Age No Bar for Living Your Dream

Age No Bar for Living Your Dream

At a stage in life when most people are contemplating hanging their work boots and looking forward to a life of retirement and leisure, a few intrepid women are actually taking the plunge into the entrepreneurial world. Moreover, these women have made a success of their entrepreneurial ventures with élan, zest and a youthful energy that belies their age.

At 65, Maya Dutta has the passion of a youngster and is the founder of Saundarya, an initiative that specialises in creating handmade soaps and other beauty products. All Saundarya products are completely natural and made in accordance with age-old traditional Ayurvedic recipes. Mrs Dutta recounts the evolution of Saundarya, “I started making cosmetics as a hobby and use to gift the products I made to family and friends. In 2005, my husband retired from the Army and after a very hectic army life as senior officer’s wife, there was hardly anything to do. I decided to pursue my passion to create natural beauty products. This led to the establishment of Saundarya.” Mrs Dutta hails from Assam, which is rich in flora and where medicinal herbs and plants grow in abundance. She has her own factory in Assam, and she has an all-women staff whom she employs and trains in the art of making fine quality, natural beauty products. Mrs Dutta reveals that she has received a lot of support from the Assam government and has been invited to showcase her products in exhibitions held in various cities across India and the globe, including London and Moscow. Saundarya products have caught the imagination of all those who put a premium on indigenous ingredients (rather than a surfeit of chemicals) and she has built a loyal customer base in a short span of time. Mrs Dutta started with an investment of just Rs 5 lakh and now has a turnover of more than 10 lakh. Her immense talent, passion and joie de vivre make her an inspirational entrepreneur.

Equally inspiring is the story of Rita Srivastava. With a bachelor’s degree in Science and Education, Rita got married and migrated to America where she got a Masters degree in Human Nutrition. She worked for two decades with handicapped children and their nutritional needs. She then started providing prepared vegetarian and vegan salads and food items to a leading US food chain. In 2000, Rita established two health food restaurants in Las Vegas. These restaurants specialized in dishes customized to the patrons’ physical ailments, thereby providing a meal that did not compromise their health. Last year, at the age of 69, Rita moved back to India and set up “Cinnamon Sticks”, in partnership with Vandana Dewan. Cinnamon Sticks specializes in producing various pickles, chutneys, sauces, jams and tea cakes. These products are sold in shows and in selective stores. Rita reveals, “My work has always been a passion of mine. When there is passion, there is commitment that comes from your soul. At 70, my knees are giving way and I have surgeries that are scheduled and yet I get up every morning and my brain starts churning as to what new thing I will create that day and I go about it. And of course in the evening I am tired but then again there is no question the following morning.” As a small business owner, Rita faces several challenges, the foremost being that there is no comprehensive listing of vendors. However, these hurdles do not deter Rita from living her dream each day.

Dr Daya Misra, a septuagenarian, is a doctor and does not believe in the concept of retirement. She maintains that it is very important to remain active and contribute to society as long as one can. Dr Misra worked as an anesthetist in the National Health Service in England. She returned to India at the age of 51 and since then she has been working with several NGOs. Eight years ago, her trust opened a primary school in village Shikarpur, district Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh. Dr Misra is actively involved in the running of the school and whenever she visits the village, she does some medical work as well. In 2010, Dr Misra got a contractual government job to run a clinic in a village near Mukhteshwar in Nainital district, Uttarakhand. Dr. Misra recounts her experience, “The clinic did not have any water or electric supply. They did not even have the essential medical instruments like a blood-pressure machine or thermometer. I worked hard to bring the clinic up to a certain basic standard and the patients were very happy.” Dr Misra firmly believes that people must be proactive and productive. She shares, “It is easy to complain and criticize the government. But criticizing does not serve any purpose; what is required is action.”

With their passion and determination to realize their dreams, these women prove that age is no barrier for achieving entrepreneurial success. Even the so-called twilight years can be the most fulfilling and productive time of one’s life. We at WEBO Power salute the never-say-die spirit of these women and believe that there is no retirement age when it comes to making your dreams a reality!

Posted By: Supriya Mathur, Team WEBO
Illustration By: Shally Tayal, Team WEBO
Posted On: February 07, 2013

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