethi’s tells you exactly that.
Connecting with entrepreneurial concepts, managing the family’s’ expenses, the reaction to striking the first deal, going through various startup levels 1, 2 and 3; and also establishing herself first as the chief editor of the only English tabloid in Switzerland back then, and then as an independent freelance journalist in a country whose first language is not English… These are some of the many things Aradhna along with her husband finds herself in.
There are many funny yet thoughtful instances in the book that get you wondering if the book is a reflection of you, indeed. We all have our highs and lows as we carry on with our lives. Aradhna, at one point, is so stressed, that she doesn’t realise that her husband is sending her for a ‘recharge get-away’ into the mountains. No Husband. No kids. Just her. He packs her a small bag and hands her a train ticket so she can have the much-needed break. For her to find herself and be herself. Of course, the family joins her later during the break and even that is a surprise!
There are beautiful instances on how the couple manages and shares responsibilities as a family taking care of the kids.
Then there are also days like these: Caught up with many calls from his home office, her husband spots the kids walking over to the Nanny’s house across the road. Their son who was 3 then, very much a baby himself takes care of his little sister. He packs her in her winter clothes and gets himself ready before getting out of the house! Their father runs and gets them back! The incident does get Aradhna thinking if the entrepreneurial dream was making their kids way too responsible for their age!
But the best of all is the Beer-wash experiment that Aradhna attempts. That takes the cake! I am not going into the details of this. You have to read it to feel it.
It’s difficult to term ‘The Entrepreneur’s Wife – A Survival Guide’ a self-help book. I see it as a story of a couple, and moreover, the story of the woman behind a successful entrepreneurial man. As much as I enjoyed reading the book and found many instances that one could relate to as a couple making their home away from home. There are three things I would like to keep from this book:
- It’s great you are helping your husband follow his dreams! Stay committed, share responsibilities and work as a family towards it!
- There are times when you are so focused on taking care of the husband, the kids, and the family needs, that we often forget the YOU. Press the pause button. Give yourself the time to feel good about yourself.
- Were you passionate about your career? Is there a way to continue that in the new country you now call home? Work towards it. Or you find your interest lies elsewhere? Whatever it may be, go for it. The rest will all fall into place!
In Aradhna’s words, “You will connect, laugh, cry and laugh till you cry! It’s all about the relationship and self-management. And, in a very “chicken soup for the soul” way, you will learn to enjoy the highs when they come in and roll with the blows. Since it’s my first book to be published, it is fairly autobiographical. It’s essentially a culmination of my experiences along with that of many friends I met along my journey. I’ve lent the book a self-help approach and taken the liberty of being preachy and cheeky too.”
As this debut book completes a year since it’s launch, Aradhna is ready with her second book – and this time, it’s a book for children from 3-10 years of age. Illustrated by her own kids. Yes, it truly is ‘for kids, with kids’.
Check out: ‘The Swan that laid Golden Eggs’ – a fairytale with an old-world charm.
Aradhna’s photo by Maria de Conceicao