An IIM graduate, he could have had any top-of-the-line jobs in banks or MNCs. But Vijay Prabhat Kamalakara chose a different job. He chose to tell stories.
By Leena Ghosh
Young, dynamic and smart is all what Vijay Prabhat Kamalakara is about. Founder and Managing Director of Storytrails, Kamalakara found Storytrails in December 2006. Having travelled extensively during his stint in the Banking and IT industry, Kamalakara came up with the concept of Storytrails. The idea behind Storytrails is to experience the local sights and sounds of the city through stories. The traveller gets to visit the city through a storyteller, learning about the traditions and the symbolisms of the city. “Storytrails showcases the local way of life and is much more than a sightseeing tour. We use storytelling as a subject to explore the city,” said Kamalakara.
However, switching career paths was not an impulsive decision for Kamalakara. “I did my homework before I launched the company. Any business venture needs to be commercially viable and I did my share of market research before I went ahead with it. I saw that there was a genuine need for the product. It was a well considered decision,” he said.
There are many trails to choose from – The Peacock Trail, Country Roads, Dancer’s Trail, Bazaar Trail, Family Trail, Simply South, Mystic Trail and more. Each trail follows a particular theme and path.
The concept has seen a lot of takers from the hotel industry, corporates, tourists and expats. “Initially people came to know about our work through ‘word of mouth’. The response in the past four years has been tremendours. Now we also conduct storytelling workshop for children and conduct these workshops across India,” he said.
Kamalakara has recently also won the 2011 Youth Creative Awards for Performing Arts. Kamalakara talks about the achievement. “British Council invites young entrepreneurs under 40 years to fill in a detailed application form, attaching samples of your work. Then there is a presentation, after which shortlisted candidates are asked a few questions by the panel of judges. We won in the category of Performing Arts.”
People from varied backgrounds form the team of storytellers in the company. “We have teachers, engineers, lawyers, MBAs and students as part of the team. Since we do not have an institution churning out storytellers, we just look for a few basic qualities for them to qualify as a storyteller. The person needs to be articulate, social, informed and have a pleasing personality. He or she should be able to do extensive research to get more information on a particular subject,” he said.
Story Of The Future
While the group primarily operates out of Chennai, Kamalakara is working on providing services in other cities as well. “We are in talks with prospective partners to branch out. We are looking to set up in other cities.”