Encouragement Inspiring stories The Red Carpet

Inspiring Stories. Against All Odds

inspiring stories of hope vidya sury

Please welcome my friend Corinne Rodrigues of Everyday Gyaan today on The Red Carpet. I am thrilled that she’s here with this blog’s 1001th post! (1-0-0-1. Yeah!)

We’ve known each other for over a decade now. We share a happy 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 hardly needs an introduction, but I am giving you one anyway. In her words, she is “A Mumbai-based blogger, writer, motivator – journeying happily through midlife.”

Inspiring Stories Vidya SuryIn my words, she’s a solid driving force in motivating all those connected with her, without expecting anything in return. In fact, she slogs her rear off to go out of her way to encourage people.

Corinne blogs at Everyday Gyaan, Write Tribe and From 7Eight.

Please do connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Google+

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.

Please take the stage, Corinne. (Coffee and banana chips are within your reach)

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!

Inspiring stories vidya sury 1

Sanam with 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.

Vidya Sury Inspiring Stories 2

Sanam, Suraj and Magic

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!

Vidya Sury inspiring stories richa

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!

Ah, just one more thing!

I am guest posting at the A to Z Blog today. Please visit my post Why Do You Write – I’d love to know what you think!

Spread the love

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Vinodini Iyer
    May 16, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Truly inspiring story, Corinne.Sanam seems to be the epitome of strength.To brave your weak moments in life and emerge with a stronger self determination is indeed a blessing.Suraj and Magic sound like her angels in disguise!
    Thanks for this motivating share.
    Vinodini Iyer recently posted…Nightlife precautions for women: Better safe than sorry

  • Reply
    Marie Abanga
    May 16, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    A great post I also have a regular page dedicated to my heroines. She fought to stay charged and life to the fullest And to that gentleman husband of hers, kudos
    Marie Abanga recently posted…PR Goretti my heroine shooting for the moon

  • Reply
    May 16, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Wow! She is such an inspiration and Magic sure did wave his magic wand and brought about a change! Thanks a lot for sharing her story Corinne!
    And Vidya congrats in the brilliant 1001 post! 😀
    Aditi recently posted…Under My Yellow Top

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 16, 2014 at 6:41 pm

      I loved the story, too, Aditi! I am in awe of Sanam’s courage.
      Thank you for your kind wishes!

    • Reply
      Corinne Rodrigues
      May 16, 2014 at 7:21 pm

      Yes, Magic was the catalyst, Aditi. But the strength came from within her! 🙂
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…Stay Creative

  • Reply
    Vinodini Iyer
    May 16, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Vidya, I came back coz I forgot to congratulate on your milestone of post number 1001! Best wishes for many more amazing posts 🙂
    Vinodini Iyer recently posted…Nightlife precautions for women: Better safe than sorry

  • Reply
    May 16, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    A really inspiring story. we lot need inspiration in our life and the one that comes from the real stories around often leaves the greatest impact. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Corinne Rodrigues
      May 16, 2014 at 7:23 pm

      Right, Nibha. True stories are always the best!
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…Z For Zig Ziglar

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 17, 2014 at 8:34 am

      Thanks, Nibha. The strong message that usually stands out for me from stories like these is: this could happen to anyone, and that everyone has it in them to overcome! Strong motivation to never give up!
      Vidya Sury recently posted…The Best Job in the World

  • Reply
    Carolyn Hughes
    May 16, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    What an uplifting story. It brought tears to my eyes and a gladness to my heart. Thank you Vidya and Corinne 🙂
    Carolyn Hughes recently posted…If you’re afraid to do it, do it afraid.

  • Reply
    May 16, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    This truly is an inspiring story. This dear lady deserves to be in the spotlight because she has overcome unthinkable odds. Bless her. ♥
    Kathy recently posted…Present Haiku

    • Reply
      Corinne Rodrigues
      May 16, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      She sure does, Kathy. I’m real proud to know her!
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…A Xenial God

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 17, 2014 at 8:38 am

      Thank you, Kathy! I am so happy Corinne is here today with Sanam’s story.
      Vidya Sury recently posted…Yardsticks

  • Reply
    Mary Stephenson
    May 16, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    Wow! Makes one feel that their own problems are very insignificant for sure.


    • Reply
      Corinne Rodrigues
      May 16, 2014 at 9:32 pm

      Absolutely right, Mary! But even more so, knowing someone like Sanam makes you want to follow your passions!
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…Weekend Wonder Detox

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 17, 2014 at 8:42 am

      Great life-lessons, aren’t they, Mary! Makes one look at life with new eyes. So happy you stopped by. 🙂 I miss your email updates.
      Vidya Sury recently posted…Zeigarnik Effect

  • Reply
    Beloo Mehra
    May 16, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Such a moving, inspiring story. It is a story full of unconditional love, genuine caring and affection – between people, between people and animals, between all creation. I salute the spirit of Sanam, and her loving friends and partners – human and canine. Thanks Corinne for sharing this truly inspiring story. And thanks Vidya 🙂
    Beloo Mehra recently posted…Telling It Like It Is

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 17, 2014 at 8:50 am

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Beloo. My first inspiration is my Mom who stayed calm and moved on in the face of many adversities. So many people would have just given up. I’ve made it my mission to go looking for wonderful stories such as Sanam’s. So glad Corinne is here to share it today!
      Vidya Sury recently posted…Xeroxing Smiles

    • Reply
      Corinne Rodrigues
      May 17, 2014 at 10:04 am

      You said it, Beloo. There are so many wonderful elements to her story – the greatest being faith and love! Thank you.
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…Inspiring People and Their Inspiring Stories

  • Reply
    Jayanta Tewari
    May 16, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    They are doing a fantastic job against all the odds faced. Inspiring to the core. Thanks for sharing…
    Jayanta Tewari recently posted…No Qualms

  • Reply
    Martha Orlando
    May 17, 2014 at 12:56 am

    Inspiring, indeed! Certainly makes me never want to complain about anything at all, no matter what life dishes out.
    Blessings, Corinne!
    Martha Orlando recently posted…Slip Sliding Away

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 17, 2014 at 8:26 am

      Welcome, Martha! That’s the exact same lesson I learn every time I hear a story like this! Thank you for stopping by!

    • Reply
      Corinne Rodrigues
      May 17, 2014 at 10:12 am

      Right you are, Martha. Everything I grumble about seems so trivial in light of what Sanam has faced.
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…Stay Creative

  • Reply
    Carol Graham
    May 17, 2014 at 2:28 am

    When we hear of people like Sanam and Suraj, it makes our own troubles seem so small. I really appreciate you sharing her story and I hope you will do a follow-up at some time in the future. I fell in love with Magic – I have a black Lab and know how much affection they give and how smart the are. Headed to your other post now.
    Carol Graham recently posted…Return the Child – He Is Not Yours to Keep (Use Your Words May 2014)

  • Reply
    Laurel Regan
    May 17, 2014 at 3:41 am

    Definitely an inspiring story! Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    Betsy/Zen Mama
    May 17, 2014 at 5:15 am

    Corrine and Vidya,
    Thank you for this inspiring story! It makes me stop in my tracks and have gratitude for the life I live.
    Betsy/Zen Mama recently posted…18 Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes To Help You Find Peace Every Day

  • Reply
    May 17, 2014 at 6:26 am

    Most people crumble under such daunting disabilities and succumb to what they call their fate.Individuals like Sanam are hard to come by and their success in making their lives meaningful by overcoming the hardship by determination serve as beacon light to others.The support of Suraj is no less admirable.
    My thanks are due to both Corrine and Vidya for bringing out such inspiring incidents
    KP recently posted…The kind heart

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 17, 2014 at 8:28 am

      Thank you Mr. KP! You are right. It is all too easy to give up and blame circumstances. Only the truly courageous can move forward and emerge victorious! Nice to see you 🙂

    • Reply
      Corinne Rodrigues
      May 17, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Yes, Mr KP, the strength of Sanam’s spirit and their love is truly remarkable.
      Thank you.
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…Stay Creative

  • Reply
    May 17, 2014 at 10:05 am

    woww that is truly inspiring. It goes on to prove how much a person can achieve by sheer will power and strength. Thank you for this enlightening and motivating story.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…La La La, Can’t Hear You

    • Reply
      Corinne Rodrigues
      May 17, 2014 at 10:48 am

      True, Rajlakshmi. Great motivation for us all, right?
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…It Starts With An Idea

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 17, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      We humans can show supreme strength when we want to, Rajlakshmi – but most people feel intimidated by life’s situations. The fear holds them back. Love Sanam’s story!

      Thank you for commenting!
      Vidya Sury recently posted…Growing Up Moving On

  • Reply
    Shilpa Garg
    May 17, 2014 at 10:27 am

    WOW!! This is truly inspiring. Sanam is a living proof that all obstacles in life can be overcome and one can truly lead a happy life despite disabilities and hardship. Such grit and determination is simply awe-inspiring! Kudos to the husband too! Glad to read such a lovely story, this morning. And so good to see you here, Corinne! ♥
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…Wishes and Hopes

  • Reply
    Claire 'Word by Word'
    May 17, 2014 at 10:32 am

    A lovely story and the healing power of an animal,thank you so much for sharing this.
    Claire ‘Word by Word’ recently posted…The Rooms Are Filled

  • Reply
    May 17, 2014 at 10:55 am

    This is truly inspirational. On days when life seems difficult or the future looks scary, I will remember this story. Thanks for sharing Corinne.
    Suzy recently posted…Body Parts Tell A Story

  • Reply
    Proactive Indian
    May 17, 2014 at 11:16 am

    “I cried because I had no shoes. Then I met a man who had no feet.”
    Many of us cry when we face the smallest of setbacks. Sanam has surmounted such a huge double setback (her parents’ death and her own paralysis) and still has so much enthusiasm! Truly inspirational!!
    Suraj is no less inspirational, not to forget Magic and others who have supported Sanam!

    That was a great post, Corinne! Congratulations on 1001, Vidya!
    Proactive Indian recently posted…Mere paas maa hai!

  • Reply
    Roshan R
    May 17, 2014 at 11:41 am

    No pun intended (considering the dogs name) but this story is absolutely magical. Its one of those moments where you just feel like saying “Faith in humanity restored.”
    God bless them.
    You also raised a significant point on India not being wheel chair friendly .. forget malls and all, even some major hospitals are not presently which is so sad.
    Roshan R recently posted…Godzilla – Movie review

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 17, 2014 at 11:57 am

      Thank you Roshan! I felt the same – the story is magical. As for being wheel chair friendly, I can name a prominent hospital where they just refuse to help those in wheel chairs in the city where i live. It is pathetic.
      Vidya Sury recently posted…The Best Job in the World

    • Reply
      Corinne Rodrigues
      May 17, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      I agree, Roshan. But magic takes a lot of inner strength too – and I’m amazed at how they dig deep to find those.
      About the wheel chairs, it’s pathetic! We are an insensitive nation in many ways.
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…Value Decisions

  • Reply
    May 17, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    What a stunning story Corinne! I love that Magic came into her life, that she found true love and that she runs a home for dogs. Her strength and courage, and her desire to live a full life are what made all this possible. You said she’s active on social media – I would love to follow her and get to know this amazing woman better.

  • Reply
    Kalpana Solsi
    May 18, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Corinne and Vidya , thanks for sharing this truly inspiring post about Sanam and Suraj and their lovely pet. Reading this post about overcoming odds ad living life to the fullest makes one wonder the reason behind day-to-day cribs about small hurdles.
    Kalpana Solsi recently posted…password

  • Reply
    Sreeja Praveen
    May 18, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Aha, what a Magical story, for all the love and support that Sanam has in her life, and for all the determination and enthusiasm that she exudes, despite the odds she’s had to face ! And Magic is indeed weaving magic into her soul 🙂 Love Sanam, and love Suraj for being her the support and love in her life 🙂
    This is true inspiration !
    Hugsssss , Sanam dear. All the love and more power to you !
    Thanks, Corinne, for sending her our love 🙂
    Thanks, Vidya, for bringing Corinne here 🙂
    Sreeja Praveen recently posted…The Realization……

  • Reply
    Shine Kapoor
    May 18, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Such real life champions make all trouble look small. Nice post!
    Shine Kapoor recently posted…In praise of NaMo – Narendra Modi.

  • Reply
    May 18, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Thanks Corinne for writing on the inspiring and triumphant story of Sanam cum the beautiful love story with Suraj. She has proved that with the right attitude, triumph in the face of adversity is the biggest human victory.
    vishalbheeroo recently posted…What next,Pradhan Mantri-ji? Letter to Shri Narendra Modi, elected PM of India

  • Reply
    simple girl
    May 18, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    wow!! very inspiring story …
    simple girl recently posted…AtoZchallenge – Z for… Oh yes, the last post for the challenge

  • Reply
    May 18, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    How inspiring and a pillar of strength! She helps animals and she, in turn, has so much love she offers and receives. I often hear people complain about things they can’t have or say they can’t do but they do not take the effort to try. I think when times are easy people become more entitled and don’t want to even try because they have to exert more than they want to so they want others to do it for them. I watch Dancing With The Stars and there is a lady on there who dances really well and she has 2 fake legs. She was a teenager when she contracted a terrible illness and had a 2% chance of living. She survived but they had to amputate both her legs. She is now a Para-Olympian in skiing and is now dancing! I am inspired by people who overcome great odds and still have a positive attitude and use what happened to them to help others be it human kind or animals. They are an inspiration
    Birgit recently posted…For You, Alex!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 19, 2014 at 8:59 am

      Birgit, you are absolutely right. The idea of going that extra mile to achieve what they want is tough to accept for some people. And so they carry on, complaining constantly!

      In India, we have an amazing actor-dancer – Sudha Chandran – who has a prosthetic leg after she lost it in an accident. She started her career in films in 1984, ironically in a movie whose story revolved around a dancer’s life. She’s still very active on the small screen. In an interview she said she considers the loss of her leg a blessing!

      Truly, real life stories are most inspiring!

      Thank you for coming by!

    • Reply
      Corinne Rodrigues
      May 21, 2014 at 7:28 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Birgit and for the inspiring story you shared. I’m going to look out for it.
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…The Truth Shall Set You Free

  • Reply
    Stephanie Faris
    May 19, 2014 at 5:56 am

    What an inspiring, amazing story. I’ve always believed it’s not what happens to us in life, but how we react to it, and a story like this is proof of that.
    Stephanie Faris recently posted…Express Yourself: Fictional Characters

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 19, 2014 at 8:52 am

      That is so true, Stephanie! We can choose to be positive and walk that path. Thank you so much for dropping by! Just hopped over to your blog and loved the blog hop idea!

    • Reply
      Corinne Rodrigues
      May 21, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      You’re so right, Stephanie. It’s always what we make of our situations that makes the difference.
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…The Windmills Of Your Mind

  • Reply
    Susan Scott
    May 19, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful …
    Susan Scott recently posted…Reflections Post

  • Reply
    Found In Folsom
    May 19, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Wow….really inspiring Corinne. Thank you for sharing. I have always been the cribbing type..and I still am. Trust me, blogging helped me learn to appreciate life and be grateful for things that I am blessed with. And wonderful inspiring people like you as well. Vidya, need I say more that you are the epitome of positive thinking for a person I met in the virtual world? I am not bragging or praising…just letting you know what I feel. I big bear hug to both of you, wonderful ladies <3 And hats off to Sanam and her husband..lot to learn from their lives.
    Found In Folsom recently posted…Z- Zephyr!!!

  • Reply
    G Angela
    May 21, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Thank you vidya & corinne ! for sharing this inspiring story, it does touches the heart, I have no words for the way Sanam handled the situation.

    I salute her for being courageous and persistent !

    Congrats corinne for 1001 post !
    G Angela recently posted…Happy Mother’s Day 2014 !

  • Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge