“I am probably the only 45-year-old old playing with a bunch of 10-year-olds. But it makes (my son) happy too, and I am happy that he sees that capability in me,” said Preeti.

Erudite, expressive and enterprising, Preeti Vyas is an absolute gem, much like the kids’ books that she has been bringing out under her own publishing house FunOkPlease. As President and COO of the iconic Amar Chitra Katha, she powers the working of Amar Chitra Katha, Tinkle, National Geographic Magazine and National Geographic Traveller. All while she raises her son Neel into a strong, independent young man. Excerpts from a conversation with Express Parenting:

How long have you been a single mom? How well has Neel absorbed the turn?

It has been three years now. He will be turning 11 soon. As a sensible and sensitive child he understands and accepts this turn. I always believe that kids watch what you do, not what you say. He has always seen me positive, driven, essentially a happy person. It was tough; we were together 25 years and married for 20 (to author Amish Tripathi). But I feel it is important not to pretend. What works is remaining happy and grounded in the present moment. That is what gives kids strength and courage, not hiding stuff.

God has been kind.

Yes. I count my blessings. I set up FunOkPlease after I put in my papers at my corporate job. I was on maternity leave, but once Neel arrived (when I was 34), there was no question in my mind that I wanted to be with him. It was not out of a sense of sacrifice, but out of a sense of greed that I quit my work. I wanted to be with Neel, to be a part of his growth. Ever since I was a kid, I was not sure what I wanted to do in life, but I was very clear that I did want to be a mom. So FunOkPlease happened, and since it catered to the three to eight years age group, Neel attended literature festivals and talks with me. Now that I am with ACK, that is in sync with the eight to 12 age group, Neel fits in perfectly.

Shilpi Madan for Indian Express

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