September 22, 2020

Sandhya Mendonca on Mums and Stories – Don’t judge me series

Sandhya Mendonca is an author, editor and a media entrepreneur, a travel lover and a mum who has been a single parent for the last eight years.

She shared her journey with Mums and Stories in a one- on- one interaction in Bangalore.

“I am a Bangalore girl. I was born and brought up here. I started to work in mainstream media soon after I finished my Master’s degree. I met and married Allen Mendonca, who was already a well-known journalist. We had Aditya very soon after and as young parents; initially it was not very difficult as we relied on our extended families to help out.

I was a political journalist for a long phase in my career, and as our son began to grow up, it was a challenge to balance work and parenting. While I remained dedicated to my profession, I moved from a newspaper to a magazine as that allowed me more flexibility. I didn’t shy away from challenges and learnt TV reporting. I also ventured into the tough word of entrepreneurship for the first time. I went back to journalism for a few years before co-founding Raintree Media with my husband in 2004.

Allen passed away in 2009, and since then our son Aditya has been my rock.  I think at that point of time I was really angry with Allen for leaving us. We had spent the best part of our lives together and really enjoyed being with each other. We had an active social life and Aditya had grown up seeing his parents get ready for parties. We used to sit with him while he had dinner and tuck him into bed before we went out. But after Allen passed away, I lost my carefree attitude and changed my way of living life. Aditya was just a teenager, but he took it upon himself to call up my friends and make plans for us to meet to ensure I start living life the way I did earlier.

There were initial differences between us, quite natural between parent and child. It didn’t help that people were judging me, either as an overprotective parent or an extremely lenient parent. After a point, I let Aditya be himself.

People would also judge me for my style of dressing and give me those stares as though they wanted to say, “You still look the same, even without Allen”. After a point, I had toned down my dressing style until a friend shook me one day and said that I should live life the way I wanted to do. This entire period was painful, as after Allen went, my best friend succumbed to cancer. I was shaken and it took me a long time to get over it. One thing I learnt was never to show my emotions or my pain through the years.

The last few years I have seen myself evolve as an individual and I have enjoyed being a parent and seeing Aditya grow up.  He has also become a journalist and portal is his baby. Now I find myself able to do what I really want. Last year, I went to six countries on a solo trip. It was my first solo vacation and it was an exhilarating experience.

I would advise all women to learn to manage their finances on their own, regardless of whether they are stay-at-home or working professionals. It is a life skill that women need to learn. I must say I have taken time to ‘invest in myself’. I take care of my health and I manage my life comfortably.”

Mums and Stories thanks this awesome mum for sharing her story with us.



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