Mrs. Sarita Santosh was born in Mumbai to a business family. My parents , Mr R K Kanchan and Mrs Saraswati Kanchan, were always an inspiration to me ! Their struggle to grow from nothing to being successful leaders in their profession laid the foundation for my entrepreneurial spirit.Having done my schooling in Greenlawns High School, I went on to Graduate in Commerce from Jai Hind College,Mumbai.One of three siblings, my sister Suchitra is an advocate and my brother Sudarshan is in the family automobile business. Both are now married and settled in Mumbai.
Reading success stories always held a fascination in me !
My passion took me through a few stints at several jobs and dreams..including the teenage glamour of being an airhostess.
Success was never a parameter and each attempt was looked upon as a learning experience.
But little did I know that the attractive ‘Orbit Tours and Travels’ office that I used to admire everyday on my way to college would act as a major stepping stone.
An interview for the post of a receptionist for Orbit Tours and Travels advertised in the newspaper actually landed me in the position of a Junior Sales Executive.The road was laid after that ..
Hard work,coupled with a flaming ambition took me to the post of Assistant Sales Manager ( All India Network).This would have continued,but for my dreams of marriage to Industrialist, Mr Santosh Kumar Hejmady. Marriage brought me to this Internationally renowned city of Manipal.
But my restless and ever diligent mind never came to rest even after marriage,till I joined a local IATA travel agency. As I did not want my talent to be wasted.
Soon I had to quit my job, as I was carrying my first child, Riya.Same time when I was at home, a few of my passengers suggested me to do something on my own.
” I happened to run into an old client of mine, Ms Shanika, a Sri Lankan student who pulled me along to a party that was being hosted. Here I ended up meeting many of the other students that I had served during my job and they all were so glad to find me again.” This brought about the birth of SUNSHINE TRAVELS .
The seed of my glorious goal was planted and Sunshine Travels was conceived in January 2001. Bookings started pouring in and in the first month itself I had nearly 20 students asking me to take care of their International travel arrangements. Time flew by and in August 2001 my daughter Riya was born. Nothing could stop me! Not even a flabbergasted doctor who saw me making reservations from my hospital bed with my three day old daughter in my arms. For two and half years,I worked from home as my infant daughter, Riya, needed me around all the time.
“My family,my work and my friends are very important to me.Spending time with my husband and daughter is definitely a high priority.Spending waking hours with my daughter means I often work late in the evenings after she is asleep”.
During this challenging period, help and support came from all ends.”Sometimes it has been hard to keep going.I was not well connected and didn’t have access to large amount of funding.The doubters and naysayers made me question myself.But I often reminded myself of the Bruce Springsteen song, ‘with small things,big things one day come!’ While family stood behind me,the excellent rapport that I had built with my clients and other nodal agencies in Mangalore,helped me with the basic infrastructure requirements. “I was a little apprehensive about how to go about getting access to the computerized reservations system software.But thanks to my relationships with airline offices in Mangalore,a leading CRS company came over and installed the software on my computer for me”. My husband is a ‘ visionary’ and he gives me the hope and confidence to look ahead..My in laws were also a source of constant support.
” Glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal and not in reaching it ! ”
After completing 2 years, SUNSHINE TRAVELS was growing and I had to move from home to an independent office. In the year 2003 Sunshine Travels office was inaugurated. Today after 15 years Sunshine has shifted to a spacious and sparkling new office in the heart of Manipal city.
My office is only an extension of what I am .Pick up the letterhead or visting card of Sunshine travels, and the first thing that catches your eye is the image of the horse drawn chariot. ” That is how we treat our guests and customers in India, and that is what SUNSHINE reflects – that our clients be as happy,comfortable,respected and have a ‘reason to smile’.This is what I also wanted the interiors of my office to reflect.”
Ask me for advice and I will quote Helen Keller, saying,”life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.” It has been a long journey and that is the mark of a good entrepreneur. But there can never be an end to growth. While expansion and industry accreditation are on the charts, my curiosity and zeal for learning has led me to believe that media should feature success stories and profiles of dynamic and motivated young women entrepreneurs.”It is my hope that these stories and profiles will fuel your dreams of success, as they have mine!