“You are never a looser until you quit trying”. – Jane Addams

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50 year old Vanita is still as energetic and lively as she was as a young child. She does her work with complete zeal. Currently residing in California, USA with her husband and children she works at a Motel and earns the living.

She was born in Limbuda to a farmer. Although not born with a silver spoon, she always felt that she had the freedom to do what she liked. The parents never restricted her of education and tried their best to provide the necessary education. She helped her parents in farming and household chores. Not having enough money they couldn’t afford a servant and so she used to work in the day time after school and then study at night. Work in morning and study at night became the daily routine. After schooling she went on to pursue her graduation in BA. But when she was in her last semester of SY BA, she had to stay at home as the father didn’t have money to pay for the hostel fees. She did self study and went to college to just give her exam. After her Second year when she was 23years old, she got married to an NRI.

She had to stay with her in laws for 18 months before she shifted to USA. When she shifted to USA, she was lucky enough to shift to her own house with all the relatives besides her to help her settle in a new country. When she landed first, she felt it very different. She was from a village so the culture and lifestyle was a complete change for her. She didn’t even know how to speak English which made it a little difficult for her. She cried alone in the bathroom, feeling embarrassed as she couldn’t understand what people spoke, neither did she know how to speak. But she dint give up or just cry, rather she joined an English speaking course. She did it for 3 months and learned how to speak English fluently. In just one month of going there, she took up a job with a cable company. She was first placed in the packaging department and later was promoted as an operator. She worked Monday to Saturday 5 to 5 and then in evening did the cooking and other household work. She never escaped from working hard. Everything was going good but then suddenly there came financial crisis and they had to sell of their house and then moved in a motel. The husband opened up a liquor shop and then later started up his own business of laundry. They stayed for 12 years in a motel and then when business started working well they bought their own house.

Life was going good thereafter. They have 2 sons. Although born in USA, the kids always carried the Indian culture in their heart. The elder son played football and got much sponsorship and with that money he financed his studies. He also did part time work to support his parents. Even the younger son followed his brother. Both the sons took medical as their field of study. Everything was going good, but in year 2007 recession strike America. During that time, the business started making losses. They couldn’t find customers and slowly slowly they got under debt. But this was not it. Later in December 2009, something terrible happened which changed their life forever. They lost their younger son in a car accident. He was just 21 years old when he met with a horrifying accident. It is as if they got a lifetime of pain and punishment. At this point of time, the business went completely in loss, the husband fell sick and they lost their son; everything came up at once. But even after all this troubles she never gave up. She stood firmly against it. The loss of the son is irreversible but they are strong enough to fight it. They sold of their business and the house and shifted back to a motel again, from where they are again rebuilding their life. Things have already started to fall in place. The motel is working fine; the elder son is doing great in his study and also does his internship. He also got engaged some months back, bringing little happiness in the family.

Life always puts lot of problems in front of us, but Vanita teaches us that we have to fight them and not give up. As said by Jane Addams, “Anyone can give up; it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength”.

“A sense of curiosity is nature’s original school of education.”- Smiley Blanton

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Mamta Tamakuwala urf Bhavna Tamakuwala is a proud owner of Rajesh Dresses. They sell fancy dress costumes and navratri dresses on rental basis. She is into the business since 1995. The business was started with only 16-20 dresses and slowly increased the stock to around 500. Today, Rajesh Dresses is one of the most popular shops in the whole of Valsad district. She is married to Ramesh Tamakuwala and is blessed with 3 Laxmi’s- Mitali, Jalpa and Unnati.

She was born in Navsari, Gujarat in the year 1970. She has a younger brother. Her father used to work with a company and later started up his own mill to make flour. The business was going well and the kids always got things they ever wanted. But what they missed the most was the freedom. Both the children were not allowed to go to friends place or on picnics. No birthday parties and no roaming around. The parents did take them around places and got them all presents and things they required, but they never had any freedom of speech or action. The restrictions that were put on them made Mamta a very reserved girl as she never got a chance to go out in the world. She studied in a girl’s school, from where she finished her 12th. After 12th when she was just 17 years old she was married and could not continue her studies further. At the age of 18 she was already a mother.

Her life after marriage was completely different. It was better. Her family is very supportive and is always besides her in adjusting to the new place. They always encouraged her to get into the family business. The person to encourage her the most was her mother-in-law. In 1995, both the brothers separated the financial and the business. They took over the business of Rajesh saree. At first they sold sarees on installment basis and side by side also had some 16 chanyacholi which they sold on rental basis. She with her husband and mother-in-law got into the business of saree. But she took more interest in the fancy dress costume business and learnt everything about it. Later they completely changed the business from sarees to Rajesh Dresses. She was not even a graduate nor had any experience of running a business but still at this point she runs it successfully. She is so good at it that after some years from starting it, the husband started up a travel agency of his own and she handles the dress business. She is very curious in learning things. Even though she has never done any kind of accounting or billing work she brought new ways of keeping records. Initially her knowledge about the different leaders and politicians and culture of all states in India was low and to overcome it she stuck pictures so as to have an idea of the dresses. She kept on innovating. She always kept the shop very organised and hygiene too.

Customers for her are like God. She gives personal attention to all the customers and tries and full fills everybody’s need. Even if the customer comes at 10-12 in the night she would not deny them of any service. Even during family occasions she informs the customers and delivers the order on time. Till date she has never missed on any of her orders.  She brings new stuff in the shop every year and travels to distant places like Ahmedabad and Palitana to get new costumes. In the beginning they didn’t had much financials so both the husband and wife used to travel in local trains and carry all the stuff themselves. She has become very popular among all the schools and colleges in the Valsad district. Recently in the year 2011, the shooting for the serial Shobha Somnath ki was happening near Valsad. The director bought 50-100 dresses from her for the shooting of some particular episode. Even in year 2012, one of the schools in Kapdada, Dharampur rented 300-400 dresses from her for their function and she was also invited personally to attend the event.

Her life brings forth the fact that when you have support from your family, you can do anything. Nothing is impossible. You just need the curiosity to learn and act. From a business perspective, she teaches us that customer should be treated as King: it’s only because of them that the business works and grows.

“Knowledge is a treasure, but practice is the key to it.” ― Lao Tzu

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Craving for knowledge is what defines Geeta Vachhani. 42 Year old Geeta is married to Piyush Vachhani and is a proud parent of Helly and Anirudh. Her thirst for knowledge led her to learn many different art forms and the list includes Cooking, Sketching, Hand work, Tailoring, Mehandi art and Parlour art. She never said no for any opportunity that came her way. Even Benjamin Franklin once quoted “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

She was born in a small village in Gujarat named Dhank. She had two elder brothers and being the youngest she was the most pampered kid. Her father was a successful businessman and so the family never had difficulties fulfilling their needs and wants. Father believed that as she grew, she brought good luck to family in all ways of life. But due to drought condition in the village they had to move to Talala city in Gir when she was 5 years old. She finished her11th standard in Talala and did her 12th in Rajkot. She was never denied of doing anything or learning anything. Father always believed in gaining as much knowledge as one person can and that’s what Geeta always did. Geeta was also a very active girl. She took part in many different competitions. She stood 1st at state level in colouring competition and 2nd at district level in Slow cycling competition. As she moved to her college level, in her first year of BA she took hold of all the different short courses like Mehandi art, parlour art, hand work, toy making and tailoring. But all her knowledge went in vain as she had to leave her studies and get married finishing only FY BA.

Life after marriage was not easy as it was before. She was married in a joint family of 18 people and that asked her for adjustments, sacrifices and compromises. Geeta who never did any household work learned each and everything never complaining of any load. But the workload was so much that she never got time to think of herself. It was as if she forgot who she was. She had immense talent and knowledge but never got the family support to do something. What she always got to hear was “Why do you need to work”. But no one understood that it was not the need it’s the ambition, it’s the desire to do something in life, to make life worthwhile. Later she moved to Valsad and now that she had to only look after her husband and the two children she always tried giving the kids what she never got. She went against her husband’s decision and taught her daughter kathak using the money she received on any of the occasions be it Rakshabandhan or marriage or her piggy bank. She also tried for ICICI prudential life insurance agency for which she studied for the exam and passed but unfortunately it didn’t work out. She then later worked for Amway for 5 years. She says “one should always keep doing some or the other thing and never sit idle”. Now that she is a relaxed mother as both the kids have grown up, she has immense time for herself. She now took up tailoring as her part-time work. She has been doing it since 2-3 years now and enjoys what she does and that way she acts as a support to her husband. Books are her best friend as lots of her time is spent reading books or magazines or newspapers. She believes that education or knowledge gained is always helpful. It makes a person strong enough to face any difficult situation. She says “If there is storm don’t run away from it as knowledge says that what has come has to go. So just stand firmly and sooner the storm will be gone”. The thought process that she has developed overtime is a result of her curiosity for knowledge.

In all her life points out a very good thing, we all should grab as much knowledge as we can as you never know when it will be helpful in your future. She also said that when asked by someone “do you know this thing?” never say “I don’t know” rather say “I will learn it”.

“When you live for a strong purpose, then hard work isn’t an option. It’s a necessity.”- Steve Pavlina

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“The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work”- Harry Golden

Kavita is a housewife married to Nareshkumar Vachhani and blessed with four kids. She is a resident of Valsad a district in Gujarat. Active, happy go lucky, talkative and strong are the characteristics that define her.

Born to a farmer with 5 siblings, she had limited resource to fulfil her dreams. Being in a family with 8 members, she usually had to divide and share everything from food to toys to clothes and books with all, unlike us who are born with silver spoon and have everything for our self. From the very early age she has been helping in all the household and farming work. She always excelled in anything she did be it farming, household or studies. She was a very brilliant student and always enjoyed reading beforehand. During exams her list didn’t include only studies but also had all household work. She had two papers in a day and between these papers she used to come home for lunch and then help washing utensils and finish other household chores. With all the troubles that came in front of her she stood 1st in 10th Boards in the whole district. Although the father had less finance, he never stopped the children’s education. After her schooling, she went to Gurukul Mahila College in Porbandar where she did her Bcom. She was a person who believed that money should not be wasted on useless things and was never a wanna be kind person like the present generation youth. She only had two pair of clothes and a tooth paste for the whole year and soap for 1 month but still never complained for anything but rather found happiness in all the small things. During her college days she was honored as the best National Cadet Corps (NCC) cadet and was invited to Delhi.

Being the eldest daughter-in-law, she took responsibilities of the whole family from the start. Her mantra in life is taking care of her family. She has never said no to anything. She is always on her toes to learn and try new things. Experience is what she craves for. Her life is filled with all kinds of good and bad experience which has shaped her and made her strong enough to fight the problems in life. One such problem was when her husband was diagnosed with diabetes. It required her to give 110% attention to her husband rather than her 4 young children. But she never gave up. She fought confidently with all the hardship that came her way. Her purpose was to get her husband healthy again for which she did every possible thing she could. She always kept gaining knowledge of how to get diabetes in control. She did it to such extend that now she is called “Diabetes doctor”. Her husband is now blessed with good health. It would not be wrong to say she is the life saver for him. Even at the age of 52 she still is the same, energetic, full of life and active. She is still the first person to wake up and the last person to sleep.

To sum it up, her life teaches us that a person’s success or failure depends on the hard work he/she puts in not on the facilities or resources available. Life is never easy for anyone, but the way we stand in front of the troubles makes life easy or difficult to live.