As a clumsy child, Sudhakshine was in a habit of breaking things at her house. “My parents told me that if I’m going to be breaking stuff, I’d better learn how to fix them too,” she recollects. And from there began her tryst with machines. She’d open up every gadget she could find, only to put it back together.
But her family had other plans – “My parents wanted me to be a doctor and treat people, but I wanted to be an engineer and treat machines!”
When she eventually joined the engineering wing in college, she saw many frowning faces; “People thought I was just trying to gain attention,” she says. Being the only girl in the batch with strict parents and a curfew at home, she would often get bullied by her male classmates – “Every time my hand went up, I’d be booed to silence.” But she was determined to achieve her dreams and excelled in her academics.
In 2020, she proposed to build a recycling machine that converts plastic into pavement tiles. She secured the funding for it but it fell through when the lockdown began. Devastated, she came across a government advert for the Smart India Hackathon 2020 and immediately applied – but it had to be a team project.
With just 2 months to turn in the final project, Sudhakshine went around asking her classmates to come on board. “People didn’t take me seriously,” she says. But after trying for a while, she finally convinced some of her peers to work with her and together they created a gateway for the device that could segregate jute for the Textile Ministry of India.
The project was selected to go on the National level. They ended up as runners-up, however, her success story inspired the people around her to view her in a different light.
“It's never easy to rise up in a man’s world; people won’t accept you for the ideas you have, your path will be filled with criticism. But girls need to own up to them and stand up for themselves.” She urges other girls to take criticism constructively and face all challenges head-on.
#Mahindra salutes the entrepreneurial spirit of Sudakshine, who inspires other girls to challenge the status quo and break the glass ceiling. #PeopleWhoRise