He is one of those adventure freaks who feels suffocated in the hustle and bustle of routine life. Little wonder that travelling alone to random places gives him strength, helps him commune with nature and makes him feel connected with himself. Meet Kartik Aruda from Karnataka who has always been fascinated by Odisha, from where his mom hails, and which is why he lives six months of the year in the State and spends the rest travelling and visiting Bangalore.
In Odisha, Kartik is associated with the Rangers Foundation on Puri-Konark Marine Drive where he organises adventure water sports and camping facilities for visitors from all parts of the world. Rangers Foundation, an adventure tourism venture, founded by Sanjay Samantray, provides outdoor camping and cottage facilities, organises treks, surfing, stand up paddling, long boarding and also holds learning sessions for visitors.
A Computer Engineer, Kartik, 31, says he did Engineering (graduated in 2007) only because of societal pressure. “I also did a SAP (systems, applications and products) course and worked as a SAP business consultant for a year-and-a-half but wanted to break free,” says the nature lover, who has been frequenting Odisha since childhood. It was only in 2010 during the first India Surf Festival at Chandrabhaga in Konark when he met Sanjay that he got hooked to Rangers. “I work as a contact person here to communicate with visitors and help them live here amidst nature’s bounty. I ensure that their stay here is comfortable. The foundation is located amidst nature and we have a narrow pathway leading to the beach, with lush greenery all around.”
Rangers is considered a paradise for nature lovers. One has to pay around `1,500 to `2,000 for camping on the beach or base and the cost includes food, accommodation, a bonfire and so on. Kartik is also associated with Sanjay in many awareness drives on sea cleaning, tree plantation and the ‘save dolphins’ in Chilika movement. But Kartik does not work for remuneration. “I try to get some business for Rangers and get paid an amount that is enough for sustenance. Money has never been an issue; it’s the love of what I want to do and where I want to belong to that matters,” he reasons.
Kartik is leaving on a week’s tour to Nepal this month and says he manages all his costs from whatever he earns. “I love books and travelling and spend all my money on these. Rest of it comes naturally, maybe by God’s grace,” says Kartik, who has bigger plans in mind for Odisha. “I want to start a school for primary education here, combining the vision of the Green School in Bali and the Krishnamurti Foundation Schools. There will be no classroom, no teacher and the assessment will be done differently from that of regular schools. Children will grow up in their own way without any pressure,” he says envisioning it.
“But I have not yet got a property for the school. A lot of work still needs to be done and it’s a long journey ahead,” he adds. Kartik, who feels just promoting IITs and IIMs in the country is not important, nurturing primary school students is, expects help from like-minded people to join hands with him on his venture.