Meet Ankita Kumar
The thing about being a small-town girl in the ’90s is that you are oblivious to the world’s disdain. You grow up in a sheltered life, with overprotective parents and a bubble full of innocence. Of course, you hear of The Beatles, but never really get around listening to them. As you try finding your path, navigating through the most overwhelming of the lanes: life presents you with surprises you never planned to witness. Such has been the life of Ankita Kumar!
A lover of bright colors, bearer of humility and state topper, Ankita Kumar is best known as Monkey.Inc! She began her career as an assistant in a production house in Mumbai, but life had different plans for her. One tragic accident that put her in a wheelchair for three months is now something she counts as a blessing in disguise!
“The accident was terrible but strangely, I didn’t feel any pain. For three months, I was unable to move and had to spend a lot of time by myself. Initially, it was difficult because solitude had never been my cup of tea, but I really had no other choice.”
A Strange Realization
A lot of conversation with the self finally led her to the realization that she absolutely detested her job! As someone who enjoyed creating, she could no longer feel joy in doing the same. “Post my recovery, I randomly decided to backpack across Vietnam,” prompts Ankita from the other end of the line. It was a random decision but it ended up changing the entire course of her life! At this instant, I can’t help but be astounded by her candidness.
Having realized that only while traveling was she able to be her authentic self, without any fear of judgment, she decided to quit her job and pursue traveling full-time! Today, Ankita is a Travel Content Creator & Filmmaker, who has built homes and families in the busiest streets and the remotest of towns. She’s been featured on platforms like BBC, Google India, Nat Geo India, and CN Traveller, and yet she talks to me as if I were a long-lost friend; a sister from another small town. To say her humility is overwhelming would be an understatement!
“I was in Vietnam for about a month in 2015 where I did the strangest, most obscure things ever! Riding an ostrich and tasting porcupine meat were certain things I had never imagined doing. But I loved every bit of it, and by the end of 2016, I had covered most of Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and north-eastern India.”
The Journey of a Lifetime
Upon seeing her beautifully curated photos on Facebook, companies started approaching her which required her to make a blog and that’s when Monkey.Inc came to life! “I have been extremely lucky to have met people who have been nothing but supportive and encouraging of what I do,” says Ankita who is often described as a “wild child” by her loved ones.
She went on to found Caravan Chronicles, an idea devoted to living the nomad life, with her friend Rohith Subramaniam. Her love for visual arts is now more alive than ever. In her free time, she loves watching movies, shows, and documentaries and drawing inspiration to make her own films. She recently finished watching Fleabag on Prime (which I just can’t recommend enough!) and Nanette by Hanna Gadsby on Netflix!
“I love how Indie music has evolved in the last few years. Artists like Taba Chake, Imphal Talkies, DITTY are doing such wonderful jobs! I am also excited to see such authentic Indian writing in shows like Paatal Lok.”
Lover of Storytelling
I infer Ankita as someone who never tires of laughing. During our conversation, she reminisces the most adventurous and enthralling stories – right from her childhood to the times when she managed to get her visa barely hours before her flight! A passionate soul who is always up for educating herself and learning about different cultures and stories, she sure is an inspiration to many!
Given the uncertain times, we’re all dealing with varying degrees of pressure. I ask Ankita how does she deal with the pressure of performing better than before. And she responds almost immediately, as if she’s brooded over it for a while.
“I felt an immense amount of pressure when Tik Tok became the new trend. For the sake of it, I tried using it but realized it just wasn’t my vibe. I think it is really important to realize what resonates with you and what you believe in. You can’t practically be part of everything under the sun. No matter how trendy something gets, authenticity will never go out of fashion”
In the third month of social distancing, Ankita is spending a lot of time with her family, making up for all the time she didn’t see them in the last few years. “My parents are really happy to have me around, especially when we are all going through a global crisis,” says Ankita, who’s found solace in the quietness of Rourkela.
As much as we wish to live our lives on our terms, there are always a few obstacles that prevent us from doing so. Though, now a full-time traveler, Ankita is not hesitant to recognize her privilege of coming from a background that allowed her to explore her life. She goes on, “My parents have been such confidence boosters, while my friends Rohith, Vibha, Prakriti have been fiercely supportive of me.” Whoever said success does not matter if you don’t have people to celebrate it with was absolutely right!
“Most of what people see on Instagram is how adventurous my life is when in reality a lot of hard work and discipline is done behind the curtains. I am not accountable to anyone for the work that I do, which is tricky because I have to constantly work on myself to keep myself motivated.”
Superpower as a Woman
The thing about traveling is that it teaches you how you are so tiny and small, like a speck of dust in the whole Universe. As a woman, Ankita has learned that empathy is what truly matters in life. Her superpowers as a woman are humility and empathy and being grounded, no matter how much you accomplish in life.
“When we are staying with people who open their houses for us, the least we can do is help them in however ways possible,” she says. It is so important to find your place in the world and think about how you can give back to the society. At the end of the day, money and other materialistic things won’t matter. However, what will matter is how we lent a hand to the ones who needed us. And while all of us are only learning and growing, it’s a journey that will satiate you and make you truly happy from within!
On being part of #AmrutamFamily
The Team’s patience and endurance have always fascinated me, too. But for Ankita, it has hit a little closer to home. As part of #AmrutamFamily, she’s been able to connect with fellow content creators and influencers who promote and believe in conscious living. “I love how Amrutam has allowed me to come across such inspiring individuals, it makes me feel really proud!” exclaims Ankita Kumar.
“I have been part of #AmrutamFamily for over a year now. Our relationship began when the Team sent us a bunch of products when I doing Caravan Chronicles! I remember filling this detailed form about how was our experience using those products after a considerable amount of time, which Amrutam had insisted upon. And I was really impressed because it showed that it wasn’t only for the sake of building a brand, but also for the genuine love of the products!”
She’s also particularly fond of the fact that Amrutam talks about multiple things; things that matter. “I remember this one time when a community member pointed out that the bottles for the products were made of plastic. The Team immediately took notice and got in touch with them for the recycling project,” says Ankita, who really appreciates these little steps taken to save Mother Earth. Conversations about conscious living, recycling, and mental health have been pivotal in ensuring that Amrutam is willing to see beyond the limited horizons of a brand and actually care about its community.
Ankita Kumar’s humility and candidness have inspired so many! Her passion to change the world has moved us, and as we continue to celebrate the wonderful woman she is, we are beyond grateful to have her as part of our #AmrutamFamily!
More on #AmrutamNari:
- Shramona Poddar, Travel & Lifestyle Blogger
- Aditi Surana, Graphologist & High-Performance Coach
- Aanchal Malhotra, Author & Oral Historian
- Rohini Kejriwal, Founder, The Alipore Post
- Kshitija Sarda, Founder & CEO, Platform For Artists