We’ve known each other for over a decade now. We share a friendship that is built on encouraging each other, nudging each other to flap our wings and fly, and urging each other to do what we are so capable of. I am grateful for my connection with her and I am glad that it is a rare day when we do not chat.
Corinne Rodrigues is a Mumbai-based blogger, writer, motivator – journeying happily through midlife.
Today, she’s here to share the wonderfully inspiring story of Sanam, a girl who has shown immense courage in making her life worth living, against all odds.
Inspiring Stories – Against All Odds
When Vidya was looking for inspiring stories for her blog, the first person who came to mind for me was Sanam Suraj Karunakar. Sanam and her husband Suraj run Perfect Pooch – a canine home away from home. And it truly is for our Pablo – who is always excited to go on his ‘vacations’ there!
What makes Sanam and Suraj an absolutely inspiring couple?
Let me take you back to when Sanam was a 16 year old old girl living with her parents and younger sister in Pune. With dreams of becoming a vet, she lavished her love on the family dog, Ebony.
However, Sanam’s life changed in a moment, when the family met with a car accident. Her parents were killed in the crash and Sanam’s injuries left her paralysed. She spent the next 11 months in hospital coping with devastating physical and emotional pain. Life was dark for this bubbly teenager who suddenly found herself confined to a hospital bed and totally dependent on others. As she says of this time, ‘I had bad days and terrible days.’
For three years after that life was a series of hospital visits and lying in bed. She knew that she couldn’t live this way. Sanam was made of sterner stuff. She went in for therapy where she learnt to be much more independent. She had to re-learn simple skills like brushing her teeth. With the support of family and friends she began to paint and sell t-shirts, even though she was unable to move her fingers!
Hearing of her love for animals, and the fact that Sanam had lost Ebony in the accident too, Shirin Merchant (a canine behaviour therapist and editor of Woof Magazine), presented her with a black labrador pup – Magic!
Magic is trained to assist Sanam with picking up things and opening doors for her. Sanam attended Shirin’s course and trained Magic herself. A few years before that Sanam had met Suraj Karunakar through a common friend. Suraj had never had a pet before, but he accompanied Sanam for Shirin’s course.
Shirin encouraged Sanam to start a dog boarding facility at her home. With Suraj’s support she ventured into this and so Perfect Pooch came into being.
Sanam and Suraj’s friendship turned to love and they got married in 2003. Today they have a delightful one year old son, Rayaan.
Sanam still struggles with a lot of health issues. Also, sadly, despite the fact that she uses a motorized wheelchair, India is not wheelchair friendly. She, therefore, doesn’t get out as much as she would like to. However, Sanam uses social media brilliantly and is well-connected and a great advocate for animal rights. The Karunakar home often plays host to abandoned dogs, some of them with complicated health issues.
I admire Sanam’s spirit and the fact that she and Suraj live life to the fullest possible. Sanam is truly one of the most inspiring women I am privileged to know.
Thank you, Corinne!
I love inspiring stories of hope and courage because they help me appreciate life more than ever.
Did you enjoy today’s post? What inspires you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!