‘I use my father’s office but never sit in his chair’: NCP MP Supriya Sule
Different Strokes: NCP MP Supriya Sule is the only child of the well-known politician Sharad Pawar.
Supriya Sule uses her father’s office but never sits in his chair. This is not so much about tradition as it is about upbringing. But then Sule is well-bred. Being the only child of the well-known politician Sharad Pawar, she could have been spoilt or pampered, but she comes across as grounded and sober.
As a kid, there were times when she wanted to eat out of silver because some of her friends did. One day she complained to her dad about the stainless steel plates at home. “Why can’t we have beautiful and expensive cutlery? My friends live so well and we so badly,” she told him. At which Sharad Pawar sat her down and told her that if her friends came to her house for the material things in it, then they were simply not worth it: “It is better not to have such friends,” he told her.
That advice hit hard, and Sule says that it has become a thought that she always carries with her. It is another matter that several years down the line, her declared assets as a Member of Parliament crossed the Rs 100 crore mark.
Well-turned-out, often in exquisite saris, Sule was in the eye of a storm when she told a group of college students that MPs often indulged in small talk and discussed saris in Parliament. It was a politically incorrect statement, but Sule stood her ground and said that her point had been that politicians also lead normal lives and think like ordinary people. For her part, Sule hates shopping; saris come as gifts or through a cousin who works with weavers.
Supriya Sule’s biggest critic is not her father. It’s her husband, Sadanand Sule. They’ve been married nearly 30 years. They share their love for the wild and often take off together to see tigers. Supriya is crazy about tigers and can look at one straight in the eye. For her, that one moment is frozen in time. “My husband’s only rival is a tiger. If I could, I would love to keep a cub,” she says.
Theirs is a family obsessed with festivals, celebrations and food. “We barely finish lunch and start worrying about dinner,” she says, adding that ironically she herself is a “terrible cook”. Her mother, by contrast, is a “great cook” and loves to feed the family.
Her parents differ in their personalities. “My mother is a very private person, while my father loves having people around him all the time. She is religious and my father an atheist. I have a bit of both: like my father, I reach out, and like my mother I need my private moments with the Gods.” Her mother fasts for nine days during the navratras, but not Sule. “I would rather go on a diet,” she says.
Her fitness regimen includes yoga and walking, and she makes it a point to cycle at least twice a week. Supriya Sule loves watching movies. Of late, she’s been addicted to Netflix, but given a chance she would catch a Naseeruddin Shah-starrer in a multiplex. Apart from being a first rate actor, Sule says Naseeruddin fits the bill because she prefers intense films to comedies.
As of now, life for Sule is a song. She may have spent sleepless nights worrying about her son’s math test, but with years, she has learnt to be calm, ever grateful to God for giving her “much more than anyone could ever ask for.”