Kanan Shah had ambitions of her own but 30 years down the line, things were very different for her than they are now. Here is her story.
Have you heard of the famous travel company – Travel N Living? The successful venture was the vision of one woman who got married at the age of 23 for love. She relied on her husband’s support and he relied on hers as both their families opposed the inter-caste marriage. She was a Jain Gujarati and her husband was a Kashmiri Brahmin.
Within a year, she gave birth to a son. 30 years ago, Kanan Shah’s husband belonged to a conservative background. She was a target of the societal pressure and wasn’t even allowed to wear clothes of her choice. Kanan has a degree in law, completed her articleship in CA, but due to regressive measures she was not allowed to step out of the house.
After her second child, her daughter was born she saw that even though her husband worked for 16 hours a day, that money was not enough. She started conducting tuitions but that did not help much. She wanted a better lifestyle for her children and she wondered what to do. That is when her love for travelling helped her.
Since she had no idea how the business of travelling worked, she went to travel agencies and observed how they worked. Then she bought a fax machine of her own to supplement her income. Initially, her clients were cousins and friends, Then, as the word spread, she started getting more clients.
That is when she decided that she wanted to study more and at 33 she did a 5 day Amadeus course. In 2003, when the business expanded she knew that she could not work out of home and she would need a business space.
Kanan knew the cost and value of independence of a female in India. Her office began in Chembur, Mumbai but as it was her husband’s property, so she also paid him rent, after convincing him to let her work.
Kanan wanted to learn how to rebrand her company and her passion for learning came back to her in 2009. At the age of 43 she joined IIM for her post-graduation, in Bengaluru. She then rebranded her company and named it Travel N Living. Till now, she has travelled to 60 countries.
Today, her daughter and Kanan run the company which is a huge success.
Her story makes us feel the power of a working woman who juggles between her professional and personal life – her story is an example of what a lone woman could do.
Photo: Humans Of Bombay/ Facebook