“Doesn’t matter if you cannot see the world, do something that whole world sees you,” these word by Bhavesh Bhatia‘s mother were enough to keep him going. Despite the darkness he was surrounded with, he chose to venture into the business of lights – he started dealing in candles and took it to humongous Rs 25 crore. This is a story of sheer determination, immense struggle and a life full of attainment.
Bhavesh hails from the beautiful hill station Mahabaleshwar. His blindness was not the only problem but they were plagued by severe financial crisis. While in school, he was teased at by other boys which made him a loner. However, later on he made a lot of good friends because of his good nature.
Bhavesh’s mother was a cancer patient and most of what they earned was spent on her treatment. For him, she was his biggest teacher and inspiration. She taught him – because his partial blindness never allowed him to read properly. She helped him till post-graduation after which he started working in a hotel. However, the job did not last long as Bhavesh completely lost his eyesight. The biggest setback in the life of Bhavesh arrived with the death of his mother.
In a short span, Bhavesh lost his job, eyesight and life’s biggest support. These were enough difficulties for a person to lose faith in life but Bhavesh was determined to overcome the obstacles and build a better life for himself.
The beginning was a lot of thinking. Bhavesh liked making kites in his childhood. He also made toys and idols from clay. He thought of making and selling clay toys but soon started making candles. He got trained to making candles at the National Association Of Blinds in Mumbai. He started making candles in the night and selling them in the daytime. He hired some space in the local market of Mahabaleshwar and set up his cart. His economy was simple, he would pay Rs 50 on rent and saved the half for raw material for next day. Meanwhile, he met a girl named Neeta, fell in love and got married.
Early days in business were tough for Bhavesh. He tried to get assistance from experts but no one helped. He also tried to get a loan to expand his business but came back empty-handed. But it was a turning point when Satara Bank gave him a loan of Rs 15,000 under a scheme for blinds. Soon, the couple bought a two-wheeler and started selling the candles by visiting nearby cities. Neeta used to ride the two wheeler and soon learned driving a van.
This helped Bhavesh in taking his products to other cities. Bhavesh also visited several other stores and started feeling the candles with touch. This way he would get an idea of making expensive candles.
Today, Sunrise Candles is owned by Bhavesh and is manufacturing 9,000 varieties of multipurpose candles. They use 25 tonnes of wax imported from Britain for everyday candle making. Their clients include Reliance Industries, Ranbaxy, Big Bazaar, Rotary Club and many such renowned organisations. But the biggest achievement is that his company employs 200 people and all of them are blind.
Neeta is looking after the administrative part of the company and training blind women to become self dependent by learning candle making. Bhavesh is also a good sportsman. He works out in a special gym made in his factory. Runs eight km everyday, practices shot put, javelin and discus throw. He also won 109 medals in Paralympic Games.
After living a challenging and successful life till today, Bhavesh wants more challenges. He wants to become world’s first blind human to climb Mount Everest. More power to you, man!