Today, our readers are in for a treat. Our interviewee is the very pretty and incredibly talented, Ritika Dahiya- a free spirited gypsy and long-time solo traveller who also happens to be an amazing photographer. She manages to hold down a full-time job, while relentlessly following her passions and has recently co-founded a new venture, Happily Hamesha with her business partner and friend Pavan Daxini. Let us talk to Ritika and find out more about her unique journey 🙂
Please share a bit about yourself with our readers, Ritika.
I am a nomad at heart. I lust after both stability and freedom, trying to juggle between the two as a constant way of life.
I started my professional and independent life as an engineer at Infosys. You develop fresh perspectives as you enter the mesmerizing world of Mysore training center. Six months of training later, I got posted for my job at the beautiful city of Chandigarh. As coding took over hours of my life; I realized that this doesn’t seem like my professional calling in life.
A weekday job and weekend CAT lessons led me to an MBA in Marketing & Strategy from IMT Ghaziabad. Two years of endless presentations, lectures, whole-night library sessions before exams, assignments after assignments and a lot of super-crazy fun and friendships to last a lifetime!
Post MBA, I started working in the concrete jungle of Gurgaon at a leading life insurance company with the role of Business it’s been an exciting months in the new role, rehashing proprietary digital assets. Personally and emotionally, life has been a roller coaster over the last ten years since I finished school. Accomplishments, surprises, heartbreak, financial independence, a venture, new cities, friendships and so much more!
How did you become interested in your two passions, travelling and photography?
I would say photography found me and I found travelling. Travel was a very small part of life, till I finished my Post-Graduation. As I landed my job post completion of my MBA, I had been contemplating a solo travel plan. A lot of things, personal and emotional, prodded me to take the leap and here I was, January 2014, with a backpack, hopping onto a train to Goa. Two years, my first solo travel and 27 trips later (Some solo and others with people I love), here I am looking forward to my first international trip “Bali” which also happens to be a birthday trip!
I laid my hands on a DSLR 14 months ago and there has certainly been no looking back since then. I think of my DSLR as armour and my lens as the sweet, sharp gun; capturing shots and memories.
What is the most interesting place that you have ever visited?
That’s like asking me which one is my favorite picture out of all the thousands I have clicked.
Each place has had such a different essence to it, from Goa as my first solo travel, the sand dunes and the heritage of Rajasthan, the snow of Auli, the cold desert and thinning air at Ladakh, the beauty of Dal lake at Srinagar, the expansive landscapes of Kashmir, the pine trees and deep valleys of Himachal and Kheerganga, the rough treks of Uttrakhand andTriund, living root bridges and mystical forests of Meghalaya, the beaches of Chennai, the ocean at Pondicherrry, the backwaters of Kerala and many more adventures which form pages of my travelogues.
If you would still insist, with all reluctance to choose one, I would say it would be Ladakh, the land of the moon. That place doesn’t look like anywhere else on Earth. I was overwhelmed with majestic sights at every corner and turn. Anywhere and everywhere. To truly understand what I mean, you need to visit this place and soon. Just keep a few Diamox handy, to control the nausea due to thinning air and visit in late August or early September when the touristy crowd has left and winter is setting in.
Is it difficult to balance your day job along with your passion for photography?
I have been running two jobs, a day job and an evening job, a weekday and a weekend job. Finding time to travel, do photography and document my travel stories. But at the end of the day, when I put my head on the pillow, it’s the start of a sweet sleep, having known that I had a gratifying day, with a good mix of pragmatism and romanticism, in the two lives that I choose to keep.
Lack of sleep, and lazy days are something that I might miss sometimes, but then my mind wanders to the many sunrises and the sunsets I saw, captured and stared at. And it all seems totally worth it, with a fresh day to either travel or make a plan for travel.
Tell us about Happily Hamesha, your new venture about capturing the fun, spontaneous moments of life through candid photography.
Happily Hamesha was conceptualized and founded by two corporate slaves, Pavan and me, left dry with all the presentations and the constant need to bring more creativity to life. It is a wedding photography shop, where you search for a photo genie can end, who won’t ask you to pose, yet bring out the best emotions and all the love, in captures, and as you reminisce years of togetherness and go through memories of your wedding captured in photos from years ago.
We cover pre-wedding, mehndi, sangeet, cocktail, wedding rituals, bidaai as well as post-wedding anniversary shoot. Candid and traditional, both forms of photography are covered, along with cinematography and couple story videos.
Something that we believe distinguishes us from the numerous photographers out there, is our need to deliver passion in the photographs, we believe in forming and nurturing the relationships we form along the way, and not so much about the transactional part of the business. Well, money is necessary for sustenance but that’s not the primary driver for us.
What’s the best part about doing wedding photography?
Weddings in India are a public affair, yet so intimate. We bridge that gap and cross over from that public space to the intimate space, capturing the celebrations, the emotions and all the crazy fun! For us, this is the most gratifying part, to be able to share someone’s important moments in life and make it memorable for them through captures that reflect all the love.
Each couple is special in its own way, such a sweet amalgamation and promise of togetherness. The best part if to be able to go on their journey, in a distant yet personal manner, living the moments and enabling a way for them to relive those moments. And who can say no to the amazing food and the dance numbers?
What are some funny/interesting experiences that you have had with your clients?
The plethora of images available online has proved to be a blessing and bane for us photographers. People have such vivid imaginations and beliefs of how they want to look, what tint they want the photo to have, what angles would they like in the videos and the list goes on. It opens up my creativity and adds more horizon and shades to it.
I love how involved people are these days with the detailing challenges us and is such a gratifying journey to embark on, and the results, when perfect, make the journey worthwhile. I remember an incident where we were trying a jumping shot. The guy was so witty and creative, he just kept doing absolutely ridiculous yet funny acts, and jumping in ways I never thought was possible. Now that was good fun!
How can our readers reach out to you?
Follow my blog at https://traveljuggler.wordpress.com/
You can check out my instapage at https://www.instagram.com/traveljuggler/
For wedding photography, check out our page https://www.facebook.com/happilyhamesha/
You can leave us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much for taking the time out to speak to us Ritika! Good luck with your new venture, and we hope you continue to follow your passions every step of the way.
It was my pleasure!