Actor-turned-politician Smriti Irani knows a thing or two about coming a long way in a very short time. From starting out as a junior member of the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2003 to being sworn in as the minister for human resource development in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet on Monday, she took barely a decade to prove herself as a BJP heavyweight.

Her rise in her political career is almost as dramatic as the growth of her character Tulsi from the hit daily soap Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi: Tulsi started out as an obedient young bride in 2000 and ended, more than 1,800 episodes later, as an ageing matriarch with grown-up grandchildren in 2008.

As Indian TV's reigning daughter-in-law for eight years, Tulsi gave and received many pearls of wisdom about the ideal Indian way of life. Although Smriti Irani may be just a Class 12 pass, good lessons are never in vain. Some of the things she learnt from Kyunki might serve Irani well while she joins the cabinet and takes charge of the nation’s education system as the new HRD minister.

The old must give way to the young

Baa, the grand matriarch of the TV show, has decided it is time for a younger generation to take over family matters, and is confident of Tulsi’s abilities. As the youngest minister in the cabinet, Irani is taking over a portfolio that once belonged to veterans like PV Narsimharao and Kapil Sibal. Is this her Tulsi moment of truth? Will she live up to Modi’s confidence in her? India is watching breathlessly.

Newton’s third law of motion

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. In the show, this bit of science comes in handy as a not-so-subtle metaphor for love between the lead characters. In the world of democratic politics, however, physics metaphors may not be the best idea. Newton’s third law was cited by Irani's boss Narendra Modi in another, brutal context. In a less violent times, it serves as an ominous warning for a party that is riding the wave of mass disillusionment with the Congress. Besides, the last time a physics analogy was used in Indian politics, Rahul Gandhi compared the dalit struggle in India to the escape velocity of Jupiter, and we all know how that turned out.

Kanyadaan is the greatest good deed

One of the many lessons Tulsi learns from her mother-in-law is that kanyadaan (giving away a daughter to her in-laws) is the most noble of all good deeds in life. Irani might want to bookmark this one for when she gets working on girls’ education and women’s empowerment in India – how not to send across the message that women are baggage.

Turning Ayodhya into Kurukshetra

In Tulsi’s big Mother India moment, she shoots dead her own son for turning to criminal ways. In a dramatic speech before pulling the trigger, she claims that he turned her Ayodhya – her holy, maternal space – into Kurukshetra, a battlefield. Sounds familiar? Given the BJP's plans in Ayodhya as mentioned in its manifesto, perhaps Irani might want to ask her party to exercise some caution.

Defeat your enemies with love

Tulsi’s advice to her newly-wed daughter before she enters enemy land – her marital home – is to conquer all her enemies with the power of love. No prizes for guessing which two SAARC leaders ought to be taking note of this.