As a young girl growing up near the Himalayas, she never imagined she would climb so high. But Anshula Kant is as grounded as it gets. “Down to earth” is how the chief financial officer (CFO) at the State Bank of India (SBI) describes herself.
As a young girl growing up near the Himalayas, she never imagined she would climb so high. But Anshula Kant is as grounded as it gets. “Down to earth” is how the chief financial officer (CFO) at the State Bank of India (SBI) describes herself. Her colleagues agree. Kant goes about her work with minimum fuss, accepting a compliment gracefully. The Roorkee girl could have got any job she wanted given her bachelor’s degree in economics from Lady Shri Ram college and a master’s from the Delhi School of Economics. But Kant’s happy she chose to work with the country’s biggest bank. The merger of the five associate banks of SBI with the parent, which created a Rs 35-lakh-crore balance sheet, was a tough but satisfying effort even if took all her skills to stitch it together.
Balancing the books of SBI can be back-breaking but Kant makes sure she doesn’t get bogged down by work; a thriller before bed works well as does some Hindustani classical music. On the odd occasion that she’s able to get off work early enough, Kant catches a film or a concert though she doesn’t get to listen to her favourite artiste Pandit Jasraj too much anymore.
Unfortunately, although a trained musician herself, she isn’t able to devote any time at all to either playing the sitar or singing. But she’s determined to do both once she’s back in Varanasi with her husband. And also shop for Benarasi silks, chiffons and cottons. Refusing to reveal how large her collection of sarees is because “my husband will kill me”, Kant says it is her best-kept secret. Right now though there’s little time to go shopping, even online. To fight the fatigue that comes with frequent travelling, Kant makes it to the gym at least four times a week. She also eats light — a simple rice and dal for lunch — secretly craving some of her mother’s delicious kali urad ki dal ki khichdi.
It hasn’t been easy for Kant all these years since she has spent a lot of time away from her family. But she has made it a point to “stay close enough” to her children so they would never hesitate to talk to her. “I was never too indulgent, but I never got too mad either,” she says. But she is looking forward to make up for all the lost time. “I hope I have grandchildren soon, I want to look after them,” she says. Kant disses notions that working in a state-owned bank can be pressuring. And in general she feels it’s important to maintain the highest standards of ethics. “Transparent practices work,” she says. Sound advice.