Gen : Now

Achu Oommen – What’s in a name?

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She’s got an incredibly famous surname, one that is synonymous with that rarified strata of Kerala politics, but the girl I met for a coffee carries that name in exactly the way I carry mine; effortlessly and with no drama attached. Middle daughter of the sitting Chief Minister of Kerala; Oommen Chandy, Achu Oommen is a breath of fresh air.

In conversation with Althea Kaushal.

With a degree in Management, Achu worked in finance when she first came to Dubai, but her growth took her in an entirely different direction. A chance meeting with a celebrated Keralite architect Fahed Majeed who liked the work she had done on a lark, suggested a collaboration. She hasn’t looked back since. Together, they run the boutique Interior Design company Faac Interiors.

Does the surname open doors or close them, I wonder. For Achu however, it is a non-issue, since she doesn’t bandy it around and when she does, it doesn’t always have the reaction you’d expect. She talks of how she met her husband Leejo Philip, who is Dubai born and bred. They met in a wonderfully anonymous fashion through the internet. Several online and telephonic conversations later, when they realized that they were ready to take this relationship forward, she finally told him that she was Ommen Chandy’s daughter. He was clueless! He had to be given a crash course on Kerala politics in a hurry!

Has she imbibed anything from her illustrious father, I ask. Achu is very quick to clarify that she tries her hardest to follow his one defining trait; Oommen Chandy is an eternal learner. Every day has the potential to learn something new and he does it with the enthusiasm of a child!

Achu’s days are full but she does make it a point to wind down with her two beautiful daughters – Angela and Christine and occasionally with an old Malayalam film.