Rangotsav – Celebrate The Many Colours Of A Woman – Sumedha Mahajan

International Women’s Day - voylla

I was born with asthma, to a family of academic professionals in Amritsar. The youngest of two daughters, I grew up knowing I could never be like the others. Even though my parents never treated me any differently, it was the extended family and society that kept reminding me that I was a ‘defective piece.’ I wanted to be a tennis player and I was very good at it. But my health and circumstances snuffed out those dreams. I studied management and struggled with my asthma for many years until I found release and relief in running. My journey from Amritsar to Mumbai, via Bangalore and Delhi, has been captured in my book, Miles to Run before I sleep. I am an endurance runner, who was the only woman in the the record setting Greenathon covering 1500 km from Delhi to Mumbai. It was a life changing experience – even though I had completed many runs in different parts of the world. On Indian highways, a woman in shorts, often stumbling, dealing with bruises and other personal hygiene and sanitation issues, was an unseen and unheard of phenomena. It bolstered my resolve to stick to my faith, and to keep running. Not only for myself but for all women out there who have always been told that they are not good enough, strong enough or fit enough.

I run my own  business consulting agency and my book has helped me reach out to women across India. I realised most Indian women do not wear the correct sportswear. When I shared their concerns with reputed sportswear brand,  I was told – “If you are so concerned about what women athletes and fitness enthusiasts wear in India, why don’t you make some yourself?” And that’s exactly what I decided to do. I decided to do something for hundreds of women out there who are not even on the radar of these brands.

“I drew my inspiration from my mother, who is  a doctor but used to stitch tennis skirts and shorts for me and my sister as there were no tenniswear available for girls.”

I have put in all my money, taken heavy loans and invested all my resources into creating a premium quality high impact sportswear brand for Indian women. Simply because I think we cannot promote fitness and create star performers unless we invest in the basics.

Women’s Day for me is about celebrating our faith, our resolve and our families and support systems. I would not have achieved even a bit of what I have today had it not been for my husband and my family. This year I want to encourage every woman to break their shackles and take the first steps towards making every dream a reality as you are “Reborn to Win”.

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