Kshitija Sarda was in the final semester of her engineering degree when she felt stuck in a rut. Growing up, she had always been a headstrong and unwittingly stubborn kid with an urge to delve into something unconventional. So, when she found herself struggling with her career choices, she knew it was time to dig deeper into her heart and that’s when Platform For Artists came to life. “The purpose was to ensure that there was an exchange of ideas and not merely consumption of art,” says Kshitija, who loves to watch dog-videos on Instagram!
Curator of Communities
So, when I approached Kshitija for #AmrutamNari, she was retiring from a long day of work. PFA’s project ‘Unread’ has been witnessing massive fame and success in all parts of the country. An anthology which is a product of 99 writers’ labor of love is a delight for both writers and readers as it focuses on making the reader part of the book by leaving the last page empty for the reader to fill it! On the importance of community building, Kshitija says:
“We never had a product of our own. We always wanted to create something that was a result of collective efforts of artists across the country. We wanted to build a community where everyone felt belonged.”
Of course, Platform For Artists wasn’t birthed in a matter of days. It took months of rigorous research, engagements with artists who were looking for a platform to showcase their talents and of course, a dedicated team that wanted to build a community of like-minded individuals and artists. Kshitija and Pawan, the two co-founders of PFA left no page unturned in hosting events that added value to both the art and artists. The core principle was to always have out of the box ideas.
A Fearless Risk-Taker
“If someone was doing something the X way, I would always choose to do it the Y way,” says Kshitija who is extremely fond of homemade food. I have always believed that a person’s upbringing is largely responsible for shaping their personality. And so, when I asked Kshitija about her life back at home in the beautiful town of Satara, she was overjoyed to recall the time she spent with her family. A lot of people assume that being a single child means you automatically get all the luxuries in the world but that was not true in my case, she adds, my parents raised me up to be independent in the truest sense. Kshitija describes her mother as a fearless risk-taker who subconsciously inspired her to start a company from scratch!
In her free time, this young genius loves to take her dog, Bruce, on treks and long walks and cook herself some wholesome meals. For someone who prefers going out instead of staying in and talking, Kshitija surely enjoys good company and heartfelt conversations. During our conversation, she’s modest and attentive. And certainly doesn’t forget to bring Pawan, her good friend and co-founder of PFA into the picture.
“Pawan has probably had the biggest influence on my life. He’s been a pillar of strength and has kept me grounded at the same time. We have our distinct sets of qualities but we somehow always manage to complement each other’s skill-set,” she exclaims.
Kshitija appears to be crystal clear about what she really wants to accomplish. From getting into the college of her dreams to hosting the first Art Residency Program called Art Getaway in Manali that witnessed a gentry of nine artists, to building an art-based community of over 30,000 artists across the country, she clearly seems to be getting a hold of life by its horns!
Having just finished watching the Netflix series YOU, she’s on a spree to organize workshops, open mics, and events along similar lines to build self-sustained platforms for the upcoming artists.
“You cannot host an event just for the sake of it. It has to have a bigger purpose, there has to be some sort of a calling,” says Kshitija, who always has the book Steve Jobs laying around her desk.
This year there are three things she wants to absolutely focus on, on both personal as well as professional levels. Reading is definitely on the list as there is nothing that can provide you with the kind of learning that reading does, and with so much content out there, Kshitija wants to ensure that she makes the most of her time! She also wants to start her own blog and start writing for herself and also connect and network with like-minded people.
I would be lying if I said I am not inspired by Kshitija’s relentless will to learn and explore. It is important to have an experimental approach, she adds. In today’s world, everyone is continuously consuming art but very few are giving back. This is why Kshitija loves to follow such people on Instagram who are generous in giving back to society.
“@sulai_sha and @stutiashokgupta are my favorite accounts to follow on Instagram. I love how their reasons to use this medium of communication are not restricted to posting photos but also engaging with their audiences and followers.”
Superpower as a Woman
As a woman, her superpower is to get attached to everything she engages with! Be it something work-related or spending time alone, Kshitija, being a sentimental person believes that a person is only able to give their best when they are emotionally invested in whatever they do. Contrary to popular opinion, Kshitija believes it takes strength to be emotionally available and invested!
Surely, there is a lot that Kshitija is yet to achieve in her journey to discover the self. When asked about her relationship with Amrutam, she’s quite enthusiastic and says, “I love and truly appreciate what Amrutam does. Standing true to its motto, it is not simply a brand but a community and the efforts of the workforce behind are absolutely commendable!”
#AmrutamNari celebrates women like Kshitja who are fearless yet compassionate and passionate to change the world!