Nita Ambani on Money, Mukesh, Dance, Kids and more

This is the second post about Nita Mukesh Ambani, wife of the richest man in India. But there is more to her than her surname and money. She is a multifaceted personality, co-owner of Mumbai Indians, runs DhiruBhai Ambani International school(DAIS) , a bharatnatyam dancer and comes across as the women very much in love with Mukesh and her children.  She lives with her family in house called Antilla(which if anagramed is All Nita). In the first part we captured about life of Nita Ambani. This post is about her thoughts on Money..

Where was she?

For years we never heard Nita Ambani and on the seldom occasions we saw her it was as part of the large clan. `When I got married at 21 my first priority was Mukesh and adjusting in the family. Then, the childen came.” But now that the twins Akash, Isha and the youngest Anant, are a little older, Nita Ambani, the individual, is asserting her identity.Ref:indian express
In 1994, I had helped set up a school and a clinic at Patalganga. So when the family decided to start the project at Jamnagar, Mukesh suggested that I should pitch in.” Her first trip was a trifle daunting. “From the helicopter all I could see was a barren patch of brown,” she says. But it also hooked her. Clad in yellow industrial hat, salwar kameez and keds, she became a familiar figure at the site. Together with her core team Nita has wrought a near miracle on the 900 acres. They have built a medical centre, a market, a school, formed the Reliance Employees Wives’ Association and planted enough trees to convert the `dry patch’ into a green haven.

On Mukesh

He’s been my friend, mentor, philosopher, everything.Mukesh calls me his true life partner…. I just enjoy being Mukesh’s wife. In December 2009, she and Mukesh completed 25 years of being together. Ask her, in this age of affairs and divorces, how the two have managed to keep it together and she reveals, “First and foremost, we are great friends. Both of us have very different operating styles, but we value each other’s opinions. We are willing to listen to each other, which I think is very important in a relationship.”

Mukesh and Nita Ambani
His idea of chill out time with Nita is long drives, late at night, to Worli Sea Face and back. Drives made special by the choice of music in the car stereo – cd’s hand picked by Mukesh and loaded by Hari, his man Friday, who knows which track to play for madam. On the way back, there’ s a short ice cream halt at Natural, their ice cream joint of choice.

Food

And what do billionaires sup on?? I love my two gheeless theplas, Mukesh prefers bajra rotlas, lasoon chutney, daal, onion sabzi.” Sounds more like a Gujarati farmers’ hearty fare. Nita smiles, “ We aren’t foodies. Our Sunday treat is a South Indian breakfast of idlis and dosas. Even when we are in New York, Mukesh goes to his favourite rassam joint.”
Ref:Shobha De Interview, Apr 2009

On Money

What about money, does that help in buying power ? “Wealth and power don’t go together. Power cannot be brokered . To me, power is responsibility. And I derive it from my family,my work,my passion and my very middle-class values.” Ref:Times 2011

Money is Lakshmi but Lakshmi without Saraswati doesn’t mean much,” she says..ref:indian express

May I urge you to discard a myth? That spending money is very easy and making money very difficult. Wasting money is easy. But spending money is extremely difficult. There is a world of difference between the two. Buying an expensive automatic toy for your two-year-old son, when he cannot use it is wasting money. But buying a computer for your enthusiastic 10-year-old is
spending money.Money is a vehicle,  not a destination.
Personally, I see money as the most important vehicle to fulfilling a person’s destination of understanding and experiencing happiness, fulfilment, and completeness in life. We should put in an effort to acquire this vehicle; but we should also discern the destination with care, conscious effort, and wisdom. Nations spend money to build. They also spend money to destroy. Spending money requires as much application of mind as earning it does.
Ref:Rediff 2009

As for myself, I can only say this much – God has blessed my family with adequate wealth. I am privileged to participate in using the resources of our family ventures towards making a significant impact in the areas of health and education. I also feel obliged to transfer a sense of gratitude and responsibility onto my children, so that they may deal with money and life in a discriminatory manner in their adult life.

Those initial cravings have gone. I have no appetite left for spending crazy amounts these days. You shop to feel good. But I don’t feel good wasting money.

Nita house Antilla

Ambani's $2 billion house: Antilla

Dance: Bharatanatyam

You know, dance is my first love, it’s my me-time. I practise every morning for at least 45 minutes. I’ve been dancing since the age of five, have represented my school and college in dancing competitions and I obviously can’t lose touch with it.“Nita expresses her connection with Bharatanatyam, “Indian classical dance is sustained by a profound philosophy. Form seeks to merge with the formless, motions seek to become a part of the motionless, and the dancing individual seeks to become one with the eternal dance of the cosmos.I tried to interest my daughter in dancing, but she didn’t take to it. As a five-year-old, she got lost on the way to her first class. After that she didn’t go to dance class again. For me, dance is like meditation. It’s my connection to God. I’m lucky I have found a passion that keeps me going. I find it rejuvenating. I think it’s very important for every woman to experience something that allows her to connect to her innermost self.
Nita bharatnatyam

Her passion: Bharatnatyam

The biggest compliment Nita has ever received came from her dance Guruji, who recently told her daughter Isha, “ Your mother at 45 dances like a 27-year- old. She is my most sincere and regular pupil.

Nita Ambani practises her classical dance everyday and Mukesh can’t resist watching her dance! Ref:TimesofIndia

Her birthday gift : Jet

In 2007 it was reported that Mukesh Ambani, has bought his wife a luxury jet with entertainment cabins, a sky bar and fancy showers for her birthday.
Nita insists was not a birthday gift! “It is a Reliance jet, we all use. Mukesh takes it for meetings in America, turns around and flies right back when done. Others in the company use it too.” So… if the plane was not her birthday gift, what was? “ Mukesh is very, very romantic… unlike me. He cannot keep surprises a secret, but this year he did. He pretended he had forgotten my birthday. I sulked and said, “ You are really taking me for granted these days. He said ‘ I’ve been so busy. Let’s go to the Taj… I have to meet some government people there.When we walked in to the Bell Tower suite, there were all my friends! And a band!”Ref: Financial Express
Airbus 319  Mukesh Ambani gift

Airbus 319 gifted by Mukesh Ambani to Nita on her 44th birthday

Mukesh Ambani 50th Birthday in 2007

On Mukesh’s 50th birthday in April 19 2007 which was celebrated at Jamnagar,Nita had a special gift on the occasion: the screening of a 40-minute film on Mukesh Ambani, made by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra of Rang de Basanti fame. The film, commissioned by Nita Ambani, shows Mukesh piloting the company’s growth, especially after his father, Dhirubhai Ambani’s death. It is peppered with anecdotes from people from ages 9 to 90 speaking on Mukesh as a person, employer, friend and family man. The music for the film is by Rajat Dholakia and includes two shlokas sung by eminent singer Pandit Jasraj. The voice-overs are by the two Big Khans of Bollywood–Shah Rukh and Aamir Khan. Ref: Financial Express, Apr 2007

On media spotlight on her

I have never really thought about it. I think my work gets media attention. It didn’t happen for the first 20 years of my marriage, when I wasn’t involved with the schools, hospital and IPL. I was very clear that if I had to talk, it would be about my work. I think my work has brought me into the limelight. Before that, for nearly 17 years, I was Mukesh’s wife but chose to stay away. My Iife is pretty simple. I hardly go out. I finish work, come home, put the kids to bed, and wait for my husband to come home for dinner.

Middle Class values to kids

Her three kids, Akash, Isha and Anant, have been brought up to respect people, values and money. She laughs as she relates a funny incident that happened some years ago: “When my kids were still young, I’d give them Rs. 5 each every Friday to spend in the school canteen. One day,my youngest, Anant, came running into my bedroom and demanded he be given Rs. 10 instead. When I questioned him, he said his pals in school laughed whenever they saw him take out a five-rupee coin saying,’Tu Ambani hai ya bhikari!’ Mukesh and I couldn’t help but crack up.” Ref: Sunday Times 2011

Both Mukesh and I grew up in a middle-class, joint family. There was a lot of love, compassion, warmth and understanding, but we also had to give up a lot of things. Our children cannot grow far from the values that they grow up seeing. The kids saw us, Mukesh’s parents and my parents, and they imbibed our values. My parents used to stay at Santacruz, and I would take the kids to Churchgate and board a train from there. My mom comes from Ahmedabad, and she used to take them there in the Gujarat Mail train. So they have travelled by local transport, etc. I think it’s important to keep the children grounded. Even now they clean their own rooms. I have kept them out of public life. I don’t like to share my children’s pictures.

Nita family

She feels that her children come into public eye only when they have contributed to society in some way. The family name is a legacy and they should work to earn it.

On Weight Loss

There was no motivation other than my son Anant. He suffers from obesity. He was highly asthmatic so we had to put him on a lot of steroids. He had to lose weight for health reasons. A child does what his mother does, so I couldn’t be seen eating while putting him on a diet. So I went on a diet along with Anant. Whatever he ate, I ate. whenever he exercised, I did too. If he went for a walk, I would go along. By virtue of being his mother, I lost weight. He was my main motivation and continues to be, as we are still fighting obesity. There are so many children who have this, and mothers feel shy admitting it. But I think you have to motivate your child to lose weight, as the child looks up to you all the time. Both of us went away to Los Angeles for some time to a children’s obesity hospital so I could get into a routine with him. I think that made my transition from whatever I was to what I am today. My dressing hasn’t changed “.

Nita Ambani weightloss

Ambitious and Focused

Nita is known to be ambitious and focused. A complete No. 1 personality ( her birthday falls on 1st November). She describes herself emphatically as ‘decisive’. Driven maybe a more apt word. Others see her as a natural born leader. Ruthless when required. She’s fastidious enough to forgo sleep ( bedtime is between 1 30am and 2 30am), and gets up at 6 30 am, to hit the road running after supervising all the various dabbas and diets( Mukesh’s, her own, her kids’).She arrives at her school at 8 10am, so that the schoolkids can’t say, “ But ma’am , you are late yourself!” Her kids are also her eyes and ears and she values their ‘fearless and frank feedback.” Used to cat- napping in the car, she says, it is the only ‘me time’ she gets. “ I wait to have dinner with Mukesh, no matter how late he comes home. We often eat after midnight.”

Advise to women

She advises real women who constantly multitask: “As Indian women, we are always balancing work, life, home, etc. It’s important to know that while juggling rubber balls and glass balls, the former may bounce back when you miss, but the glass balls will crack if you let them fall. So prioritise, prioritise, prioritise.

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And while lots could be written about her accomplishments, Nita says she would like to be remembered as “a good mom first, and then a good human being who tried to make a difference”.

Do you feel there is more to Nita Ambani than her surname, her money? What to you think about her views? What impressed you most? What you didn’t like about her?

Do you think there is much more to Nita Ambani than her surname, her money

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