#theFridayFeature — Shraddha Kalani

“Never stop dreaming. Dreams are very important.”
- Shraddha Kalani
Shraddha Kalani — The 22 Year Old Chartered Accountant.

As we sat gulping burgers the other day, Shraddha opened up to me on various topics — dreams, aspirations, ambitions and failures. The corner McD table on JM Road soon turned into an inspirational hub as I listened, making an attempt to absorb her aura. She poured her thoughts with utter relentlessness and absolute passion. As the words flew through her mind, she glowed, enlightening me on a way that I could embark to become the person I always wanted to be. Everything but her voice seemed to fade, and Shraddha was no longer in front of me — she had transformed into just another individual from the crowd who lived to fulfill dreams. Unaware, she had done her bit to elevate my persona.

An early morning mail from Shraddha popped up on my smartphone — a reply to the questionnaire I had sent her a while back — saying ‘ I have tried answering most of your questions but rephrased some…’; and it suddenly dawned upon me on how widely talented she was. Incase you were wondering who Shraddha Kalani is, here you go —

  • Chartered Accountant
  • Social Entrepreneur
  • Bhumi Activist
  • Budding Interviewer
  • Co-founder & Coordinator @ GERU — The Indian Red

When asked about blending the tiring CA schedule with that of active social participation, she says,

“The desire to repay the society or work for people came naturally/was built from a very early age. So, in spite of having a hectic CA schedule , with CA articleship classes, exams, I would take out time for volunteering activities as a Hi 5 refresh — day at an orphanage, old age homes, teaching at the shelter homes, conducting various parties and events to help underprivileged children enhance their leadership and management skills as it would make me contented and satisfied.”
“For me social entrepreneurship means applying entrepreneurial abilities in solving social issues.” — Shraddha Kalani

Shraddha has led a rather unconventional life, further solidifying my belief over serendipity. Happy accidents aren’t simply coincidental but part of a design that nature crafts to help you attain your calling. Today, I’m in the field of advertising, a couple of years back I had never thought this arena to be an extension of my surreal passion — writing. I would further like to contribute that happy accidents happen to happy people. The law works similar to ‘what you think you become’. A happy mind imagines happy accidents — I learnt of the power of optimism from this sweet, smiling always charming young girl.

“In 2015, I went for Jagriti Yatra which was a life-transforming experience for me. It came to my knowledge there that a course as SE exists where you could combine your entrepreneurial skills and the passion for contributing to the society in a formal and sustainable way. This was perfectly in tune with both my dreams, to use entrepreneurial skills and simultaneously contribute to the society. Thus, I’m here — following my heart, pursuing my dream.”
- Shraddha Kalani

The most striking thing about Shraddha is that she works towards not only her dreams but those of others as well. Social entrepreneurship is just one aspect of her extravagant persona. Becoming a CA at the age of 22, believe me, is no joke. You might think a noticeable achievement such as this would happen only with visible and immense passion by her side, but was it really that way?

“At that time, I did not have much knowledge about CA, so I thought might as well give it a try as journalism was a strict ‘no’ from parents and at that age I did not even know how to defy them.”
- Shraddha Kalani
“It just gives me a sense of achievement when I see someone smile.” — Shraddha Kalani

Completing anything that you lack passion for isn’t easy, and with such proficiency?

“I guess I m a good strategist so I played all my exams as a game, enjoying it thoroughly while attempting it, and most importantly learning from my mistakes and being quick in reformulating my strategies at the time of need, and by God’s grace and elders blessings, and of course hard work, I was able to ace the exams at that age.”
- Shraddha Kalani

The things you do are never what make the difference, it’s ‘how’ you do them that matters more. Shraddha isn’t one of the few because she cracked tough exams at an early age, but because the way she tackled them was beyond the imagination of many. She enjoyed the journey without thinking of the destination, and that, is exactly what made all the difference.

Well, that does not happen to be all. Shraddha is also involved in her novel venture, partnered with her friend Namrata, which she calls GERU — The Indian Red.

“Currently, I’m working on two projects. One has already started, GERU- The Indian Red, where in I’m the Managing partner. We are into personalized/customized handcrafted accessories and clothing for women. Through GERU, I’m looking to provide sustainable livelihoods to the shelter home pass out children who are skilled in designing and stitching. Though this is the vision, but it’s challenging to execute on which my mother, my partner Namrata and me are relentlessly working to make it happen.”
- Shraddha Kalani

Moreover, Shraddha has unknowingly showed me how essential it is for a human being to have a strong belief - an undying urge/desire to change the world, to continue making constant attempts to bring your visions down to reality. I strongly feel the only thing that keeps Shraddha going is her belief. What further emerges from her belief is optimism, confidence and an amazing persona that leaves people in awe.

“Never stop dreaming. Dreams are very important. A dream could be anything from being richer than Bill Gates or of a perfect date with your not so easily approachable crush. But when you dream , have no ifs and buts/doubts about it. Just keep imagining and curating your dream in your thoughts with such positive energy that you don’t see anything else but that.” 
- Shraddha Kalani

When I met Shraddha for the first time, she was an active participant in social work prepping for her CA exams alongside. Her biggest contribution in my life would be conveying to me the importance of a ‘smile’. I’ve always associated her with a big wide upward curve with braces. A smile is huge mood buster not only for the person who’s smiling but also for the one he’s smiling to. Smile happens to be a small thing through the day that fills us with joy no matter what we are going through within.

Shraddha Kalani applauded for her contribution as a Bhumi Activist.

Thank You Shraddha for being an immense inspiration to me and many others. Hope the dreams that you are working towards are achieved shortly in the near future!

“Kisi badi khushi ke intezaar 
mein … hum yeh chote chote 
khushiyon ke mauke kho dete 
- Bawarchi, 1972

Well, that’s all for today.

Keep reading, keep sharing and never stop believing!

“If you are in the age group of 18–26, make sure you make the most out of it and strive really hard for whatever it is that you wish to achieve; as there is absolutely no alternative to hard work.” 
- Shraddha Kalani