A multi-faceted dynamic Businesswoman
“To make living itself an art, that’s the goal”
An Entrepreneur, a social worker, an avid traveler, an admirer of nature, a wordsmith, a proud daughter and above all a dynamic personality bubbling with fresh perspectives and enthusiasm – these are few words to encapsulate Stuti Ashok Gupta. She is a power-packed woman who has been working tirelessly to realize her dreams and bring about a significant change in the society. She calls herself an artist before an entrepreneur. She draws her inspiration from the splendid beauty of mother nature. Despite being a girl and having faced several setbacks, she chose to walk continuously because journeys are what she savor the most!
In a candid conversation, she spilled the beans about her dreams, her life, her success, her passion, and the future:
BV: Hello Stuti, please tell me about yourself. (Possibly in 30 words)
STUTI: I am an entrepreneur (THE LOST TRIBE HOSTELS) and a social worker (GRAMIKSHA), a psychotherapist by profession and also have published a book by the name of Sublimation.
BV: How has been your experience running a chain of hostels amidst the bountiful nature?
STUTI: It is magical and unbelievable for me. Even though I only lived in the hostel, Jagatsukh, Manali for about four months, I have been moved by the whole experience. Coming from a small town Gwalior, I could have never imagined doing something like this earlier, but now whenever I visit, it feels like living the dream.
BV: How was the seed of Gramiksha sown in your mind? Tell me about it.
STUTI: I had come back home from Bangalore, for the summer after my first year of college. I got an opportunity to work at an Orphanage (Sarda Balaram) with a bunch of young people like myself. I was 17 then, and there were people younger than me as well. We went there every day for a week straight and that’s when I knew I would love to work with kids for as long as I can, in my life. Gramiksha had gotten registered a few months before my first project by my family friend Shubham Singh. Later, he offered me a chance to lead the organisation and even since we both have been running Gramiksha, now in 6 cities with 500 volunteers.
BV: You have also been assisting your father in his business. I would love to know what keeps you working tirelessly?
STUTI: My parents were going through the empty nest syndrome – and that’s when my brother and I decided to move back to Gwalior, our hometown. We have a family business by the name of Amrutam, which is a herbal product manufacturing company. Amrutam has been running for over half a decade now, and it was so far following the standard supply chain. I am trying to position Amrutam as a brand in the world of herbal, organic and Ayurvedic products. My larger aim is to take it online and build a network of customers who recognize the brand as their own.
My dreams keep me working tirelessly, and that’s what I keep working for.
BV: You are a young entrepreneur as well as a writer. How do you manage to keep working in two different fields?
STUTI: I am many things. I strongly believe that labels are for jars and not for people. At the end of the day, I am a human being working to bring a change, make an impact in whatever fields I can catch a hold of. How do I manage? I think, for me, it’s important to have multiple projects going on, because honestly, for me, it’s important to keep shuffling between genres throughout the day.
BV: Enlighten us about your entrepreneurial journey?
STUTI: With a masters degree in Clinical psychology, most of the times I can’t believe I am called an entrepreneur so very often. My journey has been a roller coaster ride- like any entrepreneur – there are ups and downs – quick decisions to make – and sometimes to immerse yourself in work to a point that you let go only to evolve as a better person.
I am a kind of person who is driven by the concept of a community. All the things that I am doing currently, somewhere resonate with my larger vision – which is of utmost importance for me.
BV: What made you a writer??
STUTI: My first memory of hearing a poem was when I was only 2 or 3 years old – it was a tape recording of my Nana’s poetry. My grandfather is a doctor as well as a poet, who writes them and sings them beautifully. My father, apart from being a businessman, has also been a tremendous writer of his times – and I think it’s in my blood.
I don’t know how not to write when it bursts out of me. I wrote my first poem when I was 12. Since then, I have continued to write whatever touches me. These days, with multiple things in my plate, I find it hard to let words fall out easily, but I bounce at every opportunity that makes me feel – that makes me want to scribble down. My Book Sublimation is a collection of my poems that I wrote during the time I was living in and traveling around Calicut, Kerala. Those two years really let loose the poetess in me. I was also titled as “The Wandering Poet” in TISS, Calicut for the same reasons.
BV: How was your experience of being a TEDx speaker?
STUTI: Honestly, I was the youngest speaker at the Tedx LNCT BHOPAL WOMEN I was invited to. It was overwhelming and at the same time, it was quite a milestone for me. I felt quite like a celebrity, but the most important thing that I realized was how much power that platform gives you to influence millions of lives.
BV: Your ideal?
STUTI: If I had to name one – Krishna Das – his music has made me survive every obstacle. His life is inspiring because it’s a positive reminder that all you need to do is, to be honest, and devoted to what you are doing – and leave everything else to live, everything else will be taken care of.
BV: Few words for the woman of Indian society.
STUTI: Only very recently I have realized that we are brought up as cowards – we are brought up in a way that no matter how strongly we believe in something – we would not find guts to stand up and fight for it. So my only message is – no matter what a hard time your family or society is giving you – if you want to do something and you think it is the right thing to do – stand up. Stand up even if you are shouted at. Stand up even if you are denied your rights. Stand up even if you’re beaten up. Stand up until you can get them to see what you see. Stand up. It’s high time that we unite as women and support one another in our endeavors.
BV: Your definition of life and success.
STUTI: Life is how much time you spend doing what you really want to do. Life is how much quality time you spend with your loved ones. Life is what gives you contentment and is defined by what comes from within regardless of social norms.
Success is a journey. I often thought to publish a book and starting a company was enough – but it’s not. It’s a constant pool of effort that you need to put in. You need to keep walking, keep working and keep striving – without worrying too much about the results.