Three inspiring stories of determined women

Inspiring Stories of Determined Women by Shashi Thakur

It’s never too late to start a new venture

Whoever thought that certain jobs should be done or learnt only up to a certain age must be wrong. Here I’m presenting you with a living example that proves that it’s better late than never.

Born in Tarn Taran near Amritsar, Harbhajan Kaur (in the image above) has lived throughout Ludhiana and Amritsar after marriage. But due to the death of her husband ten years ago, she started living with her daughter Raveena in Chandigarh.

Raveena very well knew that her mother is at the last stages of her life. One evening, getting emotional she sat in front of her and asked.

“Hope you don’t have any regrets in life, Maa… like, have you wanted to do something? Or do you wish to go somewhere? If you have any unfulfilled desires, do tell me about them.”

The daughter was just trying to read the mind of her mother, as she wished to fulfill all her wants for her happiness. But what she heard in reply astounded her.

“I have only one regret. After spending a long lifetime, I haven’t earned a penny.” Her mother said

Raveena was stunned to hear that. At the age of 90, her mother had a wish to earn money. And to implement that, she again asked her.

“What do you want to do at this age, Maa?”

The answer was ready, and with full confidence, Harbhajan Kaur replied to her daughter.

“I can make besan barfis. Roasting the besan in slow flame, the barfis prepared by me might find some buyers.” 

After listening to her, Raveena’s throat was choked up and her eyes were filled with tears.

Thereafter, she contacted a firm in the organic market in Chandigarh. And discussed the marketing for the besan barfis. When the employees of the organic market tasted the barfis, they couldn’t stop praising. They immediately placed the first order for her mother and also sent the first payment of Rs. 2000/-.

When the first payment was placed on the then 90-year-old Harbhajan Kaur’s palms, her hands were shivering and she went teary-eyed. This was the testimony of her decades-long desire.

And mother is always a mother. She split up the payment into three parts and distributed them to her three daughters.

In Chandigarh, whoever tasted her barfis went gaga over its authentic flavor and deliciousness. Soon, orders kept pouring in and Harbhajan Kaur was overjoyed.

What started as a weekend business soon became an enterprise, with 94-year-old Harbhajan Kaur selling her specialties under the brand name Harbhajan’s and the tagline “You’ll remember your childhood”.

This only shows that anyone can fulfill his or her desire or ambition irrespective of age, with enthusiasm and dedication without further delay. It is very common that after the retirement age of 60 almost all people give up on their dreams, but with abundant zeal nothing is impossible.


She vowed to revive the dying art of handloom fabrics

The image above is of IIM grad Pallavi Mohadikar, who grew up in Pauni, a small village near Nagpur, inhabited by the weaving community, which fascinated her towards the beauty of handloom.

During her childhood, electricity was irregular. Her grandfather used to weave Kosa silk sarees under the dim-lit lamp. He also used to tell her about the thread work, weaves, and the techniques of weaving a saree.

So Pallavi saw her grandfather’s struggles and hard work while growing up. And she aimed high by starting Karagiri.

(Image, kind courtesy – Karagiri)

Pallavi Mohadikar started Karagiri, a startup, in 2017 after investing Rs. 300,000. Currently, her business caters to clients in Dubai, Singapore, UAE, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Netherlands, UK, and the USA. In 2020, revenue generated was Rs. 22 crores.

After working for corporates like TATA and Goldman Sachs, Pallavi quit her career as an investment banker in 2017.

She started Karagiri in Pune with a team of five weavers, financial help from some friends, and also from her husband Dr. Amol Patwari, an orthopedic surgeon. Pallavi channelized Karagiri into a community of women who love Indian culture.

 (Image, kind courtesy – Karagiri)

When studying at IIM (Lucknow), she worked on a live project on Chikankari artisans, to study their supply chain. It’s here where Pallavi dreamt of starting her own business, while sourcing and selling Chikankari sarees to make money.

While working on her project she realized that the struggles of the artisans are the same all over India. They’re paid petty amounts for their art forms.

Therefore, Pallavi wanted to build a platform to showcase their work and give them above-average income, and share profits. She did so by adopting and promising them to work with her team throughout the year.

(Image, kind courtesy – Karagiri)

Currently, her team is working with 25 different types of weaving communities (1800 weavers) across India, reviving the dying arts of handloom. The silk sarees that are trending these days are Banarasi, Kaanjivaram, and Painthani (in the pic above).


(Image of tribal girls in C.G- Google)

There’s a hope of light even in the darkest tunnel

No teacher dared to step into this Maoist-infested zone of the Sukma district (state- Chhattisgarh). Yet the tribal girl Maya Kashyap of small-town Dornapal had become the first from the region to make it to a medical college, about four years ago in mid-2018.

Maya had cracked the NEET exam that year with a tremendous amount of hard work and determination, that too without any coaching.

“It was a childhood dream to become a doctor. I’m glad that I have come this far.” The soft-spoken girl had said.

To give you an idea of why it’s such a big deal, let me elaborate that there are just 3000 students enrolled in primary education in Dornapal, that too in hostels. Village schools like the one where Maya studied hardly ever get to see a teacher.

Barely a handful of children make it to high school, college is a faraway dream and the gender ratio is abysmally 746. To make it even harder for the 19-year-old Maya, bare survival was tough for her family, after the death of her farmer father nine years ago.

Maya secured 154 ranks in the ST category, and 12,315 in the state in the NEET exam. Therefore she got admission to Ambikapur Medical College in May 2018. The MCI had approved 100 seats for this college.

“I have always wanted to become a doctor. After my father died, it almost became impossible for me to continue with my studies. But I never gave up.” Maya had expressed.

When she cleared the NEET exam, her family was overjoyed but also worried about arranging the medical fees. Her elder brother took a loan from a friend and her sister-in-law collected money from the relatives.

“I want to return to serve people here who are deprived of basic medical facilities,” Maya said.


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