I am a big time lover of reading and writing articles and a photography addict. Love exploring new places and meet different people from different cultures. DSLRs are the coolest gizmos which I enjoy most. Love the power of web through social media. Traveled almost different nooks of the country but that time I was without my best equipment i.e. my camera. Now its time to bring a radical change to how I travel and write about it.
To begin this narrative writing on how people try to maintain a resolution during the last 3 to 4 days of the past year and try to maintain the same in the first 3 to 4 days of the new year; wishing everyone a very happy new year 2018.
So what exactly is a resolution? As per dictionary statement it is a firm resolution to do or not to do something. But the question, how often do we stick to what we say during the new year’s eve? Many of us do, but majority don’t. Just for the namesake we keep saying that a particular thing would be our new year’s resolution but as time progresses we find it difficult to do the same and then we keep on saying that at least I gave it a try and question others that did they? That’s a shame as per my thinking. If you can’t don’t question others.
Now comes the core part, sticking to it. We all understand that once a hard resolution is committed and fed to the brain, it must be undertaken. So in order to ease out everyday life, lets make simple resolutions. For eg. Right from the start of the new year I won’t be smoking; this is a very lame resolution as the habit can’t be quit so easily. Again I say, smoking is a habit. So it is beneficial to stick to simpler ones. Following are some we all can stick to in 2018.
I will consume more and more water for my body to function properly.
I support the vegan movement and will reduce meat intake.
Lets resolute to help the poor and the needy once a month from the money saved by not visiting many pubs and lounges.
I will practice yoga daily and will retain myself to waking up early morning.
I will cut down on high calorie foods since it leads to obesity.
Daily tasks in my office would be duly completed on time and say NO to procrastination.
YES to more of fruit intake as that adds vital vitamins and minerals to the body.
Travel plans every month for rejuvenating the mind and soul. A break is needed for refreshment.
Will cut down my daily smoking habits; in-spite of finishing a pack daily lets retain to 2 to 3. Eventually cut it down too.
NO more of hard drinking and binge drinking. Drinking everyday is bad for health so will drink occasionally.
Ain’t these too hard to achieve? Definitely not. So mere resolutions doesn’t count. One has lift himself up from the comfort hole to achieve the greatness. Unless one is lifting himself up, in this competitive world there is lesser chance to find a warm shoulder or a helping hand. One becomes what one aspires and taking a resolution is the very first step to achieve the same. This year I resolute to cut down gradually on smoking and consuming alcohol whilst at the same time achieve prosperity in my work place by keeping myself up-to-date with the deadlines.
The depression has been killing me for the long time. It was more of a battle that I was fighting within myself, the heart brain conflict you can say, but more or less it was a conquest of evil over good and I was going through a lot of pain. Well for pain, it accumulates to my alcohol addiction, which I know is bad but gives me relief for the time being, and work schedule. The new job and the designation aspires me to do more but not getting much time for myself to explore and do more creative work is exactly very frustrating. It looks good in the starting phase but not for very long. I needed a break and that was all running at the back of my mind even when I was presenting some marketing pitch ideas. And I got one.
This time the focus was solely on discovering a city which I visited as a child and not since then, ever, until this time. Most of the time what happens is that I run after the mountains, the clouds, the greenery and the complete serenity but this time it was the barrenness if the desert that was calling me and hence I embarked on my journey to Bikaner in the state of Rajasthan, India. The city has a royal heritage and it is said that this is the very city which is the entry point of the Thar Desert. India as a country has diverse climate and regions and only one desert i.e. the Thar Desert. I stay in New Delhi, because of the job that I do and the journey took some 7 hours by train to reach the Bikaner railway station. The journey was comfortable. Indian railways are impressive to many extents, the people and the landscape to everything. I interacted with some of the people who travel by that very train and sharing a cigarette with someone whom I never knew and I will never see, on a running train, was simply awesome.
Such barren lands
A local shepherd’s hut
MIrror Image at the railway station
Bikaner is one of the princely cities of Rajasthan. The city has its royal heritage dating back to the 1450s. It is said that Rao Bikaji is the founder of this city. Rao Bikaji was one of the five sons of Rao Jodhaji, who infact is the founder of the city of Jodhpur. When Bikaji arrived far and east leaving his father’s kingdom over a heated argument, he arrived in Bikaner and established the city and made it his kingdom. He built the ornate forts and other castles of the city, built primarily of red sandstone that withstood the passage of time. Today, the Indian government and the trustees of the forts spent lump sum amounts in their maintenance and also aid comes from the Indian government and the government of Rajasthan.
This fort holds the prestige of never been conquered and not even during the British rule. The fort was built by Raja Rai Singh during 1540s and has since then played a prominent part to contribute to the history of India. Bikaner as a princely state was always held of high grandeur until it got merged with the Indian union of states and territories post-independence during 1947 to 1948. The royal family of Bikaner used to live in this fort and rule the entire north western region of Rajasthan. The construction of the fort is believed to be so royal that in those times that marbles were specially imported from Rome to lay the foundation of the floors. Special Mughal craftsmen and architects were called to design the monuments and arches. This fort is stupendous in many extents and forget not, this fort has one of the two fighter planes that was used during World War I. The British gifted this to the then ruler of Bikaner for his loyal services. The rulers of Bikaner were believed to be loyal devotees of Karni Mata. Today it is commonly called the rat temple and lies some 45kms south of the city. Due to lack of time and unpleasant heat during day time, I could not manage to visit the temple but remains in my bucket list.
These are the places where the kings and queens were cremated. The royal cenotaphs are located some 8kms west of the city on the highway connecting Bikaner to the state capital Jaipur. The road to this place is extremely barren and arid landscape plus hot sands are a disaster, but worth relishing every now and then. Don’t forget to carry your polarized shades and plenty of drinking water if you want to visit these cenotaphs. Well history says that, it is simply a burial ground. But the architecture and the blend of Mughal and Persian plus Rajput arts make this place worth a visit. The cenotaphs are a shinigexample of Rajasthani arts and culture. It is also known as Devi Kund Sagar, which a lake that’s almost dried up. The cremation/burial ground is just adjacent to this lake. The floral patterns are seen throughout the place and during summer months, when you might be resting under one of the cenotaphs, sighting a peacock resting by your side is a common scenario. I missed the peacock though.
#KoteGate Market Place
Due to shortage of time and struggling finances, I had to call off the trip. Two important palaces I had to leave, primarily because those were closed on those two days and secondly I struggled with my expenditure. The market place around Kote Gate is highly vibrant and the most thriving one in Bikaner. It is believed to be one of the oldest market place of the city. From shops serving snacks and sweets to jewelry and clothing and garments, everything is available in those lanes surrounding the gate. This place is highly popular for the history buffs since the lanes are centuries old and the pillars of the old lanes have seen it all. Also for shopaholics, this, this, this is the place where you can spend heavily from buying some local food to souvenirs.
Kote Gate and the busy streets
These are the oil fried snacks which are lip smacking
This is the most prominent Jain temple of the city and dates back centuries. It is believed that this temple has its existence prior to the formation of the present city. As I stated before that when the king fled the kingdom of Jodhpur to establish his own city in the far North West, he took shelter in this very temple as he and his army was thirsty and already many of his men died of hunger. It is believed that once a priest met a rich businessman of those times and he was told to keep a valuable object that the priest owned. But somehow the businessman lost it and when the priest demanded its return he was unable to give it to him and the priest said that to avenge the disappointment a temple must be built. Hence the merchant started construction of this temple. The entire depiction of arts, culture, sins and righteousness in Hinduism and Jainism is depicted in the walls of the temple. It is one place which just cannot be missed, especially those who love arts and wall paintings.
That’s much of it. This trip was mostly of a self-time-needed break for me. I wish I could have more time and sincerely wish that I could have spent less on buying good whiskey and rum. Being frugal is good but for unplanned trips when come to a sudden halt due to shortage of money, the reckoning comes that, what if had I been thrifty?
Bikaner is a place which can be covered in 3 to 4 days if the trip be taken on a luxurious scale. Else 2 days is maximum to cover the length and breadth of the city. It is a small city well connected by railways and roads to the rest of the country and is a military base for both the army and the air force. So, sighting army convoys and jeeps is a common sight. Yet, nothing to worry about, everything is okay for tourists. So do let me know if anyone is planning a trip to this city anytime soon, would be super happy to accompany you.
Mountains have a different story to tell. They stand tall, firm, high up touching the clouds and also support livestock. People are also dependent on these mountains, at least the mountains in Northern States of Indi and Nepal protect the subcontinent from the dry winds of the Gobi Desert and traps the monsoon clouds. Well, Himalayas, the mighty Himalayas have helped us Indians in many ways and we pay our tribute to it by exploring the mountains. But there is one particular hill station that has an amazing charm to it. It was the summer retreat for the Britishers during the British Raj. Even today old buildings speak of the grand way the Britishers stayed there. The place is Mussoorie, some 500 kilometers from New Delhi and one of the many places where I would love to go countless times.
Mussoorie has a charm of its own. From dense thick forest cover to the clouds covering up the mighty Himalayas, the small hill town has appealed to me in countless ways. It is just a 7-hour drive from New Delhi and I have been there almost 5 to 6 times, but always with a gaze in my eyes and wondering to discover something new this time. If the weather conditions are perfect, Mussoorie is the ideal place for spotting the various mountain ranges and in turn giving it a blue hue. Whenever I feel an urge to go, this place pops up in my mind out of nowhere.
A silent walk by the Mall Road leads to the heart of the town. This part of the town is prone to good bistros and cafe. However it is very difficult to spot a good quality premium bar here, although most of the restaurants serve liquor. There is not many plces to view here, but circling Mussoorie one can plan a trip to countless places like Kanatal camping grounds, Dhanaulti, Chakhrota, Yamunotri, etc. to name a few. Some waterfalls are here and fetch large number of tourists. Increased tourism although has almost finished their natural beauty; all thanks to littering and plastics. The major one is Kempty Falls located 13km away from the city.
But if one has a keen eye to observe nature, the blue hills can be spotted if traveled around the city. They are a pure delight and mesmerizes the human mind in many ways.
One just has to look for these. I somehow feel associated with this place and the mountains. Here’s a glimpse of the small town and the blue mountains. When I am depressed or when my travel bug kept biting, Mussoorie never failed to astonish me.
** Disclaimer: It is to be duly noted that I have not edited any one of the photos to give it a blue look and also didn’t shoot any of these photos in the Incandescent mode of my camera.
Photography was a hobby that I acquired from my dad, as I stated in one of my previous blogs. It always gave me that sense to express myself in a better way. Freedom of speech is what I have achieved by clicking photos of the people and places. Thus began my journey of this blog where I solely focus on people, places, and photographs. Marketing people know the 3Cs and 4Ps of marketing. Here I am introducing the 3Ps of wanderlust, that has vibrantly worked in my case. Unless there is color in your life, life is pretty much meaningless because none prefers to live in mere binary numbers.
So while discovering places and capturing people, I have realized that I have grown a sense of becoming a street photographer, in a way capturing daily objects and things that encounter on the streets. Be it while traveling to a cafe or going to hang out with friends, I just keep on capturing items and you can see that from my Instagram feed. Being the street photographer I face numerous hurdles which I believe others can quickly relate to. But, it is worth mentioning that every hurdle comes with a vital lesson.
Is always hard to get the balanced frame because of constant people movements in crowded streets like those of India. Hence it’s a divine pleasure when despite constant people movements the perfect frame to mind’s satisfaction gets clicked.
Including human elements in some particular photographs always adds value to it. Despite looking for something else to shoot, the addition of certain human elements gives the entire frame a different appeal altogether. I have faced this multiple times but never regretted after the shot. In the photograph shown below, these two men appeared all of a sudden into the frame and give it a good shot of light and shadows. All I wanted to shoot was those incoming cars and the lamps.
Patience is the key to everything; everything comes at a price. In order to shoot certain frames, you need to wait for the frame that you want to capture. The wait is worth the time you spend for that. For eg. I had to wait for almost more than 15 minutes in order to capture a frame where at least I tried to find someone looking at my camera. Finally managed to find one looking right at me and click-click-boom.
Be prepared for unwanted surprises. These come random and very frequently and one needs to develop that eye in order to capture the same. Here are some shots where unexpected things happened giving me the delight.
In the pic shown below, I wanted to capture the empty door when suddenly this man came and stared right at me.
The foremost thing is to develop the eye for everything. This is very crucial and very important. One doesn’t need a high-end camera to keep on capturing shots. The high-end camera is of no use if you don’t know where to use it rather than how to; that can be learned. People these days are coming up with stunning shots using just the cellphone camera and that is what one needs to start capturing random things happening around us, every single time. The eye is everything and keep shooting till the mind is satisfied. I remember days when from morning till dusk I was out in the streets. That gave me immense pleasure to come back home and check the entire set of photos that I have clicked. Imperfection gives way to what we define as perfect.
We have come a long way and personally speaking I even didn’t realize it all would happen. Looking back at 2014, when I came to online space for blogging and publishing my photos, all I can say that it was an amazing ride. Lots of struggles, downturns, managing the economy for travel plans, borrowing money, figuring out the time to fit the perfect word and plenty of other things, but every effort was worth cherishing for. Today, here it stands as a story telling travel blog that has been surviving despite the harsh situation of the StoryTeller.
People who go well with signs and symbols can quickly relate to the logo. It is the Valknut, a popular symbol or Nordic culture and this has been used multiple times in Norwegian and Celtic folklore and inscriptions. Valknut has been used multiple times in reference to Odin, a very strange and peculiar Nordic mythical character. The symbol has also been found on stone carvings depicting as a funerary motif depicting the afterlife. It’s the afterlife where the soul is free, free from all the shackles and boundaries when it was entrapped in the body. Freedom from every worries and stress or whatever it is, the main concept is that it’s free. That’s how traveling should be. One should travel in a way where there is complete freedom to go to places, click pictures and experience the new culture and the aura f the destination. Hence Valknut is the one which appropriately fits the vision. Needless to explain what the flying bird depicting peace is for.
ForWanderlust is going large. What started off from a personal blog isn’t a personal blog anymore. These days I am busy roping in contributors from PAN India and around the globe to share their travel stories. Focus solely lies on storytelling, stories that are genuine and experiences which are worth sharing. From active advertising to promotions, there has been an active growth of fan base from around the world, majorly India, USA, the UK and Canada. Now every step is like taking a big step. We all know the saying that Rome was not built in a day and the same applies to this also.
The very next step would be something we all dream of when it comes to budget travel. Let that be the surprise. As the admin person of ForWanderlust and being a budget traveler myself, the key to success for this blog will remain and solely be ‘budget traveling’ and ‘budget destinations’. There might be many websites or blogs that speak of luxury while traveling, but what for the common mass, who despite all financial struggles and thrifty savings, manage to travel and live it like there’s no tomorrow. ForWanderlust is the destination.
Taking one step at a time and putting tremendous effort the foundation has been laid. Now it’s time to give the dream a shape and connecting the dots. Here by dots, I mean traveler and like-minded individuals of the travel community who can go far and beyond just for the cause of traveling and experiencing ‘wanderlust’ like never before.
Agra is a small city in northern India and situated at 225 kilometers from India’s capital city, New Delhi. The city is famous for the Taj Mahal, built by the great Mughal emperor Shah Jahan when the love of his life i.e. his wife, Mumtaz died during childbirth. His love was so intense that he entirely made a mausoleum constructed over the grave of Mumtaz. Till date, the Taj Mahal or simply the Taj doesn’t fail to wonder the visitors and is a wonder of the world. A lot has been spoken about the Taj but what seems another important historical place, mostly remains in the shadows which is the Agra Fort. The Mughal dynasty ruled most of the vast plains of northern India from this very fort. It was in 1638 AD that the capital city of the empire was shifted to Delhi. The foundation stone of the empire started right from the Agra Fort which in its initial days was simply known as ‘Badalgarh’ which means the city of the clouds.
Here are some interesting facts about the fort, which I recently visited with my parents and our guide was highly helpful in making us go through the history of the fort and its facts and figures.
The strategic location of the fort was of vital importance to every dynasty that decided to take control of Agra. It was Babur, who first captured the city and built the fort. After he lost his battle with Sher Shah Suri, the fort was taken over by the Suri dynasty who ruled till 1555 AD and finally was taken back by Akbar and he made it redesigned using red sandstone. So in a period reigning from 1526 to 1556, three dynasties took control of the fort.
Most part of the fort is made of red sandstone. It was Akbar who had a fantasy for red walls and architectures made of sandstone. He brought some 4000 plus premium sandstone from the quarries spread across northern India to build the fort as he wanted.
Upon entering the fort from the southern gate, visitors can see a 60-degree inclined walkway to move up to the main complex of the fort. However, it was made 60 degrees inclined so that during the siege the enemy elephants and horses can’t climb with great efficiency. Moreover, super heated oil used to be poured down so that the entrance gets jammed. This indicated brilliant usage of science and architecture of those times.
Agra Fort was the symbol of power, strength, and resilience of those times. The fort runs parallel to the Yamuna river and the moat, till date, remains connected to the river. Mighty gates around the fort in its four directions, made it highly impregnable of those times.
The fort shows us a classic example of the lavish lifestyle of the Mughal kings. The Sheesh Mahal, made of Belgian glass, was of vital importance to the recreational activity of the Mughal kings. Although it is now closed for the visitors, but legends say that lighting a candle in one corner of the room would light up the room in numerous ways and the light rays criss-cross each other in a magnificent way, credits to the angular positioning of the glass.
Although it shows and is a classic example of Islamic architecture, but the fort has a separate section for Hindu temples and places where Hindu people would worship their gods. It was since Akbar’s wife, Jodha Bai, was a Hindu, so Akbar out of love and loyalty and faith in his kingdom had made Hindus equally accessible to the benefits of the fort. This certainly strikes a classic symbol of humanity, devoid of religion and its conflicts.
Today, much of the fort is covered in white marbles. It was Akbar’s son, Shah Jahan, who had an ever longing desire for palaces in pure white color, brought the white marbles from the various region in India and Iran and made the vital section of the fort reconstructed.
During the reign of Shah Jahan and Akbar, vital dignitaries from far-flung areas of the world used to visit the fort. A special section for such meetings of importance was made and it was called the Diwan-E-Khas. The fort was also the center of Islamic learning and literacy and was flocked by preachers and teachers from the Middle East and Central Asia.
The location of the fort is of such strategic importance that 80% of the fort, as of now, is under the control of the Indian Military and is closed to the public. So from this, we can clearly imagine on what basis the fort was built at that time.
Agra Fort was plundered and looted by various dynasties once the Mughal power started to weaken. It was Shah Jahan’s famous peacock throne that had the world famous Koh-i-Noor diamond. It was Nadir Shah, a great Persian ruler who had an eye for the diamond. He attacked the fort and plundered and looted the throne and along goes the diamond from India to Persia and finally in the hands of the British.
Agra Fort is much devastated till date. The gold and ruby plated walls, gems embedded on them and all the luxurious and lavish Mughal decorations was dismantled and looted by the Britishers. Selling these items to traders the British started to gain money and supremacy over the region. Had those not been looted and plundered, the fort would have been a striking marvel, far more beautiful than the Taj Mahal.
Located 3kms upstream from the Taj Mahal, the fort can be reached by rickshaws at a very nominal fare. It took us 40 rupees to reach to the fort and the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort can be covered in a single day. So we hired a cab and it costed somewhere around 5000 rupees for the entire trip. If anyone is in New Delhi and doesn’t make a trip to Agra then certainly the traveler is missing a vital piece of Indian architecture. Nothing is complete if the Taj Mahal is not visited. So here it is.
To begin with, if you’re not a full-time job doer and traveling or photography is not your passion, you can immediately click on the cross button of your browser window, because this blog isn’t for you mate. As the author of this blog, I am sorry to put it this way, but yes, you cannot relate to the diaspora of feelings that I will be writing here. So before you stumble upon understanding my thought process, it’s always easy to take the short cut and close the window.
I work as a full-time digital marketing professional and blogging and photography is my lifeline. So it is hard for me to imagine a day where I am not reading articles, writing short stories or blogs, doing nothing with my camera or rather experimenting something related to arts and creativity. Photoshop, yes I am adept with it.
I love to play with words and that has a very high emotional attachment to me.
Photos and frames are a vital key to get me involved in any sort of work. The love for it will come automatically. Being a very less expressive person and most of the time succumbed to my own thoughts, I find alleviation through words and clicks. I am highly thankful to my parents for not stopping me from doing anything, I believe they understood what I’m made of pretty early. Parents after all.
The pivotal question that arises now is how I travel? Here’s the answer. I drink and smoke up shit to let go of the chains that bind me and closely listen to my heart. If there is the yearning for some place I am definitely heading there. What is most important to understand is that in our complex lives of tasks and ample presentations and client meetings and all those things which keep on constantly bugging you, one need to let it go loose. With the brain, trained to work on what will happen the next day and how good will the career trajectory will be, letting it lose isn’t easy and hence whiskey to the rescue. Well, vodka also works but I am not much of the transparent drink person.
Now comes another tricky situation i.e. budget traveling. I was not born to rich parents and I am earning decent so as to fill my daily needs and sudden travel plans. So in no way, I can afford to spend big bucks on luxury resorts, hotels or be it in transportation. Hostels are the thing for me. They come cheap, easy to book and services I get there is enough to meet my needs. Another thing to note is when I am traveling and high in spirit, in both mental spirit as well as distilled one, I don’t expect much from my destination. Dad taught me one thing in early childhood days, ‘when in Rome so be a Roman’. This is one thing I have been following strictly. Hence there is no way I get my elevated and soft like a bird’s feather hurt to succumb to injuries. That never happens. One thing I am skeptical about is the washroom, I am not used to the squat toilets although that is highly prevalent in India but I just hate it. Plus, there must be toilet paper which for long the hostels have provided.
Most of the time what happens whenever I roam is walking random streets and click click click and accompanying the ever clicking thought process that keeps my brain bug to keep on biting is cigarettes. I know it is not good for health and one smoke can take 20 minutes from my life but what to do with life when it has given me only lemons and no good quality strawberries. So ‘tis better to smoke up the shit, drink to the fullest, enjoy the night in a smoke filled random pub, talk to strangers, share the thoughts about traveling and life and spirituality, and lastly, live like there’s no tomorrow. This is one of the best ways to enjoy an unplanned travel. Living the experience rather than experiencing the living, if such is the motto of your life, then you can tread on my approach towards travels and lifestyle. If you feel you’re a lot into shackles and all goofed and stuffed up in your brain, gulp it down mate, light up a fag, relax and pack your bags and get out of your comfort zone to explore every place on this god forbidden planet like you are exploring for the first time. Enjoy life, it’s meant to be lived.
We all will leave someday but the question prior to leaving is, how have we lived?
I belong to a typical Indian middle-class family. My dad was a banker, who retired with due respect as a deputy manager from State Bank of India, back in 2015. As per an Indian household standard, while I was a kid, there would have been none to look after me, hence my mother stayed as a housewife. That’s my family. A happy daily 10 to 5 working dad and my mom who has the passion for cooking, reading books and everything related to our culture. I hail from the east Indian metropolitan city, Kolkata, formerly Calcutta, the capital of British India prior to Delhi and yes, I belong to the Bengali speaking community of India.
Growing up in Kolkata, although I prefer Calcutta, was fun
My forefathers were basically Hindu refugees, who fled to India following the Hindu-Muslim riot that took place during the partition of Bengal in 1947 forming the new country, Bangladesh, and the Indian state West Bengal. My dad being the eldest son of the family has a lot of responsibilities on his young shoulder. So he had to leave his passion for photography and ended up being the banker, a banker for everybody he knew and everyone knew him as that honest banker. My mom, on the other hand, is very sensible and loves to pen down a lot of things, from food recipes to poems and stories. She loves to read and write as well. As a family, we were avid travelers. In every 2 years or something twice n a year there were big family vacations that as a child I enjoyed a lot. The journals are still there in my mom’s diary. The poor destiny that its share on me, turning me into a photographer and a blogger. Writing gives me that free power to express myself in a way which I cannot achieve with said words. Writing is an expression for me.
It all started pretty well for me. Childhood was smooth, adolescence was arrogance and slowly turned myself into a benevolent natured person in my mid-20s. Well, I am 27 now. But the change happened, it just happened when my dad gifted me the first digital point and shoot camera. It was a Sony Cybershot DSC-S700. It was a fun time. I gradually started exploring the photographer side of mine. It took roughly 3 to 4 months to master the camera. By the time I was in my graduation days, well my friends already started calling me and 2 to 3 other people as ‘photographers’. The sad part is till the timeI completed my post-graduation, among the friends I had or knew, I remained the only one who continued with the hobby of clicking photographs. The writing came later on, eventually adapted both the hobbies and marching on like a one-man army. That’s how the journey started, from family outings to ending up in solo trips, the travel bug kept biting.
It all started like this
Travelling has always been an addiction for me. It’s not always about the long travel plans or outdoor locations, even in-city, I prefer traveling and clicking pictures. Perhaps, this is what makes me complete. I fell in love for the first time when I was 20, had roses in one hand and my CyberShot on the other but it turned out to be a heartbreak affair. After a series of failed relationships and neat scotch with three ice cubes, it’s the love for my camera and writing that keeps me going. In fact, to be crisp and precise, it surrounds me with that sense of freedom which is mine and no one else has any authority over it. There have been no places which fail to amuse me. I try to find out the beauty even in the simplest occasions. That’s me. Most of the times I look at places, people, monuments and simple buildings with astounding eyes and capture them all in my cell phone camera or if I am carrying my digicam, I tend to use the same. Instagram or Pinterest is not just a social media platform for me, it’s where I speak in unsaid words. It’s where I express my views and it’s where I exist.
The best part about being raised in a modern high-spirited Bengali family is getting exposed to liberal thinking and developing the sense of recognizing my other self. I am highly thankful to my parents for not blocking any of my views or preventing me from doing something. No, they never did and instead kept on inspiring me in my travel blogging. Hope it sails smooth and I keep on discovering more places and bring to you the updated travel stories. Adios amigos! Cheers to life!
The journey is not always smooth. It takes a lot of patience, resilience and good understanding to set it up. Since setting it up successfully is the key, so they go through the hard work and keep toiling. They dream high and work hard to achieve the dream.
Wait, hold on! I am cutting the philosophical aspects and coming straight to the point. Here I am speaking about the entrepreneurs and setting up their start-up. Do you know that after United States and China, India is the third place for start-up’s growth and investment? Bengaluru, the silicon valley of India, is the haven for start-ups. Irrespective of success or failure, start-ups will be coming up. The story of The CoFounder so far has been entirely different. It’s not a normal start-up story but with a twist. All the credits for starting the amazing journey is the mastermind of none other than Mr. Adhish Verma, the CEO and Founder of The CoFounder.
So here are some stunning facts that would baffle anyone, who’s willing to enter the entrepreneurial journey:-
It’s India’s first of a kind start-up magazine, which solely focuses on the journey of the entrepreneurs, the foundation stone of the start-ups, reasons for start-up failure of a wide variety of topics related to entre/wannabe – preneurs.
The founder and the co-founder of The CoFounder have not met before, till the time they were there to sign the final paperwork for investment.
Launched in October 2016, they have already raised the initial seed funding and till date 250,000 plus copies have been distributed across 7 states in India.
Not only these, but they have partnered with the librarires of 10 IIMs and 7 IITs, also sponsoring 2 major events and reached a whopping subscriber base of more than 10,000.
Everything doesn’t go bad on social networking unless it’s put to a very good use. In the initial stages, Adhish used to write for an online blog called HireStreet and he was desperately looking for someone who could take care of his blog. Facebook came to the aid at the right time, and its this social networking site which introduced Adhish to Arunraj R who was writing something similar. They both collaborated to write for HireStreet and decided together to take it to the next level. Today the next level is labeled as The Co-Founders and is a success they both are celebrating. Hence it’s rightfully said that in this age, “Unless you are networking, you’re not working”.
I got a chance to interview both of them, Mr. Adhish and also Mr. Arunraj R. I feel extremely privileged to get in touch with them. Here’s what they have to say about the questions that I asked. The entire prospect of asking them the questions and getting the final trivia from extremely sharp minded people like them seemed a great way to prosper for my own sake.
So Adhish and Arunraj, they meet for the first time while signing the papers, throw some light into how the super bonding and trust development?
I believe trust is something which happens without your knowledge; it’s like falling in love. Even before we were working for The Cofounder, we were writing blogs for HireStreet, and we had a good rapport between us. In fact, we are completely opposite to each other, and I believe that’s our strength. Finding a co-founder is similar to finding your soul mate. You have to get someone who is there with you in your ups and downs, good and bad. We happened to find each other to run our family.
Who came up with the name? The apt name though, how many swaps and switches you people went through unless the name was finalized?
Post searching a lot for a suitable name which Positions the Vision and Value of this platform well we were all stressed out as every suitable name was taken up. One Night I was sitting at my house and thought of amusing myself by just trying to push in random names to check their availability and I punched in “The Cofounder”
To my surprise it was available , I coudnt believe my eyes I searched again and again for 5 times trying to pick out a Definite mistake or an error I was certain I was punching along (The Cofounder cant be available). When I was sure I called up my CA at 3AM asking him to apply for the TM immediately he said hell do it tomorrow .I replied u do it tomorrow and or you’re fired.
He woke up and Did it.
So, indeed It was harder for us to find the name than to get the investment. We want something simple which can relate to startups. After discussing 100s of names, I finally came up The Cofounder.
Our tagline says that “We salute to those who never said no”
The Indian start-up mindset is more about founding a new thing and quickly taking a step into revenue generation, rather than thinking long time goals. What’s wrong with this that so many start-ups fail?
The time taken for a company to succeed is much shorter than whatever it was 10-15 years back. Today, if you have a good idea, you have to implement and scale it as quick as possible. It’s mainly due to infrastructure, skill, investment and competition that’s available today.
There were a lot of me-too startups in the last couple of years. If an idea seems to be good every entrepreneur wants to grab it. But ultimately customers wants just 1 solution. If I want to order food I just need 1 app, maybe 2 or 3 apps to compare but definitely I don’t need 100s of app. Eventually, only the startup which scaled quickly stays up in the game, rest all dies. Yes! In the longer run the startup which achieves profitability that is the one which stays.
“Entrepreneurship is like Game of Thrones, few get the throne, and others get thrown.”
Since you have been analyzing the Indian startup situation for a long time, what’s your take on the present situation in India?
The Indian startup ecosystem was in the honeymoon period, and the reality has started hitting. Last year we saw funding slowdown, biggies shutting down and its definitely good sign for startups with solid business plans. Nowadays investors don’t want me-too startup, startups with a thin revenue model, entrepreneurs with a fancy degree, etc. If you have rock solid business plan, ready to pay customers, excellent execution team you get the investment.
Entrepreneurs too have taken a step back and depended on funding only if it’s absolutely necessary. I can see many startups bootstrapping and doing good in the market.
Considering technological advances, how would you rate the startup growth trajectory and success rate keeping a comparison chart with USA and China?
I am not exactly sure of USA because there are many projections made in the market after Trump has taken over, the real impact may be seen after few months. In terms of the number of startups, investment flowing in, market expansion, etc. India and China are in par. We can see many Chinese investments and expansions happening in India.
How important is utilizing social media for the start-ups? Do social sites really help in revenue generation?
I believe if your business is not in social media your business doesn’t exist. Social media is an excellent way to reach to your customers, investors, and network with fellow entrepreneurs.
Social sites do help in revenue generation, but which social media helps you that entirely depends on your business. Like Facebook has been an excellent outreach for The Cofounder.
What is the most vital factor to keep the business alive? Is it diversity or establishing some core values and sticking to it?
First, deliver your core value, and become the market leader in it. Make sure no one apart from you can deliver that value better. In the longer run, you can diversify based on your resource and skill. The path varies based on the business and entrepreneur. E.g. PayTm and FreeCharge started as Mobile Recharge, you can see PayTm has more business models whereas FreeCharge is still sticking to their core business.
After I got to know the answers I was awestruck as how someone could have this vision. Actually yes, this vision is highly important, that far sightedness which sets an entrepreneurial journey into a big company. It is this thing which The Co-Founder have displayed and they are going big afterall. One important thing which I learned is to get going. Obstacles will come and in the end, its upto us as how we overcome.
By now you must have the interest to know more about them and what they do and everything in details, kindly refer to www.thecofounder.in
An opportunity like this can never me missed, right?
It all started with a desire. Wise men rightfully said that unless there is an urge or a desire to do something, one cannot achieve it. The famous Hollywood flick, V for Vendetta, has a very famous dialogue, “Ideas are bulletproof”, and indeed ideas are. This is the story of the man who wanted to combine work with traveling. The idea was named, THE REMOTE LIFE and the founder Mr. Nishchal Dua.
The stone was laid on community building for connecting the like-minded individuals who are crazy about traveling and want to experience the experience. Unless experienced in a thorough manner, travel is meaningless. But what about the ones, who are die-hard travelers but just cannot because of their workplace? So comes the need for The Remote Life. It allows you to work while you’re traveling while the others have been taken care of.
Workplace – A place will be booked where one can work during the day. Seamless internet connectivity ensures that even during travel days, the work isn’t hampered.
Stay – A private apartment or villa will be booked near to the workplace, and provision of two-time meals.
Oh come on, although many other facilities are there in the list, aren’t these two the most supreme facilities that are being provided?
Mr.Nishchal said very firmly that utilizing the digital space appropriately is the key. The masterstroke that he plays is when it comes to handling customer queries.
“We are catering to customers from varied time zones, they have their queries which must be answered at that particular point in time”
The above statement clearly indicates how he is spearheading his thoughts and implementing the same in building up the community. He is effectively utilizing the social media platforms. From publishing blogs to videos and itinerary lists, The Remote Life is engaging their fans in every way possible.
It all started out from many hit and trial methods to engage the fans and finally, they are on the track. The Instagram feed is filled with various images of their travel that can make anyone’s feet itchy. The same applies to their Facebook page as well. It seems that the right formula has been applied and community building up is on the right track for Mr. Dua. Through their social presence, not only they are engaging the right kind of people but also catering to their various needs like watching a travel video, reading blogs to glancing through stunning pictures. Aren’t these the vital aspects that a travel centric person looks out for?
“Yesterday is gone. Continuous planning to do the thing that you want to do will remain in the planning phase and will never happen”
These were Mr. Dua’s inspiring words to other travelers who want to build up something in the overcrowded travel industry. What you’re thinking right now must be implemented at this point of time and he believes that losing is not failing; losing is not trying at all to do something. Stepping out of a modern glass cubicle and establishing an own community in the highly competitive travel industry is a tedious job which he has done.
Memberships are available at a very minimal cost. For the time being, they are focusing only on South East Asia, where the countries being covered are Indonesia, Thailand, and Cambodia. You can view their travel details here: https://www.theremotelife.com/south-east-asia-trip/
One, who needs to travel abroad and get the taste of the blend of a good work-life-travel balance, this is the community. They have already got members from across the globe and are growing.
During the time of our conversation, Mr. Dua always seemed very much focused on what he wants to do to bring in a new sort of experience to travelers. A very polite man, who is not afraid to share his views that implement and show it to people, how a thing (if thought about) can be done. It was a very short conversation on the telephone, but his way of speaking about traveling somehow brought out that travel insect, which resides in my brain. The Remote Life is growing and will continue to grow, to bring the fellow travelers like us on a single platform where our work will remain unhampered and the thirst for travel will remain unending. Local food, local housing and everything that pertains to the local charm, life surely will be remote, serving a good cause, with The Remote Life.