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‘My mom told me to follow my heart,’ says singer Ananya Birla

Neerja Birla believes in bringing up her three children with old-fashioned love.

“Ananya had her challenges in wanting to be a singer, in a traditionally industrialist family,” shares her mother Neerja Birla.

She is mom to the treasured trio: Ananya, Aryaman and Advaitesha. She is a their best-friend, mentor, guide, support system…She is the founder of MPower, a much needed mental health awareness initiative on Indian turf, Chairperson of the Aditya Birla World Academy, powers The Aditya Birla Integrated School (a school for children with special needs and abilities), and is associated with several philanthropic causes. Yet Neerja Birla chooses to maintain her signature, quiet elegance as she goes about her work, without sounding bugles on Page 3.

Daughter Ananya Birla, 23, is a singer, entrepreneur, mental health awareness campaigner. A youth icon. A virtual powerhouse of ideas, blazing ahead, shaping millions of lives through her initiatives in MPower, Svatantara (a fin tech company offering loans to women in rural and semi urban area to help them set up their own businesses), and her songs, Ananya is simply Unstoppable. Insights from a brief interaction with Neerja and Ananya Birla:

Name one way in which both of you are alike, temperament wise.

Neerja: When it comes to our work, we are both quite passionate and impatient to reach our goals and targets. I have also noticed that Ananya too tends to be guided by her intuition, quite a lot. But when it comes to letting letting our hair down and taking a holiday, our temperaments are quite different. She is happy to do something more relaxing, while I would prefer something more active or sporty!

Ananya: My mom is very fit (her exercise is sacrosanct, she is known to enjoy her treks in the mountains) and I take after her. I work out five times a week, my workouts being a combination of performance training and bootcamp. I often take off with my friends for a beach break in Maldives. Junk food has never been allowed at home. Mom has ensured that we have healthy eating habits since our childhood. I don’t even have aerated drinks. My team (looks at Lola and Kausar, her ‘minute by minute core team’) tells me I am a good judge of character. I am vibe oriented and am able to read people right most of the time.

Shilpi Madan for Indian Express

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