Trailblazers: Udaipur girl sets up tea stall for women, blind youth builds Rs 50-cr firm
Gossiping over a cup of tea at public tea stalls is still a man's privilege in much of India. But a "for women" tea stall in Udaipur is challenging this stereotype. The stall, called Three Addictions, is the brainchild of Priya Sachdeva, a commerce graduate who ran an event management company until recently.
Priya says she always felt constrained having tea with male friends at tea stalls. Seeing that most other girls felt the same way, she came up with the idea for Three Addictions about four months ago.
The idea wasn't an easy sell. Priya says even her mother was averse to it. Some people even threatened Priya and sent the police to close the place down. The helper she had hired too was intimidated and left.
In the end, Priya's determination paid off although she had to relocate to another location in Ayad area. Gradually, women started coming to the stall, and now it is crowded most of the time. "Here, they not only savour tea and coffee of various flavours with snacks, they get to enjoy reading and playing games in a secure, woman-friendly environment," says Priya.
Teacher absenteeism is among the chronic problems ailing state-run schools across India, particularly in Bihar. Tathar Fatima is out to set an example for all teachers.
Fatima, who teaches Urdu at a primary school in Bihar's Saran district, took classes even on her wedding day, 9 April. Most women would leave anything for this day, but Fatima went to school and taught her students like any other day. Her family had to postpone the Nikah ceremony until the evening. She did not take leave even the next day, when she was to depart for her in-laws', choosing to make the journey after school hours.
No wonder, she has won the hearts of colleagues and students alike. When asked what motivated her, she replied, "I do not like the idea of taking long leave for marriage. My students are my first priority."
If only other teachers would take inspiration from Fatima.
When Shrikant Bolla was born, some "well-wishers" had advised his parents to kill him to "save him from lifelong misery". The reason: Shrikant was born blind. Little did they know that this boy would turn his "disadvantage" into his biggest motivation. And how!
Today, at just 23, Shrikant is the successful CEO of Bollant Industries, a company worth over Rs 50 crore.
Shrikant started his company in 2012, in a tin shack in Hyderabad. It is now among the leading firms providing disposable consumer packaging solutions. What's more, the company now employs some 150 differently-abled people.
Shrikant says in school, he was "always made to sit on the back benches and not even allowed to play with other children". The discrimination continued as he was refused permission to study science after class X, despite topping his class in the subject with 98% marks.
Shrikant dreamed of being an engineer and aspired to study at an IIT. He couldn't, however, because his "admit card for the entrance exam was not accepted". Undeterred, Shrikant started applying to colleges in the US. His hard work paid off and he was accepted to the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
After MIT, Shrikant had the option of taking a "high-end" job abroad, but he chose to "return and work in my own country". In hindsight, it was not a bad choice, after all.