Susheela Banthia

A Simple Ethos: Work From Home

Susheela opened a small textile and saris shop, which she operates from her home. Her ethos is simple - Work from home so there is time to attend to family, work on small margins, and grow organically. The small portfolio amount that she started with, has grown 500 times over, in a decade .

This is a story of a woman who was married at a very young age and moved to a small town in Madhya Pradesh with her husband. The small town had no movie theatres, clubs, or classes for entertainment. Her life revolved around her husband and later around her children and home.

The drive in her to learn and to grow was so strong, that she did not let the small town deter her spirits. She bought books to learn about new things like gardening, bonsais, how to file taxes, how to read balance sheets, and how to do business.
Soon, the kids went to boarding schools to study and she found herself with time to spare. She looked for a purpose and occupation. So, along with a friend, she borrowed Rs.2,500 from her husband and opened a small textile and saris home shop. She travelled to Kolkata, Benares, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Kanchipuram to buy saris and sold them for a small profit. This kept them engaged and gave more meaning to their life.

Within a few months, they had made enough profit to pay back the capital they had borrowed. The humble beginning with which they started, was growing into a self-sustained small cottage industry of its own. Regular repeat buyers, innovative designs, and financial conservativeness saw their business grow multifold. Soon, the HomeShop became one to reckon with in this small town and it was giving stiff competition to the stores nearby.
Their ethos was simple – work from home so there is time to attend to family, work on small margins, and grow organically. I saw my mother learn how to read numbers and make sense out of it, how to have that financial balance and conservativeness to make the venture more profitable. She worked so hard.

Not just on the business front but also for her personal growth, she taught herself how to make Bonsais, by reading books. Today, she spends 3 hours in her garden tending to her Bonsais and plants. She has Bonsais as old as 42 years (she planted one when she was pregnant with me) and she has built and created her little Zen, just by pursuing her interest in reading books – without having the facility or option to attend any fancy classes or workshops.

Then, after many years of running her business venture family, duty began to call. The daughters got married and she saw herself travelling overseas to see the kids a lot more often. As a result, she shut down the operations of her venture and started to put her mind into wealth management and investments. Again, the drive to learn was so strong that she started to watch every business channel on television, learnt how to read balance sheets and determine the health of a company. She started to do her own data analysis to ascertain which companies had a future growth potential to invest in. The small portfolio amount that she started with, has grown 500 times over, in a decade. Her long-term investment strategy paid off and she started enjoying it. She enjoyed the creation of wealth and then reinvested it in real estate and back into good stocks.

She is almost 70 years old, as of today. She and my father live alone, as both of us (their daughters) have married and moved away to set up our own lives. My mom continues to inspire me with her grit and determination. I sometimes wonder if she had the environment, education, exposure that I did, where would she have reached. Maybe been a CFO of a company. What an amazing financial brain, hardworking and never letting any obstacles come in her way.

She has inspired both her daughters to continue learning, working and create something purposeful. I am so thankful to her for that. Her story goes on to show that your age, school name, location (small or big town or city), availability of fancy classes - nothing is a limitation if you have the drive to learn. Your personal growth must come from within and you have to work towards it to make things happen. Women are strong and sharp. All we need is to dig deep within ourselves to find that interest that we have and pursue it. We can be that inspiration that our children need and we can be the drive that our families need! Age is just a number, she is 70 and still learning! That is my mom – my superhero!

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