Varsha Adusumilli’s debut book ‘Wonder Girls’ seeks to inspire young girls by narrating the journey and stories of 15 accomplished women across the country. “These stories are relatable and will help the young reader to aspire for more,” says Varsha
HYDERABAD: Didi, are you single?”.... “Didi, how did you tell your family that you want to go to Bengaluru to work and live alone?” ...“What should I do to be like you? How can I tell my parents not to get me married soon?”...These were some of the questions that teenage girls asked Varsha Adusumilli when she went to a village near Jaipur, Rajasthan, for a friend’s wedding in April 2016. Their queries and their zeal to break their boundaries and make it big in life got her thinking.
“I felt that there are thousands of girls like them who just need a little nudge to follow their big dreams. They need a bit of hand-holding to help them move forward. Reading about Priyanka Chopra and her world domination is inspiring, but soon enough may feel that such success stories are far-fetched. These girls, I felt, needed relatable role models to get inspired. That’s when it hit me that perhaps a book compiling accomplished women from amongst us would be a good read for them.
That’s how the seed for Wonder Girls, my first book, was planted,” says the 29-year-old writer who is an entrepreneur and startup specialist. An alumnus of Nalanda School in Hyderabad and BITS Pilani – Goa, Varsha has been living in Bengaluru since 2011 and is currently busy promoting her book. Wonder Girls was launched in Bengaluru on August 9.
Soon after she returned to Bengaluru after the wedding, Varsha got down to making a list of 25 accomplished women professionals between the age group of 24 to 33 and started contacting them through her friend’s network to reach out to them and ask them their stories. After spending over 12 hours with each of these women, she finally shortlisted it to 15. “Wonder Girls is a book of the success stories of millennials who fought to do it their way.
The stories are varied and inclusive. From Shravya Kag, a confused-yet-gritty Vijayawada girl who is now a top photographer in New York to Nilparna Sen from Surat, a girl who was written off when she was in her teens and today a sought-after fitness expert, Neha Pardeshi, the Rugby Captain from Pune who suffered multiple injuries, but made it to the top in the game, to Gowri Varanashi, a rock climber from Varadenahalli who is the first Indian woman to climb the 7b+ grade French Indian Masala Route, each of these stories will tell the reader the challenges they faced and how they overcame it. These girls are real, like any of us. They hail from the kind of socio-economic backgrounds like my target group of readers and have families with similar mindsets. That is the reason these stories will work for my reader,” Varsha states.
Varsha says that she was lucky to have mentors such as Vani Kola, MD, Kalaari Capital and a startup investor and Lavanya Ashok, MD, Goldman Sachs who have played a role in shaping her. “In fact, I owe it to Vani Kola for encouraging me always. I am glad she has written the foreword for my book. I wanted young girls in villages and towns to get the same guidance through my book.”
Her research for her book brought her face to face with several shocking gender statistics. “Did you know that only 1 percent of Indian girls have played any kind of organised sport in their lives? Globally only 20 percent of photojournalists are women.” Every profile starts with a statistic like this and the stories are written in a simple, lucid chronological way. Each story tells the reader about the background of the woman, the kind of upbringing she had and how she finally made it. “I made sure the book has actionable and practical advice. So if a young girl wants to become a radio jockey but not sure how to go about or convince her folks to let her take it up, the story of Sucharita Tyagi from a middle-class family in Delhi will help them to go ahead.”
Varsha hopes she will be able to get her book translated into regional languages too shortly and reach out girls in smaller towns too. “I hope every Indian girl will be able to relate to my stories and derive the drive from here. That will be the day,” she says.
Varsha will be in Hyderabad on August 23 at ISB, Gachibowli, to promote her book. The 255-page book by Juggernaut is priced at `299 and available in book and online stores.
— Manju Latha Kalanidhi kalanidhi