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Inspiro India Official

Blog | Travel

19 February 2018

Love for nature has been a prime driving force to venture out for this week’s | Traveller of the Week: Suyash Pandey

Suyash Pandey is a 28-year-old Data Scientist born and brought up in Delhi who now works in developing and running statistical algorithms for his clients in the US.

The weekdays are spent on the computer running codes and building dashboards, he travels as frequently as he can! A lover of mountains over beaches and trains over aeroplanes, during his college days in Chennai, he got many opportunities to travel which he instantly grabbed.

 

Suyash Pandey

 

 

Chadar, Zanskar region, Ladakh

Golden Temple, Amritsar

Batal, Spiti

Hampta Pass, Himachal Pradesh

Churdhar, Himachal Pradesh

Mt. Kanchenjunga, Sandakphu, Darjeeling

Leh, Jammu and Kashmir

Chandratal, Spiti

Hampta Pass, Himachal Pradesh

Churdhar Sanctuary, Himachal Pradesh

 

Suyash has completed 8 treks in the Himalayas in 2017 as he has many look weekends to make use of, most of them were solo while the remaining were planned and executed with a close group of friends. “My most recent solo trek was the Sandakphu circuit, in West Bengal, where I did 85 km in 5 days. This trek allows for a good view of the 4 highest mountain peaks in the world including Mt. Everest”, says the traveller. Living down South, he was able to explore the western ghats as well.

 

Right from school days, the part-time traveller’s folks were very supportive of him. Trying out new activities, his folks had no objections to attending summer camps as well as rafting expeditions. “I’ve done week long rafting expeditions for 6 years straight, the longest stint being from Srinagar (Uttarakhand) on the Alaknanda river, crossing Dev Prayag Sangam and drifting down the Ganga to Rishikesh in 4-5 days”, he says.

 

Apart from treks, he likes to travel to different cities and explore different cultures and societies. It’s a blessing to live in India where there is so much diversity, he says. “What else does one want – Cheap buses, local street chai, welcoming families and a burning desire to explore”, says Pandey.

 

“Love for nature has been a prime driving force to venture out”, says Suyash. The support from his family has instilled a sense of confidence to do what he does now, travelling! Not really fond of the urban landscape, he’d rather be under a moonlit night sky than under a flashing ball of neon light in the sky. Animals are adored by this traveller, irrespective of their size. “So anything nature, and I would love to get involved”, he adds.

 

Personally, the traveller likes travelling solo or with a maximum of 2-3 of his close friends. Travelling solo gives him bandwidth to explore things the way he wants to. “When I’m solo, I go with the flow. Follow my heart. No social commitments”, says the explorer. A well bonded and like-minded group is a great company to travel with nonetheless!

 

Suyash Pandey plans all the important things in advance, rest everything can surprise him along the way. He doesn’t micro strategise at an hourly level, not having everything planned in advance allows for conversations with the locals. “I like to leave big room for spontaneity in a planned travel itinerary”, says Suyash.

 

Suyash has travelled to Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Delhi, Chandigarh, Daman and Diu, last but not the least, Pondicherry! 19 States and 4 Union Territories out of a total of 29 States and 7 UTs, he says there is a lot more to see!

His 5 must-visit destinations to travel are Leh-Ladakh, Spiti Valley, Kaziranga-Shillong-Cherapunjee, Munnar in Kerala and Mahabalipuram-Pondicherry.

 

A few things a traveller should keep in mind are the will to explore, sense of belief in oneself and the alertness! A water bottle and a torch or headlamp are the other must-haves one should carry while travelling according to Pandey.

 

Suyash loves every aspect of travelling. Right from planning a trip to the final completion. Interacting with the locals and understanding how they go about their lives, a chat with a local elderly teaches him more than a lifetime of surfing the web. Those real-life anecdotes in a village somewhere hold more power to change hearts and habits and that’s what the traveller enjoys the most when it comes to travelling!

 

Better management and decision making is what Suyash has learnt on the trail. The need to make decisions which are justifiable, viable and practical decisions, in the end, is what he has learnt from his travels.

 

One such interesting story is set in the Chadar Trek. In the traveller’s own words here- “We are back from the trek and we’re waiting in Chilling, for the pickup vehicles to come from Leh. We’ve been waiting for 3 hours and there is no sign of the vehicle. I am there with 3 friends. And an entire extended group that is there with the trek company. While we’re waiting it’s already 4 in the afternoon and the drive to Leh is about 3 hours from Chilling.

 

While everyone is sulking over the fact that there is a delay in pickup, I notice the porters are leaving on a pickup truck, more like the open Boleros with seating for 3 people in the front and an open trailer at the back for carrying goods. I approach the driver. Ask him if he can take us to Leh. He tells me there’s no place. And plus I have 3 other friends, so it wouldn’t be possible to accommodate us all. I insist and tell him that we’ll hitchhike on the back, in the trailer. He reluctantly agrees. And what follows is the best mountain ride of our lives. We are 4 friends with a few other locals at the back while the porters sit in the front. The entire landscape is covered in snow while the cold, slushy Zanskar River flows adjacent to the road, below in the valley. The view is so grand that its difficult to sit down. We all stand and just gaze out at the landscape while cold minus 20-degree winds hit our face as the vehicle carefully moves on the snowed out road. We reach Leh half frozen but doubly smiling”.

Words by Harpreet
Images by ©Suyash Pandey

 

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Blog | Interviews | Photography

15 February 2018

Interview with Photographer: Siddhartha Joshi

Meet Siddhartha, an Industrial Designer by profession and a full-time traveller and photographer. 

Siddhartha Joshi

 

Inspiro India: Tell us something about yourself and how did you start creating?

Siddhartha Joshi: I am an Industrial Designer, travel blogger and a photographer, pretty much in that order. I guess I started my creative journey from the time I started my master’s education in Design from NID, and have since expanded beyond products to many other things like writing, visual storytelling and so on.

 

Inspiro India: Can you talk a bit about your travel shots and way of working?

SJ: I rarely plan for my shots, and depend on a lot of spontaneity. This doesn’t always work, but I enjoy working this way more. I rarely, if ever, take stress while taking pictures, and if they don’t work out as I would like them to, I focus on other aspects of travel – interviewing people, explore hidden experiences and so on.

 

Tram in Helsinki

 

Inspiro India: Did you face any problem while pursuing this field? How satisfied do you feel after working in this field?

SJ: The only problem I face is the lack of time. There is way more work available than what I can possibly take up, especially with a full-time design job.

 

Inspiro India: Which genre of photography interests you the most and why? What are your top three favourite photography locations?

SJ: I like street photography the most, followed closely by travel photography. I love clicking people in their natural states, so both these styles work well for me.

 

Favourite locations – streets of any town or city, Kashmir and street processions.

 

Inspiro India: If not this, what would have Siddhartha been doing?

SJ: I guess I would pursue some other creative field, maybe write full time.

.

 

Inspiro India: How would you describe your photography style?

SJ: I think it’s very mixed, I try and expand my area of interest all the time. Especially when you travel, there is always a need to learn something new and I really like that.

 

Inspiro India: What did you want to become as a child? What dream is still on your bucket list?

SJ: I wanted to be a scientist as a kid, a physicist to be precise. It’s no longer my dream but I would like to take up research projects in future.

 

Inspiro India: Out of all the photographs you have ever taken, which is your favourite and why?

SJ: I am yet to take a picture that I can call my all time favourite. I think I am still a few years away from it.

 

 

Inspiro India: Describe your post-processing workflow? What camera do you shoot with? Your favourite lenses or any other equipment, if any?

SJ: I shoot with Canon 6D, and sometimes a GoPro Hero 4, and my favourite lens is a 50mm prime lens. I also use a 24-105mm lens, especially for travel photography.

 

As for post-processing, I don’t really have a standard workflow. I don’t use Lightroom (yet) and edit with Camera Raw and a bit on photoshop.

Lapland in Finland

Bikaner streets

Ahmedabad

A migrant in Dubai

Dera market Dubai

Burj Khalifa

Porvoo village in Finland

Photos by ©Siddhartha Joshi

 

Inspiro India: What advice would the photographer inside you like to pass on to our readers?

SJ: Click, observe, click, observe and repeat. Also, identify what is it that you like in the pictures that you like.

 

Follow Siddhartha: Instagram | Website

 

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Blog | Travel

12 February 2018

Travelling isn’t killing time, it is self exploration says this week’s | Traveller of the Week: Niharika Arora

Niharika Arora is a 23-year old traveller who tries to squeeze in a travel whenever she gets the chance to escape from her studies of architecture. She considers herself to be a generally confused soul who is still trying to figure out what life is all about, and that’s how she chose her social media handles, ‘the_iffy_explorer’. She loves travelling through the mesh of self-exploration, where she plays the role of an architect who loves to write poetry, take photographs and travel.

 

Niharika Arora

 

 

Chhitkul, Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh

Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal

Rann of Kutch, Gujarat

Kochi, Kerala

Bhaktapur, Nepal

Bandra-Worli Sea Link, Mumbai

Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa

Mumbai, Maharashtra

Cape Town, South Africa

 

She has come a long way from when the travel bug first bit her, back when she went for a family holiday to Cape Town in South Africa. It was only after that she began to love travelling and saw it as something more than killing time or vacationing. Though her time in Cape Town was very different from how she lives to travel now, it was the trip that ignited the desire within her to explore the world. “It will always be an unforgettable trip for me since it was here that I became aware of my dream to travel.”

 

Niharika’s top 5 travel destinations are Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh, an underrated paradise; Pokhara in Nepal, a mind soothing place; Alleppey in Kerala, a place that gives the full tropical experience; Cape Town in South Africa, the beautiful city where she fell in love with traveling, and Gangtok, a gem in the north-east. These are just a few places across Niharika’s endless list. She has travelled to over 15 states in India, but insists she has many more cities to cover!

 

While travelling Niharika recommends one to invest in a good backpack, a tent, some good travel apps, a hardy toilet kit, a notebook and camera to record our unforgettable experiences! One such experience for her was in Chhitkul, Himachal Pradesh. She was on the most dangerous road in the world. While finding her way around, she reached a steep cliff and another time a graveyard. After driving for 3 hours, she finally reaches 6 am but had to sleep inside her car as it was freezing outside. She remembers falling asleep while hoping she wouldn’t wake up due to hypothermia!

 

“I’m at the stage where I would love to be a full-time traveller”, said Niharika. What she loves about travelling is that it is self-exploratory for her. It makes her aware of her own actions and desires, one of the reasons she loves travelling alone, plus, the only person’s tantrums who you must handle are your own! Niharika confesses she is more of a planned traveller, especially it’s a non-touristy place, just to get a lay of the land. But once she’s there, she spends her time as she pleases. Since she’s an aspiring architect, Niharika loves learning about various vernacular techniques of different regions. This helps her understand an area better. She especially loves travelling to places that are people-oriented. “It gives me way more satisfaction, it gives me more memories to cherish”, she says.

 

A trip that has had a lasting impact and taught her something extraordinary was at a time when she was watching a beautiful sunrise at Sarankot in Pokhara, Nepal. As she sat watching the sun dip lower, and as the rays danced on the tips of her skin, she felt an overwhelming sense of care for everything around her – the people, places, sounds. She remembers feeling like a soggy piece of paper that let the water sieve through it and got drenched in the process. The traveller was mesmerized by the beauty of the sunrise, could not believe something so beautiful happened every single day.

Words by Nitya Kuthiala
Images by ©Niharika Arora

 

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Blog

7 February 2018

Blogger of the Week: Sayanti Mahapatra

Sayanti Mahapatra is a 20-year-old student pursuing fashion communication, who has a quirky dream of possessing a huge closet of sneakers, the work is still in progress.  She has interned and worked as a fashion creator with seldom styling work in between. She currently works as a Content Partner and runs a blog of her own!

She has Bengali roots which are a primary reason for her love for art and aesthetics. She had no need to take any tuitions for art because she had a mentor at her home- her mother. Her mom infused basic principles in Sayanti which paved a way to develop her own peculiar interests. The passion to work in this is why she ignored the idea of attempting entrance exams for engineering after her school. Hailing from a legacy of engineers, swapping of careers wasn’t a piece of cake, but it all turned out to be positive eventually.

 

Sayanti Mahapatra

 

She primarily started her blog to showcase her personal style, her love for art, sneakers and basic clothes but it has developed into something more. It has transformed into an interactive platform where she is ever ready to take up different challenges that her audience wants. More than representing her personal style, she loves to curate the content for her readers. She also initiates soulful conversations.

 

Her blog stands unique because all the fashion tips and tricks that she shares in her posts are inclined towards spreading body acceptance and self-love. “There’s no way to feel beautiful if you aren’t in love with yourself, or you aren’t embracing your flaws because that makes you, you”, she says! Her blog shares her personal experiences as an overweight kid who was often mocked down, the starvation she donned upon herself in lieu of cutting down calories. Working out to stay fit is reasonable, starving to death isn’t. It took a lot of time to accept her own natural self and feel grateful for her talents. She had no one to boost her with confidence and that it’s perfectly normal to wear shorts even if one has cellulite thighs. This is the self-confidence she wishes to instil in the female audience that they deserve all the love and respect for who they are. And this what makes her blog different from other blogs

 

There’s no symbolic style of her own. She tries to experiment a lot, from bohemian to laid back to traditional Indian! From Gucci to Sarojini, from French girl to Frida Kahlo she admires every style. She likes to stay versatile but denim on denim look is what wins over others in her case. She loves how basic and yet unique that outlook can be.

The inspiration for Sayanti comes mostly from the streets. But she also likes to follow different celebrity bloggers like Audrey Hepburn, Victoria Beckham, Chiara Ferragni, Santoshi Shetty, Masoom Minawala etc. Everyday style is still what arouses interest in her. Metros, street markets and even at times people I come across in my society’s elevator are the glimpses that serve as inspiration.

She started with microblogging around May 2016 but she had so much to put out in front of the world. Hence in July 2017, she began her own website while she was working with other different websites. One of her articles went viral which paved her way for an offer from UC News to become its Content Partner. This is when she decided to take up her own blog-something that defines and designs her niche. She recalls an incident which gave her thought of starting her own blog an affirmation. Once she came across a girl in a metro who walked up to her to compliment her outfit and wished to know where did she purchase the outfit from and if she runs a blog to provide fashion tips and tricks. She revealed that she has no blog of her own to which the girl replied that she must start one soon. And that’s how Sayanti got the work for her blog started!

 

Blogging for Sayanti is an escape, a stress buster. Over a period of two years of reading, writing and creating content, the blogging process has become a part of her life. It makes her feel empty without getting engaged with her blog even for a day, and she admits that she prefers to remain occupied with work because that makes her feel happy and content. According to her, blogging should help you connect with people and not add to the burden of your daily life. It should be something that relieves you of your stress and not adds to your existing anxieties.

Her only requirement while deciding a suitable blog name was to add the word “Basic” in it since her styling is about incorporating basic things to come up with a stylish outfit like she came up with 10 styles with a simple white shirt. But she couldn’t come up with something catchy. One day she and her sister were brainstorming, and her sister pointed out that she does everything in excess since she was binge-watching and eating, and Voila! It clicked for her that she binges on particular stuff, for example, wearing a pair of denim jeans for 5 days continuously. And hence she came up with the name “Binge on Basics”.

 

Her audience consists of mostly women with age range of 15-26 years old and who are fashion oriented and love to interact along with continuing her work on her blog, which is her foremost love. Sayanti wishes to pursue styling as a career in future.
 She uses a Sony Alpha 58 to click pictures and at times iPhone for a grainy and vintage effect, which is her current favourite.

 

Sayanti extends her gratitude to all the readers because she feels that bloggers are nothing without their dedicated audience, and all the hard work they do is for them. She feels great to know that people admire her work. And hence she wants her audience to reach her out because the community would always be happy to help them in any manner.
For someone who wants to start blogging, she urges them to just make the move without much thought. Passion is all it takes. All the doubts will fade away sooner or later and things will be figured out slowly and steadily, but kick-starting the project is the most crucial step. One should not expect to unravel it all before actually beginning it. The other important thing to follow is originality. ‘Find your own style, make your own statement’ is the ultimate mantra. Whatever you intend to serve to your audience, it should carry the flavour of authenticity.

Words by Laveena Behl

 

©Sayanti Mahapatra

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Blog | Travel

5 February 2018

Explore and live through travelling says this week’s | Traveller of the Week: Garima Manocha

Garima Manocha is a 24-year-old storyteller based in Delhi. She divides her time between her love for Photography and is currently pursuing Chartered Accountancy.  She has pursued a certified course in Advanced Photography under Dr O.P Sharma at Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi. Her oeuvre of work is composed of Travel and Street Photography. “I firmly believe that every photograph you take is a masterpiece if it gives the viewer questions to think upon”, she says.

 

Garima Manocha

 

Her motivation to travel is her fascination with the rich heritage and culture our country has in abundance. It is a diverse land, to begin with. Every few kilometres, one is exposed to a different culture, custom, language and lifestyle. Her journey began with the vibrant city of Delhi and she has been travelling since. Her first trip was to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab. She was overwhelmed with serenity she felt in the abode of God. For that moment, she let go of the photographer in her and absorbed every ounce of positive aura around.

 

She has no particular preference when it comes to choosing between travelling solo or with a group. Owing to her full-time job as a CA, it is not possible for her to become a full-time traveller. However, she makes sure to manage ample amount of time to travel and click to her satisfaction. Her family has been very supportive and they have contributed immensely to her journey of following her passion for photography.

 

She is a well-planned traveller. She is keen to chart down all the available options and explores through books before she sets her foot for a journey. It’s always appropriate to be prepared for the journey so that you are thorough with all the aspects to be noted. Rajasthan, Kerala, Pondicherry, Amritsar, Leh and Ladakh are 5 must-visit places according to Garima!

 

As an ardent and experienced traveller, she believes the five must-haves when one is travelling are a first aid kit, a camera with spare batteries and memory cards for additional data storage, a sturdy backpack, physical fitness and a mobile network connection.

 

She loves travelling because it helps her break the monotony of life and liberates her soul. Travelling makes her experience the essence of the place she visits, the people she meets there and the stories she gets to hear from them.

 

She has covered 10 states of the country by now and feels a lot is left to explore and live through travelling! All her expeditions have taught her the most important lesson of life, which is to live life to the fullest while it lasts!

Words by Laveena Behl
Images by ©Garima Manocha

 

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Blog | Interviews | Photography

1 February 2018

Interview with Photographer: Navaneeth Unnikrishnan

Meet Navaneeth, an astrophotographer who captures the past by clicking the star systems. 

Navaneeth Unnikrishnan

 

Inspiro India: Tell us something about yourself and how did you start creating?

Navaneeth Unnikrishnan: I’m an astrophotographer from Kerala, but currently living in Manipal where I am pursuing media studies.

 

Inspiro India: Can you talk a bit about your amazing night sky shots and way of working?

NU: Most of my night sky images are shot either using a wide angle lens or telescopes at high focal length. Images shot using telescopes require multiple exposures to gain data from distant objects. Depending on the brightness of the object, the amount of time required to capture increases or decreases.

 

Andromeda Galaxy

 

Inspiro India: Did you face any problems while pursuing this field? How satisfied do you feel after working in this field?

NU: I have been lucky enough not to face any problems and I’m pretty happy with what I do.

 

Inspiro India: What is it about astrophotography that interests you the most? What are your top three favourite photography locations and why?

NU: The thing about astrophotography that fascinates me is that you’re actually capturing the past, in the sense that the light captured by the sensor is emitted millions of years ago from the star system, but because of its distance from here, the light reaches now.

I like shooting from Spiti Valley, Ladakh and the Western Ghats because of lesser light pollution.

 

Inspiro India: If not this, what would have Navaneeth been doing?

NU: A desk job.

 

Inspiro India: What is typically in your camera bag while travelling?

NU: Canon 6D, Rokinon 14mm, Canon 50mm 1.8, Tamron 70-200mm and a Manfrotto tripod.

 

Inspiro India: Could you tell our readers how to reach such excellent results in astrophotography? What are you looking forward to purchasing next?

NU: Passion and practice. A Canon 85mm 1.2 lens.

 

Inspiro India: What did you want to become during childhood? What dream is still on your bucket list?

NU: As a kid, I wanted to grow up and be a pilot. To work for National Geographic magazine is still on my bucket list.

 

 

Inspiro India: Describe your post-processing workflow and the equipment that you use?

NU: For images shot using telescopes, it is first stacked using softwares such as Pixinsight or Deep Sky Stacker. The result from that is imported to Photoshop and further worked on. For wide angle images, they are usually processed using Lightroom or Photoshop. I use a Canon 6D and Canon 1100D (IR modded), Rokinon 14mm, Canon 50mm 1.8, Tamron 70-200mm, Manfrotto tripod, Canon 24mm, Canon 100-400mm, Nexstar 8se telescope and Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro Mount.

Jupiter

Milkyway and Key Monastery, Spiti Valley

Milkyway and antares region – Kaza, Himachal Pradesh

Moon

Milkyway detailed Panorama – Kaza, Himachal Pradesh

Milkyway – Mahe

Orion Nebula and Running Man Nebula

Pleiades

Sadr Region

Photos by ©Navaneeth Unnikrishnan

 

Inspiro India: What advice would the artist inside you like to pass on to our readers?

NU: Follow your passion and do what your heart tells you to do.

 

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Blog | Travel

29 January 2018

To travel is to to discover one’s inner self for this week’s. | Traveller of the Week: Gursimran Basra

Gursimran Basra is a full-time Senior Business Analyst working with EXL Service in Noida for 3 years now. He has a passion for travelling and clicking photographs which he believes will eventually become his memories in the future.

 

During his post graduation at BIT Mesra in Ranchi, a turning point in his life which opened his eyes which ultimately motivated him to travel. ‘The beauty of the campus aroused the creative side of mine which ultimately turned into travelling’, he says.

It led to frequent trips to Kolkata from which is about 9 hours of journey from Ranchi.

 

Gursimran prefers to travel solo. He has done a number of trips which include his latest trip to Bhutan in December for 6 days.

 

Gursimran Basra

 

He does not despise group travels. Meeting new people is interesting as well as a helps in learning a lot about life Basra says.

 

A part-time traveller, he works full-time for Healthcare Insurance Domain which ultimately makes him a planned traveller. He says a lot of planning is involved!

 

 

According to Gursimran, his 5 must-visit places are Kolkata, Kerala, Banaras, Pushkar and Darjeeling which are quite accessible to people looking for travelling in the country itself.

 

His 4 must-haves are to be well noted as well which includes a power bank, a good camera phone, earphones or headphones and slippers for comfortable travels.

 

Time devoted to his heart is what Gursimran Basra enjoys the most whilst travelling! He loves indulging in the surroundings, loves to explore the culture as well as the people and others places at the location.

 

The travel lover has travelled to 14 states so far and 3 countries which include Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Singapore. Sri Lanka to be the most loved out of the three!

 

 

 

A story from Pushkar, Rajasthan is where this incident happened at. Gursimran met a boy named Sangeet who belongs to a family who travels to Pushkar every year during the ‘mela’ to sell their Camels. The traveller adds, he is still in touch with Sangeet for 3 years now! To see him grow up is a wonderful feeling to the traveller. He says, the boy is like family now!

 

One life lesson the traveller has learnt till now is that, ‘That you belong to yourself. All you do is for your heart.’

No matter one does in life, one should always get time for oneself to identify one’s inner self and understand one’s, own heart!

Words by Harpreet
Images by ©Gursimran Basra

 

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Blog | Travel

22 January 2018

Travel is liberating for his soul, discovering himself one travel at a time. | Traveller of the Week: Siddharth Soni

Siddharth Soni is a Delhi based architect who tries to juggle his life between a full-time corporate job and his passion for photography along with exploring the Himalayas. A trekking and mountain climbing enthusiast, he finds himself at ease in crowded streets, documenting lives and different cultures around him. A graduate of Cornell University, USA, he has been a passionate architect practising for years now. He also reckons photography, travel explorations and documentaries to be his true calling!

 

Travelling started quite unexpectedly for this one. Back in 2002 when he had just started college, his father pushed him to get out of his comfort zone and persuaded him to go on a Himalayan Trek, ‘The Valley of Flowers’. With no knowledge about trekking, it also happened to be his first solo trip! “I had little idea about what to expect. I did make some really good friends though and in a way, found myself in the middle of nowhere. Where I least expected it. A spark was lit and I promptly returned the next year, and it soon developed into a passion”, he says.

 

Siddharth Soni

 

The now well-versed traveller is comfortable with both group and solo travel expeditions. It started out with travelling with a group of 2-3 very close friends but he also believes solo trips to be great. “Most people never take the risk of solo and play it safe by going in a group. But then they don’t know what they are missing out on!”, says the traveller.

 

A part-time globe-trotter, he travels and tries to balance his full-time corporate job which often requires working overtime as well as tight deadlines. Notorious for convincing people to go on road trips, treks and to even quit their jobs to travel, Siddharth wants people around him to explore more and get out of the conventional city life.

 

The traveller is has been to every state in the country except for the North East, Bengal and Kerala. His 5 must-visit destinations include Ladakh, Rajasthan, Bolivia, Italy and Nepal. The landscape, heritage and cultural diversity at these places is like nowhere else on the planet.

A methodical planner, he often reads thoroughly about the places he intends to visit and does background research in order to not waste time figuring things out later. He draws his own maps, itineraries which often helps him manage his time. Spontaneous trips have often led him to waste time figuring things as well as bad experiences.

 

The Summit Ascent – Altitude 5200m, Stok Kangri Expedition

Varanasi

Annapurna Base Camp, Nepal – Main Summit

Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir

Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur

Pangong Tso Lake

Barren mountains as seen from Shanti Stupa, Leh

Trishul Summit, Roopkund Trek

Crumbling Facades, Mumbai

Markha Valley, Stok Kangri Expedition

Varanasi

 

Soni believes, attitude and mindset to travel are what counts for one’s own betterment. ‘To try and push yourself and explore your own limitations. To talk to people and share stories and experiences’, he says. He travels with his DSLR camera, GoPro, hiking boots and his shorts, everything else being flexible!

 

Siddarth enjoys the quest to explore, observe and absorb. Wherever he goes, he tries to become a local to explore things like a local. Travelling is liberating for this traveller soul, to be a traveller and not a tourist is what is more important to him. He discovers himself whilst travelling. He says, “It has made me comfortable in all sorts of environments more sensitive towards, people and different cultures. Besides, there is no right or wrong way to travel. It is a means of personal expression and experience, unique for each person.”

 

One life lesson he has learnt is, “The small and temporal nature of our lives and problems in the larger scheme of things in life. To live in the moment and thoroughly cherish each moment for what it is”.

Words by Harpreet
Images by ©Siddharth Soni

 

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Blog | Interviews | Photography

18 January 2018

Interview with Photographer: Moushumee K Jha

Meet Moushumee K Jha, beating all odds being a woman photographer. 

Moushumee K Jha

 

Inspiro India: Tell us something about yourself and how did you start creating?

Moushumee K Jha: Photography happened to me suddenly. I did not plan to be a photographer. In one of my corporate trips to Corbett, I bumped into a wildlife photographer and my 5-minute interaction with him changed my life. The irony is that I don’t even know his name or remember him. But once I picked up my first DSLR, there was no looking back.

 

 

Inspiro India: How did you develop an interest in this field?

MKJ: I have had the opportunity to have been a theatre, stage, TV artist and have even worked in a few feature films (Assamese language). As such, the structure and the narration of black and white films, the directors’ instructions to “hold the light” and the nuances of using the play of light and shadow while planning a scene became part of my vocabulary. When I took up photography this language became my main tool. In some sense, my images are my stage, my subjects are the artists and I try to find/tell their stories using light to create a show through my pictures. This would explain my preference for black and white, use of light and shadows, patterns and reflections in my photography. Of course, I had to take a break after my marriage, but once my boys had grown up, with encouragement from my family & friends, I started photography as a hobby to pass time creatively. Soon, my hobby became a full-time profession and I gained confidence as my frames were appreciated by all. The larger push happened as I discovered social media and the ability to share my work with professionals and to hold my own. It’s been 17 fulfilling years since then.

 

Inspiro India: Did you face any problem while while pursuing this field?

MKJ: Yes, there are some unique challenges for a woman in photography. Firstly there are fewer women, though changing, the infrastructure – accommodations, toilets, transportation may not be women-friendly. Thankfully, in the last 2 decades as more women have joined the work-force across all sectors, this is changing and changing fast. There are areas whereas a woman photographer I can attract unwanted attention; or where I would consider the Security risks carefully.

At times, when I am shooting at odd hours on the street, if the area is troubled or
disturbed, I get told – “ghar jao”, go home. This is not safe for you. But then there are other areas where I may have an advantage being a woman. Street photography is definitely one such – being a woman gives me better access than a man. I can get close to a subject than a man can.

 

Inspiro India: What is it about Street photography that interests you the most? What are your top three favourite photography locations? and Why?

MKJ: Street celebrates moments, the infinitesimal if you please. I find this pure and unlike any choreographed or art directed setting. It’s the drama of life itself that unfolds in only that fraction of a second. And it is unique, never to be truly repeated. This very trait makes even mundane moments extraordinary. I have spent a fair bit of time shooting in Delhi 6 (Old Delhi), South Of India, Ladakh – especially the Batalik region and most obviously my home region, the glorious north-east of India.

 

Inspiro India: If not this, What would have Moushumee K Jha been doing?

MKJ: A painter most likely. I have always enjoyed painting since my childhood and I still do once in a while. And of course being a mother, cooking for my boys, which I enjoy immensely.

 

Inspiro India: Were you formally educated in photography, or are you self-taught?

MKJ: I was not formally educated in photography but I had a great teacher & mentor, in late Rakesh Sahai. He helped to shape my sense of composition, understanding of light and taught me the nuances of this art form. His role in my development is huge.

 

Inspiro India: Could you tell our readers how to reach such excellent results in Street photography? What are you looking forward to purchasing next?

MKJ: Like any other art form, it takes patience, passion and perseverance. And a bit of luck, sense of timing, Some talent does not hurt either.
Purchase? Hmm… A ticket to Benaras!

 

Inspiro India: Describe your post-processing workflow? Which camera do you shoot with?

MKJ: There is very minimal post-processing involved in street photography. But for all
other commercial assignments, I use CS 6 for my editing. I use an iMac at my studio and MacBook Pro while on the move. I am a Nikon user.

Photos by ©Moushumee K Jha

 

Inspiro India: What advice would the artist inside you like to pass on to our readers?

MKJ: Artists are in love with their art-forms. They are trying to tell us a story, their story. Readers must find their own story in them and with the grammar/language they choose.

 

Follow Moushumee: Instagram | Facebook | Website

 

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Blog | Travel

15 January 2018

Know how travel works as a therapy for this week’s | Traveller of the Week: Tushar Panchal

Tushar Panchal, a 24-year-old is a Digital Account Manager at The Minimalist. An engineering dropout, the emotional sense of freedom and curiosity to capture untrodden places became his motivation to travel. His initial excursions were not initiated by passion but work. His first trip was to Hampi, a trip to Bellary for a client meeting, He wrapped up is work as soon as he could and went to Hospet bus station. At a public toilet, he went through a quick change of clothes and started his journey to Hampi.

He then covered the entire Hampi ruins and heritage sites within a duration of 6 hours. This is how he successfully completed his first trip with a second-hand DSLR he bought on OLX.

 

Tushar Panchal

 

Panchal has no specific preference when it comes to travelling, he can travel solo or in a group which entirely depends on the destination and the travel budget for the same. Not a full-time traveller, he has a full-time job and at times it gets tedious to take out time for travelling. He has sacrificed three jobs to fulfil his zeal to travel. His family doesn’t find his travelling agreeable because they are aloof from this field, and at times they are completely unaware of the places he travels to. This at times, causes friction, but nonetheless, doesn’t stop him from continuing on this path.

 

He has covered almost 13-14 states and 2 Union territories (Daman and New Delhi) but has yet to explore places outside India. His favourite travel destinations within India are- Spiti Valley, Hampi, Varanasi (which he plans to visit soon), Srinagar, Ladakh and Gokarna, which can be called “Corsica of India”. His favourite international destinations include Banff National Park, Norway, Iceland, Patagonia and Alaska.

According to him, the five must-haves on every trip are good shoes, sufficient amount of water, a camera kit and a Swiss knife.

 

The freedom to savour any natural landscape in its most raw form is what Tushar feels every traveller enjoys the most. Apart from that, every excursion is an escape from the bubbling social life we all live in urban spaces. For a person like him who lives in Mumbai, travelling becomes a therapy. Instead of going to a psychiatrist or counsellor and venting out your anxieties, Tushar feels, he visits different destinations and talks to them. It’s a conversational bond he develops with the destinations he visits; the thought might sound hippie but in this case, it is true! His upbringing amidst the chaotic life of Mumbai instigated an itch to document the serenity of calm spaces.

 

 

The plethora of experiences he has had while travelling has gained him multiple experiences which cannot be squeezed into a text. To roughly sum it up, he shares two quotes from “Into the Wild”, the first goes like this, “It is important in life not to be strong but to feel strong. At least once you need to measure yourself in the very ancient of human conditions”, and the second says, “If you admit that human life can be ruled by a reason, the possibility of life is destroyed”.

Words by Laveena Behl
Images by ©Tushar Panchal

 

Follow Tushar:  Instagram

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Art | Blog | Interviews

11 January 2018

Interview with Artist: Shweta Malhotra

Meet Shweta, a visual artist/photographer based in Delhi who is also passionate about baking.

Shweta Malhotra

 

Inspiro India:  How did you get started? What first got you into Painting? Tell us a bit about yourself.

Shweta Malhotra: I’ve always been interested in art. I first dabbled with paints as a little girl but my career as a professional artist began much later in my life. I painted for pleasure, to keep myself busy and to pass the time away. As a student, I was always attracted to art, and in high school, I won several painting competitions as well but never thought about making a career in art.

4 years ago I felt the desire of picking up my paintbrush again. I went and got a bunch of acrylic paints, brushes and started doing it, and it’s really been a therapeutic thing for me.

 

Inspiro India: How would you best describe your style of Visual Art? And the challenges you faced as an artist?

SM: I’m a self-taught painter, who loves to colour the abstract beauty on canvas and enliven its gleam in the viewers’ eyes. For me, art is like being on a roller coaster, ups and downs, highs and lows, twists and turns. My paintings splash the eternal meaning of all the highs and lows of one’s life into a depth of emotions. My painted canvases are colourful, I cherish old traditions, new ideas, style and knowledge.

 

 

Inspiro India: What are the tools you couldn’t live without? Can you please explain your work process of Paintings?

SM: I work with several tools and try to bring out something new in every new series. But the process is sometimes easy and at times cruel as well. Some pieces take either hours or months to complete. I never set a target for completing my work. One of my paintings in my last show took the longest. I always let my work rest for a day or two and come back to it. This gives me time to think about what I am going to do next in a completely different way.

When I start something new, I have a set direction usually few sketches but when I paint, I let my creativity and mind play on the canvas. That way my work stays varied and fresh. I do not stick with a style and replicate it over and over for a long time. When I start feeling comfortable, that is not a good sign so I change things up.

 

Inspiro India: Is studying Art in college worth the cost or do you recommend an alternative?

SM: It is a loaded question but honestly it depends mostly whether you choose the right college or not.

I have never attended any art college and always feel you don’t really get much out of it financially after paying a good amount of fees. There is an overwhelming chance you will not make money in art. You will find a lot of people who will truly appreciate your art but there are very few who will buy it.

From the skill point of you, I will recommend going to small art schools or institutes. Find a mentor instead of looking for an art college. Most of the skills you can gain yourself by intense self-work, but it’s helpful to have a mentor who can guide you out of the ruts you will fall into.

 

Inspiro India: Who/What has been the biggest influence on your way of thinking?

SM: I’m a person who is influenced by love the most. Fortunately, that is what I got in abundance from my family. They are my most valuable support system. My relationship with God and my family form the foundation of who I am. Everything else is built on top of this.

 

Inspiro India: What did you want to become as a child?

SM: To be honest with you, I never quite knew what exactly I wanted to become. One day I wanted to be a chef and another day a teacher. I always felt a bit insecure about the future and couldn’t imagine myself as someone.

Soon I realised, It doesn’t matter what you always wanted to be. It’s just a fantasy. What matters is this moment, now.

 

Inspiro India: How would you define beauty in less than 140 characters?

SM: True beauty comes from a person’s internal attributes, the unfading beauty of being a gentle and quiet soul. It’s a state of mind, it’s a quality. Nothing in this world is perfect and I always believe that the beauty lies in someone’s eye.  If you see something with a vision of beauty it will definitely become beautiful. Else try it in any form or way that thing or person will never turn beautiful. Beauty is infinite, everyone and everything is beautiful in its own way.

 

Inspiro India: What are you passionate about besides your work?

SM: Apart from painting, I’m passionate about baking. I love the process of researching new recipes and testing them. I can bake delicious cake and make some scrumptious chocolates and desserts.

 

Paintings by ©Shweta Malhotra

 

Inspiro India: What advice would you as an artist give to other creative heads out there? Some creative tips you’d like to share?

SM: The only advice I can give is, do not wait around for some miracle to happen. All the best ideas come out of the process, the hard work. Just follow your instinct and work on it, things will happen. Definitely!!!

 

Follow Shweta: Instagram | Website

 

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