The first factor that you see when you satisfy Surashri Rahane is her smile, the type that instantaneously warms you up. Several envisioned the 30-12 months-previous to be defeated by her numerous physical disabilities but she has been an achiever all via: A topper in college, she went to examine engineering at College or university of Engineering, Pune, in advance of cracking a tough entrance evaluation to make it to the coveted Faculty of Administration Scientific tests (FMS), New Delhi, for her Master’s diploma. An all-rounder to the T, she is a qualified scuba diver and a properly trained Bharatnatyam dancer she can sing as mellifluously as she can debate fiercely. Following a thriving vocation with prestigious firms like Pepsico and HP, she established up her possess venture four yrs in the past. She has been a Sabyasachi Mukherjee bride and her Josh Talks online video has much more than 1.5 lakh views. Nothing at all about her would express that she has performed it all whilst dwelling with several disabilities and has gone through 15 surgeries in her life.
Surgeries to resolve her limb: ‘My friend made use of to carry my faculty bag everyday’
The day Surashri was born, her household customers realized that she was going to be a specific child she underwent her first surgery on simply the 15th working day of her existence. “I was born with a club foot – a delivery defect due to the fact of which my leg was twisted out of form. So, my very first medical procedures was aimed at correcting my leg,” suggests Rahane, a indigenous of Nashik, Maharashtra. In a long time to abide by, she underwent a number of processes: functions to clear away extra fingers, set up of Ilizarov apparatus so that the two her feet could be of the very same length. “I have limb-length discrepancy: a issue in which one particular of my feet is shorter than the other. To take care of this, I was suggested this course of action to lengthen my bones. I experienced this significant apparatus installed in my foot at a really young age and I had to alter it each individual working day,” she shares.
The hard work did not pay off as right after a few decades, Surashri’s relatives was told that the technique was only a partial achievement. This was when they took a collective choice to give up any try to “fix” her physique and solved to guarantee she acquired the ideal existence with what she experienced, states Surashri, who wears customised heel footwear to support her posture.
An alumnus of a prestigious convent school in her hometown, Surashri was a star university student. “I was fantastic at teachers. Besides that, I was part of the discussion group, member of the choir, and a aggressive swimmer,” she states. Her aspiration operate in school was punctuated by days off that she experienced to acquire for her surgical procedures. “Those have been some of the toughest days of my everyday living. I skipped university dearly. What ever problem daily life threw my way, it compensated for it by offering me the most caring buddies. I even now recall how a mate of mine applied to carry my university bag everyday…” she recollects fondly.
Accessibility a massive difficulty: ’I had to get the job done challenging on my balance’
When the supportive perspective of her speedy relatives users and school mates was the wind beneath her wings, the deficiency of accessibility for the otherwise abled outdoors worked as a downer. “My appropriate knee does not bend simply because of which I experienced a challenging time receiving on the university bus in the absence of a ramp. With my legs remaining of uneven duration, I had to do the job challenging on my harmony. I typically employed to tumble flat on my confront although walking. But with exercise, those people occasions received less and far amongst. What assisted was that I constantly had aid at hand – be it in the type of a dear buddy or a variety stranger,” states Surashri.
Finding body acceptance in college or university: ‘I realised the way I walked was not hampering anything at all that I wished to do’
As she excelled in teachers and added-curricular things to do, and labored on controlling her bodily affliction, Surashri rarely experienced the time to concentration on her appears to be like. But that adjusted when she went to junior college or university, in class XI. “I never ever thought I was really or anything at all but I experienced learnt to be indifferent about it. But all that altered when I went to university. I could not help but recognize how boys would gaze at me and not in a pitiable type of way. I got several proposals and that manufactured me recognize that I was desirable and gave me a whole lot of system self-assurance,” she reminisces. Until finally this time, Surashri was learning to stroll without having a limp. But she made the decision to let go of that as nicely. “I realized that the way I walked was not hampering nearly anything that I desired to do. So, why need to I not divert my electrical power towards some thing much more beneficial?” she says.
Residing alone for the very first time: ‘I went to engineering college’
“I stepped out of my house for the initially time at the age of 18 to take up engineering in Pune. At 1st, it was a revelation. The expertise made me notice what a cocooned lifestyle I had lived right until then,” Surashri shares. “From owning a vehicle to decide and drop me where ever I preferred to go to now having to vacation in public transport was very a humbling encounter, to say the least. But I took it up as a obstacle and quickly uncovered myself travelling in buses, trains and rickshaws, and dealing with and beating all the problems that arrived with it,” she provides.
But aside from the hardships, higher education also introduced in a lot of exciting in Surashri’s life. “Oh, it was one particular major bash!” she exclaims. “From adhering to a curfew to partying until late in the night, from avoiding even school picnics to collaborating in hiking and trekking, I did it all and it was a lot of pleasurable.”
College or university was also where by she fulfilled Amol Bagul, her very best friend, who would go on to be her lifetime lover and her biggest assistance program.
Discovering Amol: ‘He married me inspite of getting able-bodied’
“Amol and I began out as good friends: I would attempt and set him up with some lady or the other, he would listen to the woes I was facing in my prolonged-length partnership. Little by little, we realised that we were meant to be with each individual other,” Surashri tells us. But even though Amol accepted her wholeheartedly, finding his spouse and children associates to take Surashri proved to be an uphill undertaking. “They could not recognize why their in a position-bodied son would go for another person like me. My education and learning, my achievements, my adore and motivation for Amol did not matter to them. They threatened to split their ties with Amol but he stood by me like a rock,” says Surashri, preventing back tears.
Surashri and Amol acquired married at the age of 22, with aid from the former’s mothers and fathers. Amol’s dad and mom have appear around only recently and now she has a cozy romance with her in-laws. Keeping aside from his mom and dad was not the only sacrifice Amol produced for her, says Surashri. “Following our B Tech, we made it to two prestigious institutes for our MBA – I manufactured it to FMS in Delhi though he secured admission at IIM-Indore. But Amol realised that he could not keep apart from me for two many years and gave up his IIM desire in favour of an institute in Delhi,” she elaborates.
Dealing with the real environment: ‘I was driving gross sales for Pepsico’
Surashri suggests she generally required to get into gross sales and internet marketing. “I am mindful that I could have opted for other, far more ‘comfortable’ streams but I have generally been a person to chase challenges. Plus, the glamour of the internet marketing earth captivated me,” she laughs. Nonetheless, shortly she realised that there was a earth of big difference involving what she desired and what others assumed she was capable of. “Being a vivid scholar, I would crack all the placement exams that I sat for. But items altered during interviews,” claims Surashri. Inspite of her assurances, there were businesses which did not share her conviction that she could be a superior in good shape for a internet marketing purpose. “One interviewer requested me if I could generate and resolved not to continue with my candidature when I told them I could not. ‘How will you offer our products’ I was asked. I puzzled if driving capabilities were being a prerequisite for all promoting aspirants. Obviously not. So, why was I currently being singled out?”
But then came a position possibility that made up for all the rejections. “I was picked by Pepsico for a product sales function – deemed a male bastion. On best of that, I was disabled. But it didn’t make any difference to them at all. They almost threw me on to the discipline,” she recollects. “I would interact with roadside vendors and paan shop entrepreneurs and they under no circumstances cared if I was a female or a in different ways abled individual. They virtually threw foodstuff packets at my confront if they were defective. But you know what? I took it all on my chin, rather literally. I was happy that they ended up managing me as a normal revenue government and not anyone for whom any particular concessions necessary to be manufactured,” Surashri shares.
Entrepreneurial journey: ‘I established up my own start-up’
Coming from a company household – her mother owns a prosperous saree retail outlet in Nashik named right after her daughter – Surashri generally experienced an entrepreneurial streak in her. But right here too, when she considered she could make it as a businesswoman, there have been other folks who did not. “I was about to set up a enterprise, everything was finalised. But the investor never acquired back to me following our 1st confront-to-facial area conference. Although he did not express this to me, I experienced a sensation that he did not want to squander his income on someone who was not ‘physically fit’,” she says. Her business enterprise dream put on hold, Surashri vowed that she would make positive that many others get to realise theirs. “As a functioning lady, I would set aside a portion of my financial savings for angel expense. I would commit in commence-ups since I did not want any one else to go through the way I experienced,” she claims. Following a handful of years, Surashri was all set to start her have undertaking – Yearbook Canvas.
Established up in 2018, Surashri’s corporation, in her possess words and phrases, is India’s amount 1 yearbook corporation, which is assisting instruction institutes and corporates produce a shut social network, yearbooks and goods. Surashri’s selection of business is also steeped in her childhood memories and struggles that she faced owing to her disabilities. “I was a pretty well-known college student in university and it would just destroy me to keep aside from my classmates for the duration of my surgical procedures. So, I normally experienced a slam guide and would get all my classmates to fill it up for me. The e-book assisted me survive the difficult days in hospital and designed me conscious of the electricity of documenting recollections,” she states.
Through her enterprise, Surashri, alongside with her co-founder Abhinav P Madavi, is also hoping to develop the largest alumni ecosystem in India. “I have been fortunate to have experienced the support of my alumni from my colleges through my career. I want absolutely everyone to have that sort of guidance at their fingertips,” states Surashri, whose corporation counts prestigious institutes like IIM, Ahmedabad, FMS Delhi and IIT, Bombay among the its shoppers. Surashri is also aiming at creating an inclusive place of work. “By the conclude of 2023, I want to see 30 for each cent of my workforce designed up of otherwise-abled folks,” she provides.
As she recounts her journey and shares her eyesight for the foreseeable future, Surashri does not permit go of her placing smile for even a moment. “It has been a worthwhile journey. I have experienced desires that could be considered unachievable for any woman, permit alone one particular dwelling with disabilities. But I succeeded in creating them arrive correct. I feel that the universe has ensured that I realize all my goals,” she suggests.
For just about every female who wants to make it big in everyday living, Surashri has a person piece of information: “Speak up. Need what you need to have and do not rest right until you get it. You have to stand up for on your own. Some others can only assist your journey, you have to include the distance on your own.” And for individuals with physical difficulties? “Embrace your affliction with all your heart. Don’t be ashamed of stating outright that you have a ailment and desire inclusive areas. No want to disguise on your own to match in acquire area. As they say, ‘be on your own, the world will adjust’.”