New Delhi: It did not help that she was India's Education Minister--Smriti Irani had to appear in an interview to get her children admitted to a school here like any other parent who goes through this nightmare.
"Oh yes. I actually got interviewed. When I came from Mumbai to Delhi, the first one month, I tried to work a balance between work and home. I just could not because I barely had six hours to go to Mumbai. I have two young kids, one is 11-year-old and the other is 13-year-old.
"For me it was difficult and I said come to Delhi and, mercifully, they listened. It was a difficult shift because my family never lived here and the first thing we did before we came is to give an interview as parents--got grilled by teachers and principal and then the children were grilled," she said.
During an interaction with PTI journalists at the agency's headquarters here, Irani spoke in detail about her remarkable journey from her humble origins to a successful TV actor before she joined politics and rose to become a Cabinet minister at the young age of 38.
She of course did not mind her grilling at the school. "I think processes should not differ just because you are a minister. This is a job, a responsibility, not a right to override the processes that every citizen goes through. So I gave an interview with my husband, got evaluated."
She said she goes to Parent Teacher Association meetings regularly. "I don't go with a barrage of cops. I think you want to give sense to your children that this is a job, not an entitlement."
Recalling her early years, Irani said she was born in a lower middle class family and could never envisage a future that she has today.
"When I was born, all that my parents had was in Munirka, livable space above a 'tabela (cowshed)' and one could never envisage a future that I have today. So, for me I have never walked a path that has been carefully crafted or charted. I have gone into territory unknown on many an occasion," she said.