Roots and Wings Wisdom



I published Roots and Wings, the book that chronicles the lives of 29 pioneering engineering women of India, 16 months ago.  Here are some words of wisdom from several of these women who graduated between 1953-1971.

Annapurna Prasad: Agricultural Engineering Entrepreneur

The most powerful women in the world have a strong financial management background.  Engineering women should go on to get a master’s in business administration specializing in finance and marketing and become successful entrepreneurs. Dream big, dream to become an entrepreneur, stand tall and be independent, and make your families and country proud.

Sulochana: The Can-Do Chief Engineer, Civil Designs

I could become an engineer because my father prioritized education over settling down in life. Today things are different. Women have ample opportunities and, more importantly, acceptance from all walks of life. My advice, therefore, would be, to use these opportunities to sharpen your skills and follow your passion. All other things in life will automatically fall into place.

Mallika Chellappa: Researcher and Quality Leader

Find what makes you happy, become good at it and don’t compromise too much!

Betty Nirmala Rajappa: Technical Education Leader Passionate About Service

Today there are many distractions to teenagers, especially due to the misuse of technological advancements. Technology is a two-edged weapon that can be used both constructively and destructively. I pray and wish that today’s teenagers are mature enough to discern good from evil with the help of the Almighty so that they could lead a victorious life.  The women of our society should possess moral courage, will-power, and the required skills to be independent, and stand on their own feet. Patience and perseverance are the hallmarks of all successful women.

Radha Ramaswami Basu: Global Technical and Social Entrepreneur

I am passionately optimistic in the power of youth and young women from underserved backgrounds. They have innate abilities of resilience, risk-taking, moving on from failures and can-do spirit – critical qualities for entrepreneurial success.

Rajeswari Mariappan: Technical Education Leader and Yoga Practitioner

Today, girls and women have the opportunity to have information from around the world with a click of a mouse on their laptops, or a press of a button on their smartphones.  This can make them quite knowledgeable and achieve great success in their careers.  Women by nature have the extra power of making men and the whole world better by their kindness and affection. While succeeding in their careers, women should also remember to care for the families, which men, as brothers, fathers, husbands, and sons, will greatly appreciate.  Treat career and family as equally important.

Nalini Uhrig: Engineering Leader and Spiritualist

Life has a way of turning around on its own when we view responsibilities as privileges and constraints as opportunities to explore.  All of us as women have worked twice as hard to be considered only half as good, but the real beauty behind it is that that was never a challenge for any of us.

Indira Premkumar (CEG 1966): Empathic Technical Educator

Give equal importance to your family and work.  You will find satisfaction in life.

Prema Thomas: Service- Focused Technical Education Leader

Everyone must have skills they can rely on, to stand on their own feet, and every woman must participate in the decision-making process both in the family and in the workplace.

Kalpa Gopal: Renaissance Woman

Life has been an interesting journey for me. I have taken things as they came and still enjoy every day with the new experiences that come my way. I have touched many people’s lives in different walks of life. Their love keeps me going. That is the legacy of my parents. Just enjoy life! That is my advice.

Sarada Parthasarathy:  Telecommunication Engineer & Budget Analyst

We are all unique, like fingerprints. In my life, I had so many changes in jobs and worked in several different fields. Each person has to adapt to their circumstances, keeping an eye on what their goal in life is.

Kamala: Educator and Author

Listen to your hearts and minds as to what kind of work you would like to do instead of listening to family members and friends. If you do, you will be very successful in anything you do and will enjoy your career and not feel that work is drudgery.  If you plan to be homemakers, you should get a good, basic, education. It will help you assist your children in their education.

Kamala Devi Subrahmanyan: Versatile Telecommunications Engineer

In the workplace, there is a perception that some jobs are important and others are not.  But I feel that in all organizations every job matters.  Some jobs may get recognition, while others may not. I believe that, if one gets involved in the work, even a job that may appear mundane can be made interesting by identifying ways to improve the job and deliver value.

Radha Murthy: Banker and Controller of Examinations

Accept life’s opportunities and challenges with grace and do your best. 

Shantha R. Mohan: Software Engineering Leader and Entrepreneur

When you are young, you don’t know where life will take you. Being flexible and prepared for the twists and turns can help you lead a happy and fulfilled life. Engineering education gives you the ability to think systemically – needed more and more in the increasingly complex world enabled by technology. It is something you can use whatever you choose to do in life.


2 thoughts on “Roots and Wings Wisdom

  1. Inspiring! “… lives of great women all remind us we can make our life sublime…and they leave footprints on the sands of time, footprints that another forlorn and ship wrecked sister, shall seeing take heart again”!


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