Shramona Poddar on co-running Amrapali Boutique and being a travel content creator

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Meet Shramona Poddar

The world has come to a standstill. A glimpse outside my window tells me there’s not going to be any traffic. Even today. And while nature appears to be recuperating, Shramona Poddar is dedicated to making most of this time by way of self-analysis and introspection. Those of us who know her are well acquainted with her life as a Travel & Lifestyle Blogger. Most days, it is through her Instagram posts am I able to witness the grandiose of the world, be it the gorgeous snow on Spiti mountains or the soulful sunsets in Gokarna.

         Photo by Shramona Poddar

But Shramona’s talents are not restricted to traveling fiercely and daring to be a dreamer even when things are rough. She also co-runs Amrapali Boutique. As confident she is about being in front of the camera, she also loves to work behind the curtains: an admiration for photography as she calls it.

And yet, there is so much more to her than one might expect. A dreamer with exceptional storytelling skills, Shramona carries an impressive persona. Juggling two full-time jobs, she still finds the time to observe and reflect back on her life. And I only wonder how!

The Art of Recital

Shramona’s passion for storytelling can be traced back to her childhood where she would lie on her grandmother’s lap, her head gently placed on her soft saree, and listen to her grandma recite stories.

Photo by Tushant Juneja, @tushantjuneja

“My grandma would tell me stories of her childhood, from the time she used to live in Bangladesh. Stories of partition, stories of kings and queens, of nature and animals. And most times, I always ended up hearing the same stories over and over. But I just never got bored of hearing them. And I think that’s when my passion for storytelling began.”

The art of recital came to her as an inheritance. A skill she developed over time but whose roots were ingrained in her right from the beginning. “I cannot tell a story short. I always just have to explain everything in explicit detail,” says Shramona, who is adamant about telling a story with its absolute essence.

A Compassionate Soul

The best part about growing up is that you don’t realize when it is happening to you. And then one day, you look back and realize how much you have grown. Fondly recalling her days as a young girl in a small town, she tells me how her upbringing was so full of life. Though her parents always encouraged her to explore her skills and talents, she did have her days of rebellion – painting her nails black and listening to rock music on full volume – something most of us transition through.

Photo by Shreya Poddar, @shreyapoddar

“My parents were especially encouraging. When I was young I wanted to learn Bharatnatyam and since there were no dance teachers in my town, my mother would take me to Kolkata every week which was a 2.5 hour drive from my town.”

Values of compassion and kindness were instilled in her at a young age. And she makes it a point to regularly practice gratitude wherever and whenever possible.

A Desire to Explore

Shramona Poddar’s life as a traveler began when she found herself distraught with her work life back in Mumbai. For someone who traveled two hours every day to work, she felt caught up in an excruciatingly painful bubble that did not allow her to explore her full potential. And so, she left to pursue her passion: traveling the world and viewing it from a lens that was not fogged with the city-life dust but was seamless and clear.

Her daily commute to the office wasn’t entirely futile. She founds herself clicking pictures of everyday life, in trains and on foot, and wrote her interpretations of that instance. Soon, the habit of finding magic in the mundane presented her with incredible opportunities. And rest, we know is history. 

“Life can be extraordinarily beautiful depending on how we wish to perceive certain things. And for me, finding and weaving a story to tell in every ordinary situation is what makes life extraordinary. Without stories, black would be black and white would be white – there would be no grey.”

Rooting for Positive Spaces

Shramona claims to never get bored, maybe because everything she looks at ignite a thousand questions in her head. A total night owl, although not proud of the same, she has just finished watching Unorthodox on Netflix. The idea of staying up late at night, when the entire world is sound asleep appeals to her. “Surprisingly, that’s when all my creative juices flow. The feeling of being the only one awake gives me a semblance of peace,” she exclaims.

As someone who always roots for essence and optimism, Shramona loves to follow Instagram accounts that give away a sense of positivity. Now, we are not talking about accounts that always talk about positive things but accounts that allow you to feel positive about what you have in life.

Photo by Srishti Tehri, @srish_teee

And from the plethora of such accounts, she finds herself returning to accounts like @thelazyinsomniac, @ruthielindsey, @evazubeck, and @regajha, among others. “Nupur’s (@thelazyinsomniac) work is simply wonderful. I love how she gives attention to detail and stresses out on the little things to get them done perfectly,” she goes on, “and Rega (@regajha) is brilliant with her words and manages to speak profoundly about situations that warrant our attention.”

The Pressure to Perform Better

When I ask her if she feels pressured to constantly perform better than before, she says:

“The pressure to perform is definitely real. It comes from external and internal factors. External factors would be social media and looking at people who are performing better than you. And internal factors are the feelings of being stuck in a rut and not moving. But with time I have learned that people have different stories, different issues, and goals. It is not fair to compare people’s lives and struggles and put ourselves under constant criticism and scrutiny.”

Photo by Jaya Poddar, @jayapoddar19

For Shramona, having a purpose truly helps and drives her to be her best. She admits to having gotten better at it, but the road is still a long way to go.

“My inspiration is my maa. And that’s not because she’s my mother but because of the kind of person she is,” she says. When at 50, her mother decided to start her own boutique, Shramona had no doubt about her mother’s capabilities for she was always aware of her multitalented nature. Having cultivated all her talents by herself, her mother is a brilliant example of humility and exuberance.

Superpower as a Woman

With times, Shramona has learned the importance of being kind and compassionate.

“I am truly waiting for things to get better. Whatever we are experiencing right now is something none of us has ever experienced before. I want to take this time to cultivate more compassion and kindness within. To stay humble and optimistic is the best thing for all of us to do right now!”

We are all in a very difficult situation right now, and it’s quite a struggle for homegrown brands and small business. Both Amprapali & Amrutam have been privileged enough to build a community and receive immense support, but Shramona believes that the support we receive now amid a global pandemic is what will truly define our futures.

Photo by Bhaskar Chal, @bhaskar_0007

“In times like these, it is really essential to show that we care. It doesn’t take a lot, really. Certain things like writing them a positive review online or engaging with their posts don’t require much from your end but can do wonders from small and local businesses! It’s the need of the hour to shop locally and support small businesses to nourish the community they have built together!”

On Being Part of #AmrutamFamily

Shramona Poddar has been a part of #AmrutamFamily for a while now and religiously uses Amrutam products. She’s a big fan of Kuntal Care DIY Hair Spa with Hemp!

“The Team reached out to me and asked me to try a few Amrutam products. But it was only after two months that they asked me about my experience and feedback,” says Shramona. The Team’s ability to be patient with her to fully try and absorb the good benefits of Amrutam products was what made her fall in love with Amrutam!

Photo by Bhaskar Chal, @bhaskar_0007

“There are very few brands I have been able to relate to so much. I am really glad to be part of this beautiful family. The way Amrutam conducts itself as a brand and the focus on building a community is simply commendable. It is something a lot of brands aspire to do. Kudos to the team!”

Amrutam celebrates incredible women like Shramona who are passionate about changing the world!

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