KOCHI: Karthikeya Ladha began his journey to self-discovery on a chance trip to Peru. In the land of an ancient civilisation, Karthikeya spent days with the shamanic tribes, participating in their ceremonies, in the Amazon jungle. “It was there I realised how much we were out of touch with Mother Nature. We have become materialistic in our pursuit for something bigger and better,” says Karthikeya, who has left his life in the United States and come down to India.
The Noida-born author of the book, ‘Dream Beyond Shadows’, was in Kochi recently to attend a talk at the Krithi International Book Fair. What makes his journey inspiring is he is travelling from Kanyakumari to Goa on foot for his next book, ‘The Nameless Walk’. He plans to chronicle the experiences of people he meets and document their outlook on life.
“I began my walk from Kanyakumari a few days ago. Yes, it has its ups and downs, because, in the beginning, your feet are not used to the tremendous strain. I needed a couple of days to get used to it. Everywhere I go, people have been very hospitable and welcoming, which is helpful. I hope to continue till Goa,” he said.
Karthikeya says he wants to collaborate with people and participate in small gatherings, events, workshops and meet artists and influential thinkers.
He wants to break the stereotypes and barriers of language and state that determines India. “Whenever a tourist, even an Indian from another state, visits a state, people treat you well, but there is always a boundary. You are still a stranger. These differences highlight the various strands of India’s identity but many are yet to embrace them,” says the author.
He says people need to wake up and become wiser. “In New York, everyone is running away from something and towards something else. It is a city where your work defines you and not your fundamental values in life.”
Karthikeya worked as a door-to-door salesman for a firm focusing on renewable energy. He did pretty well and felt he was able to contribute immensely to the company. However, he was not content, though life was quite good. “I had an uncle and many family members living in the US so life was comfortable,” he says. “But, after a few years, I realised I didn’t want to live my life according to the plan framed by my family.
I wanted to find life on my own terms, which is why I decided to move to Peru,” he said. In 2017, Karthikeya came down to India where he worked for some time with a firm focusing on water management, storing and harvesting. Then he travelled to the Himalayas and spent a couple of days with local families. “It is there I began writing for ‘Dream Beyond Shadows’,” he said.