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How a marketing manager turned into a wanderlust

Welcome to Chitra Katha…India through postcards. Photo courtesy: Ashish Godara

“Jobs fill your pockets but adventures fill your soul”- Jaime Beatty.

A quote very truly said but followed by very less. Here is our feature on Gurgaon based (though the location keeps changing)  Ashish Godara, an ex-marketing manager who started filling his soul with adventures by leaving his job.

Ashish’s entrepreneurial journey is indeed an interesting one because he has tried it all- being a farmer, a primary school teacher and a lot of other voluntary work all by the age of 29!

We had met Ashish at Geeli Meeti last year where we had interviewed him for one of our features for The Mountain Walker. Today, The Lifestyle Portal is very happy to share the story of how Chitra Katha founded by Ashish, a wanderlust travel brand came into being in January 2016. Way to go Ashish and happy first birthday to Chitra Katha!

How did it all begin?

Ashish always wanted to capture moments and this was the only thought he had in his mind when he left his job in March 2015 from the marketing field. “I wanted to stimulate people’s imagination through my pictures and hence began the journey that is continuing to date. I started travelling and chose Instagram as a medium to portray my work,” explains Ashish.

Ashish Godara – Founder, Chitra Katha

Initial Investments and branding

Happily travelling, Ashish recollects, “I invested in a good camera, a Sony A6000 and funded most of my travels from my personal savings. Most of the nights were spent eating in the temples and sheltering in Dharamshalas. The expenses had to be minimum, as the journey wasn’t coming to an end anytime sooner.”

He adds on “As the name suggests, Chitra Katha means stories through visuals and hence more than a concept, Chitra Katha is simply the way I travel. Travel brings me closer to people, people bring me closer to stories, and I capture these stories on my camera. I really think that the name itself is a brand that is connecting my work to the people.”

Challenges faced

Challenges are a part of life and when it comes to starting something interesting and new, challenges are something common. Ashish tells us, “I love taking portraits. I sit in one place and observe people around me and click what I like. The most formidable challenge is to not disturb them in what they are doing because if you do, you lose the moment. Another challenge is to promote your Instagram profile because it takes a lot of effort and time. You have to try and maintain a balance and divide your time between working on the internet and working on camera.

“A major challenge, explains Ashish, “is to support yourself till the time your project starts supporting itself. So you have to find more ways to make money and still keep getting better at what you are doing.”

Meeting point. Photo courtesy: Ashish Godara

Partnering with MissGuideYou

What adds to the charm of adventures is when liked minded adventurous souls partner and come up together. Ashish is now partnering with MissGuideYou, an initiative by two sisters on a journey to empower women and help them participate more in the travel industry. He says, “I have partnered with MissGuideYou and hope to convert my travel stories into experiences for people to live.”

Photography and travelling

“I use Sony A6000 and occasionally my simple android phone. What I think inspires me the most is the connections that come out of random conversations. These people I connect with during my journeys are an important part of Chitra Katha. I strive to give a face to different people with different stories,” smiles Ashish.

He humbly adds on, “Chitra Katha has always been about pan India. I have posted pictures from my experiences in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Kashmir, Gujarat and rest of North India.” Well, this shows the level of thrill and adventures Ashish is into.

A smile speaks a thousand words. Photo courtesy: Ashish Godara

Future plans

“My vision is to document people and their lives and express them in my own style while making sure these people connect. If I can make people more sensitive towards each other’s way of living life and make them feel a little less strange towards each other, then I think my purpose is solved.

I also plan to start my YouTube channel where I will post videos from my travels. I will then be associating it with my blogs where I shall post hacks on travelling across India for free or on a cheap budget for all the budding travellers.”

Journey so far

Every journey is beautiful in its own way and has its own beautiful path. Ashish’s journey is no less beautiful. Though challenges persist, the response for Chitra Katha has been great. Here is what Ashish tells about it, “The response has been very encouraging so far. I now have some ardent followers who are closely connected to me on various social media platforms and I hope to increase this number by leaps and bounds.”

Where time stands still. Photo courtesy: Ashish Godara

Text by Bhumika Vikam

The Lifestyle Portal

Tanya is a graduate in Sociology from Sophia College, Mumbai, a post-graduate in Communications and Media from SNDT Women’s University in Mumbai and holds a Master's Degree in Journalis & Mass Communications from Chandigarh University. A former writing mentor and a seasoned lifestyle writer, Tanya writes columns on The Lifestyle Portal of life and living.

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