© Jeremiah Sullivan
Chopra '02 and daughters Tara (left) and Leela
Profile: Mallika Chopra '02
Chopra '02 discovers the voice of her inner mom
growing up in a family enamored with meditation and self-awareness,
Mallika Chopra '02 found she had little interest in the pursuits
that happily occupied the rest of these relatives, which includes
her father, well-known holistic healer Deepak Chopra.
says Chopra, all changed when she found out she was pregnant
with her first daughter, Tara, and began nine months of reflection
on the joys — and responsibilities — of motherhood.
grew up in an environment where people were on a self-development
path," Chopra says. "When I became pregnant it was
my entree into that world. It's a very exciting and spiritual
time. I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted to
raise my child and the influence I would have on this little
transformation is outlined in her recent book, 100 Promises
to My Baby (Rodale Books),
a collection of short essays, poems and family lore illustrating
the values most important to her in her new role as mom. Writing
the book, Chopra says, was "a natural and organic process"
that evolved from journaling during her two pregnancies with
Tara, now 2 1/2, and Leela, now 10 months (pictured with mom),
and reflected her concern over how their lives would unfold.
was five months pregnant (with Tara) on Sept. 11, 2001,"
Chopra says. "I started thinking a lot about what kind
of world my baby was going to be born into."
her book, Chopra promises her daughters that she'll "foster
your bonds with the generations before and after you,"
"show you the freedom that comes from being able to laugh
at yourself" and "reach for balance in my life and
yours." Four major sections celebrate the gift of parenthood
by addressing topics such as life choices, values, spirit
knows more than most about the crazy juggle of motherhood.
After completing her first year of classes at the Kellogg
School, she left campus to launch an Internet business she
co-founded with husband Sumant Mandal '00, a site dedicated
to the self-development industry and called mypotential.com.
After two years of dramatic highs and lows, the venture ultimately
failed like so many others during the dot-com boom and bust
cycle. (And became fodder for a life lesson. Promise 36 of
Chopra's book is titled, "I promise to help you see that
some of the most important lessons in your life can be learned
from your darkest, most challenging moments.")
pregnant with Tara, Chopra decided it was time to return to
school and complete the degree she knew would be important
to her future success. She also knew finishing her MBA during
such a hectic period wouldn't be easy.
her last quarter at Kellogg, she alternated between classes,
all-hours study groups and mothering her newborn daughter.
asked if she fears her book places too much responsibility
on mothers for how their children ultimately turn out, Chopra's
answer is unequivocal. "No, I really believe that as
parents we are the strongest influence on our childrens' development
by providing them with a sense of security and love,"
she says. "The fact is that we are all going to make
mistakes. No one is perfect as a parent and we are all learning
as we go along. Parenting is a huge responsibility and you
have to embrace that, but at the same time, not get stressed
out by it."
addition to the guidance 100 Promises provides to new
families, a portion of the book's proceeds will benefit children
living with very few resources and without the love and support
of parents, as Chopra plans to donate some of the money she
earns to UNICEF programs aiding orphans affected by AIDS.
more information, visit babypromises.com.