When J.M. Balaji, 49, is not talking how brilliant his daughters are, he talks about what a team player his wife is. Antara Balaji, the elder daughter is 19 years old and a first year law student. She is also an athlete and a football player. Ahana Balaji, the younger daughter, is studying in class 12 and is a junior national level rowing champion. Balaji’s wife, Rashmi, 47, is a senior executive in the banking sector.
Balaji, who is a stay-at-home father (any father who is the primary caregiver of his children and may or may not work, while his partner works outside as the main breadwinner) considers himself a complete hands-on parent and that’s largely because he decided to take a back seat in his career to make time for his children. Although the choice to stay at home was more circumstantial than voluntary, it’s a role that has grown on him. “I quit a well-paying job in the aviation industry in 2000 and joined a couple of start-up ventures that didn’t do well. So I decided to dabble in business of my own and help my father on the side. Eventually, I joined my father (in his blended alcohol export business) and became a full time parent to my lovely girls,”said Balaji.