Beating The Odds- BTW(chitralekha magazine) – By Surekha Kadapa Bose
I’m not there for a week; so get the sales deed completed today itself,” she urges her assistant and then without taking a breath and turns to us while stretching her hands to pick up her ringing mobile, and in a very soft voice she says, “Have your tea please, it’s getting cold.”
Sushmeetha is like any other successful corporate woman of today.
She is the CEO of Ascent Networks, a company that sells, purchases and services computers, and manager of the post sales department in the dealership for Nortel EPABX systems and CCTVs run by her family besides being senior faculty and proprietor for Voice Vision (Computer Institute for the Blind). What separates the 33-year-old Sushmeetha from other businesswomen is that she is a special lady.
It is very difficult to decipher the directions she gives to reach her office for the interview or understand what she’s saying when we’re talking to her sitting across her desk as she checks her mail on her laptop for Sushmeetha is differently abled. Born Aarti Bubna in a well-educated family involved in the business of distributing telecommunication equipment, she had cataract of both eyes that was detected when she was only five years old. The operation at the age of seven to remove the cataract in the right eye was thought to be successful till it was discovered that a self-dissolving capsule in the eye malfunctioned and didn’t dissolve. By the time she was 24, Sushmeetha was completely visually impaired.
But she decided to continue with her studies starting from the first hurdle of SSC when though she wasn’t legally blind, she could hardly see mathematical figures she was drawing or the Marathi and Hindi words she was writing at the Board exams. Her determination turned her into a woman of immense grit, self-confidence and positive attitude. Sushmeetha accepted her disability and took time off to learn computers at the Hadley School for the Blind in the US. Teaching herself how to use computers she became independent in her information and communication needs.
“Don’t paint a rosy picture of my success; there has been a lot of pain and struggle. People who were my friends suddenly turned strangers. Even relatives turned their face away but what I want to tell other differently abled people is that they should not have a negative attitude towards their problems, not to be demotivated, not to get frustrated and not to become arrogant or try to show off – accept your problems and work from there,” advises Sushmeetha.
Voice Vision at