Home > Musings > Sowmya’s grit and determination

Sowmya’s grit and determination

March 9, 2012

Yesterday was a special day for me. I was invited to deliver the keynote address at the Vidyavikas Institute of Technology at Mysore on the occasion of the International Women’s Day. Apart from meeting other like-minded people who shared the dais with me, I was particularly impressed with a bubbly young woman of 22 years. She was Sowmya and was invited to participate as a ‘young achiever’ and share her story. And what a story it was!

Sowmya came from a poor family and her father was making a living as an auto driver. She had learnt to drive her father’s auto when she was just 10 years old and was very attached to it. After completing her SSLC, she was keen on going to college. Her father categorically told her that he could not afford to let her pursue her dreams of studying further. Though she was disappointed and angry with her family, she was determined to go to college. During the next few months, she quietly borrowed her father’s auto for a few hours each afternoon when he came home for lunch. She earned Rs.1600 driving the auto and used the money to pay her college fees. She completed her 2nd PUC securing 86% in the final exams. Her father was secretly pleased with her and wanted her to continue her studies.

Sowmya was now determined that she would pursue her education without burdening her father or her family. She continued to drive the auto during her spare hours and pursued the Bachelors course in Business Management. She has now successfully completed her course, but continues to be one of the few lady auto drivers in the city of Mysore. She is now pursuing Masters in Journalism and wants to learn to write both in Kannada and English. She also shared that she will now go on to do her MBA, but still drive her auto around.

One of the young men in the audience wanted to know if she faced any problems at work and how did she cope with the all the teasing and taunting she faced each day. Her answer left me impressed. She very spontaneously and genuinely responded saying that she would not be what she was today but for all the problems that she had faced. She remarked that it was the problems that had left her stronger each day and she not only welcomed them, but was also confident that she could face them courageously.

What India needs today is thousands of Sowmyas, completely confident that they can negotiate through the complex demands that life makes on them. Here was this young girl who just would not accept what life and fate conspired to give her. She was truly shaping her own destiny. Sowmya, I salute you and your spirit. Thank you for making this Women’s Day truly special. You reinforce my faith in the spirit of the Indian woman.


Categories: Musings
  1. Arun Karpur
    March 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Balu: This is such an exciting and wonderful story. I would like to congratulate Sowmya on persevering to realize her dreams. India needs such courageous women who can be a role model for all girls, especially in rural areas. Her resiliency, resolve, and entrepreneurship is exemplary. India “will” become a great nation if all young people emulate Sowmya’s principle of having a dream and realizing it through hard-work and entrepreneurship. Thank you for bringing us such powerful story.

  2. Nitin
    March 9, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Truly inspiring.. true appreciation and celebration of woman’s power and day, hats off to Soumya. Thank you sir for sharing.

  3. sindhu suresh
    March 9, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Thanks for sharing this with us Balu.

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