Using pure guts and perseverance, Pratiksha Tondwalkar, a single mother from a lowly home, climbed the corporate ladder at State Bank of India (SBI). Here’s an article on her inspiring journey from a sweeper to assistant general manager at SBI.
After her husband passed away, Pratiksha Tondwalkar began working at a State Bank of India (SBI) office in Mumbai doing a small job when she was 20 years old.She had no idea that 37 years later, Tondwalkar she would be in a top role at the organisation. Tondwalkar worked as a sweeper before she had completed her education.
She studied hard and put in a lot of effort because she was determined to make life better for herself and her kid. As a result, the largest lender in the nation has now promoted her to the position of assistant general manager.
The tale of Tondwalkar is noteworthy in India’s heavily male-dominated banking industry. Women, who are frequently socially restrained, have had to go above and beyond to advance their jobs while still having to take care of their families.
In 1964, Tondwalkar was born in Pune. Because of her parents’ financial situation, she was married off to Sadashiv Kadu at the age of 16, before she had finished her class 10 examinations.
Kadu was employed by SBI as a book binder and was headquartered in Mumbai. After a year, she gave birth to her first child, Vinayak, and the family decided to take the baby to the village to thank the Almighty. A crash left Kadu dead, when they were travelling.
Tondwalkar, a 20-year-old widow, was crushed.She would be left to care for her son and herself.
Tondwalkar informed Moneycontrol that she had to travel to the SBI bank at the time to retrieve her husband’s outstanding debts.
“I knew I had to work, but I lacked the abilities to do it. I asked the bank to help me find job so that I could survive.” At that point, Tondwalkar managed to secure a temporary position at the bank as a sweeper.
She cleaned the restrooms, dusted the furniture, and swept the branch’s property for two hours in the morning, putting in between Rs. 60 and Rs. 65 every month.
Tondwalkar started enquiring about ways to complete her class 10 examinations. She went over to a couple bank employees, who were more than happy to help. They assisted her with filling out the exam paperwork and even gave her a month of study time off.
The biggest challenge for her was finding books and study materials. Fortunately, her family, friends, and coworkers assisted out by getting her the study materials and assisting her in passing the class 10 examinations with a score of 60%.”
After passing her tests, she didn’t turn back.
Tondwalkar was aware that passing the banking tests was necessary for both her own relief from financial strain and the future security of her kid. Passing class 12 was the minimal requirement for banking examinations.
Tondwalkar said, “My financial situation was in shambles. I scarcely made any money . I had a difficult task—securing my home and caring for my son—but I had to get through it.” With the aid of her funds, Tondwalkar made the decision to enrol at a night college in Mumbai’s Vikhroli.
She opted for a night college, studied with the aid of her peers, passed the class 12 tests, and then graduated in psychology in 1995. She was then given a promotion to bank clerk.
As a single mother, Tondwalkar admitted, “it was tough for me to defy the obstacles and stand up for myself, especially to study.”
“I often had to choose between my job and my son, but I had to constantly remind myself that I was working for Vinayak.”
Tondwalkar made the decision to wed a bank messenger, Pramod Tondwalkar, a second time in 1993. Pramod supported her and urged her to take the banking examinations.
He also assisted her in raising their two children and took care of home duties. His parents didn’t support her, so he cut ties with them in order to support his family.
You are nothing without your family, and fortunately for me, they have provided me with a lot of support, said Tondwalkar. Besides Pramod, Tondwalkar eldest child, Vinayak, also supported her. He helped out the family and urged his mother to continue her education and never give up.
Tondwalkar was promoted as trainee officer in 2004, progressed through the different officer grades, and was finally appointed AGM in June. Tondwalkar has two more years left before retiring.
Despite the fact that her 37-year employment with SBI was successful, she still has a long way to go. Tondwalkar graduated from a naturopathy programme in 2021, and after retiring she plans to utilise her education to help others.