September 30, 2023
Defying Sky-high Limits
People Profile

Defying Sky-high Limits

Mar 8, 2020

This Women’s Day, MARWAR features strong-willed inspiring women who have made a mark in their fields. The relentless Anjali Saraogi who took to running marathons at the age of 41 to Sheena Agarwal who took her passion into creating AGASHE, the multi-designer store; they both share their stories and advice for aspiring women.

Anjali Saraogi

Whereas most professional athletic careers usually don’t cross the finishing line, Anjali Saraogi’s runs have gained gradual momentum. Saraogi, who always had a fascination for running, participated in her first half-marathon at the age of 41, after her daughter motivated her to do so. Leaving her inhibitions behind, with her daughter’s push, she tenaciously completed the race in 1 hour and 55 minutes, finishing third, much to the delight of her family. Since then, there has been no turning back for Saraogi. Her professional career then took flight in 2015. The indefatigable runner didn’t give up even after a serious injury and clocked 8 hours, 38 minutes and 23 seconds in the 2017 Comrades Marathon, setting the fastest time for an Indian woman runner, and overall, the second-fastest time for Indian runners. Her dedication and passion have since seen her breaking records in marathons, both in India and abroad, and now she looks forward to competing in the remaining major world marathons. Read her full story here. 

Saraogi, who runs a medical diagnostic centre with her husband Arvind when she is not running marathons, chats with MARWAR about her successes and about women in sports this Women’s Day.

What was the single most important decision you made that has contributed to your success?

“I followed my heart, as much as possible.”

What do you think are some of the challenges that women still face?

“Women forget to look after themselves; they tend to neglect their health and fitness since they are so busy focusing on the well-being of other family members.”
“ Women are not encouraged since childhood to follow their heart, nor pursue sports, or even allowed to be the focus of their lives by themselves. Hence, by and large, age becomes a mental and social barrier, inhibiting women and keeping them from following their passion.”

Looking back, is there anything you wish you would have done differently?

“I would’ve started running in my childhood and followed my passion.”

Our society is more open now. The youth (both male and female) are better educated, well-travelled and exposed to different cultures. They are now challenging old norms—be it in choice of career or lifestyle. Women are more financially independent. See more about her perspective on Marrying Outside the community here.

What are your opinions on gender equality?

“There is tremendous gender inequality and only women can change this. It is imperative to educate the girl child so that she does not think that her life is dependent on a brother, or son, or husband.

Who have been your pillars of support in your journey?

My pillars are my husband, daughter, parents and sister.

A mantra you live by.

Life is now! Regret is a meaningless distraction. This is my time and I need to live it, NOW.

Sheena Agarwal

Sheena Agarwal’s desire to provide her patrons with a peerless experience resulted in AGASHE, the multi-designer store, which launched in 2016. An unparalleled image consultant and having guidance by Carla Mathis, Christine Ong, Linney Marks, Sheena also founded Urbanista Image Consulting LLP to enable her clients develop and create a mark in whatever they do. Agarwal has many accolades to her name; she is India’s first REACH-certified personal brand strategist, a Neuro Linguistic Practitioner and a professional make-up stylist.

AGASHE is the A to Z stop for all-things couture. The multi-designer store houses the latest offerings from noteworthy names in the fashion world like Nikhil Thampi, Samant Chauhan & Pallavi Mohan. One can also find a spread of accessories and jewellery from the biggest names. All of this, complemented with Sheena’s expertise, gives the client an impeccable personalised service.

In a tête-à-tête with MARWAR, Sheena Agarwal shares her journey and advice for aspiring women entrepreneurs.

What was the single most decision you made that has contributed to your success?

“Perseverance, you must push for things that you want to achieve. I just decided that come what may, I will make 365 turns around the sun count.”

What do you think are some of the challenges that women still face in your industry?

“Expectation to balance it all. While we are to work and make something of ourselves, we need to run our house just as efficiently. Industry wise, the fashion world is all for women, so I don’t think women find it difficult to belong.”

“Earlier, the Marwari community was very close-knit, but with time they have become more inclusive” says Sheena Agarwaal. Read more about her perspective on Marrying Outside the Community here. 

Any advice you would like to give aspiring women entrepreneurs.

“If you have an idea, just go for it. Don’t contemplate too much. Most ventures never took off because we over analysed.”

 Looking back is there anything you wish you would have done differently?

“Nothing, I am happy for this journey of learning.”

Who have been your pillars of support in your journey?

“My parents, they never told me that I couldn’t achieve whatever I set out to do.”

What are your opinions on gender equality?

“I don’t fight for equality. Men and women are different. What I want is for women and men to be enabled to reach their optimum potential. Don’t hinder their growth in a way that they cannot do what they are capable of.”

A mantra you live by.

“No Mantra, I just want to live every day to the best that I can.”



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