"I like Suruchi's energy, charm, and charisma, which recharges me whenever I see her or talk to her," says 39-year-old Anuj Khanna of his wife Suruchi (38) adding, "It reminds me that she unconditionally supports me."
Given that they have been a couple for 26 years, that support seems unflagging, with Suruchi chiming in. "What I like about Anuj is that he is so enthusiastic, determined, and motivated each morning, of every day, to help the hundreds and thousands of people who are directly or indirectly connected with the SAVA and Sana families," Suruchi says.
SAVA International, the textiles company set up by Anuj’s family in 1980, is a leading creator, manufacturer and exporter of home furnishing fabrics and materials, while Sana Home Furnishings is the home fashion label,
largely overseen by Suruchi, under the SAVA brand. SAVA’s key manufacturing facilities are located in three cities in India - Delhi, Gurgaon and textile capital of India, Karur, Tamil Nadu, while the brand works in collaboration with a Dutch stylist and freelance designers from UK, France and Italy, for creating and fine tuning their seasonal collections, with their products available from Europe to the Middle East, South Korea, and the Americas.
They met in 1993 as students of Delhi's St Xavier School, and began their relationship. "We dated for nine years, full of excitement, all through our schooling, college, and it was a wonderful journey before we finally decided to tie the knot for good," says Anuj, who married in 2002, adding, "And it is an immense feeling of gratitude that we have been soul mates for over 26 years now."
The two began working together after their son and daughter had grown up. Suruchi decided to help Anuj in his work of design and export, and the couple started traveling abroad on business.
She quickly picked up the minutiae of designing textiles, international trading and other parts of the business. "While operations and finances remain a strong forte for Anuj, it is in the design and the sales and marketing, which is the engine of any business, where we both put our heads together in coming out with creative designs and creative ways of selling the products," says Suruchi, noting they follow this strategy for their domestic brand Sana as well as for producing for global retailers.
Speaking about striking a work-home life balance, the two admit it was initially a challenge as a young couple, "because there was no start and end time, and work was going on 24x7. However, as we matured, we were able to balance things well enough to spend quality time together and not to overthink and overexert ourselves. At home, we have got two beautiful kids, who are excelling, and it gives us great pleasure to be able to spend time with our son and our daughter".
Suruchi and Anuj also enjoy listening to music, and even there, "somehow our choices meet whether it is romantic songs or party music, because we both like to party hard, dance and have fun together, so that's a way of relaxing for both of us".
"The initial few days were upsetting and concerning, but we had to turn the tables around by focusing on what we can do best, whether it was the work-life or personal life, so we dug in our heels and concentrated on growing the business through webinars and virtual exhibitions, which have won plaudits for best design."
During the lockdown, Anuj also managed to write and publish his first book with The Biggest Problem of Buying Textiles from India and Seven Simple Steps to Fix It. You can guess who the first reader was.