The Storytrails team is a motley group of professionals from diverse educational and professional backgrounds. Introduced below are some people you may run into at our den…
VIJAY PRABHAT KAMALAKARA
Vijay went to a B-School, worked in the Banking and IT industries, and now tells stories for a living. He loves puns, history, stage, sarcasm, trivia, and words in general and is grateful that his work surrounds him with people who obsess about these even more. Vijay is the founder and Managing Director of Storytrails. He is happiest when facing an audience, or a plate of food, especially after a long run. A regular guest speaker at various social forums and educational institutions, Vijay is the recipient of the ‘Young creative entrepreneur award’ from the British Council and the ‘Youth achiever award for innovative entrepreneurship’ from Yuva Shakti.
A postgraduate in History and a collector of assorted historical and mythological stories and trivia, Akila has over fifteen years of teaching under her belt. She has also been a Language Trainer in the ITES industry for a short stint. Akila has a beautiful way with words, reads like she is possessed, loves telling stories and is happiest when meeting new people. Her work at Storytrails gives her legitimate reason to engage all of these interests and she hasn’t looked back since 2008, when she joined the team. At Storytrails, she is a storyteller, a senior research associate and head of training.
Lakshmi has a degree in commerce and a diploma in Montessori education from the Indian Institute of Montessori Studies, Bangalore. She worked in advertising as a copywriter, as a storyteller with the British Council and as a kindergarten teacher at one of Chennai’s leading schools. She is passionate about storytelling and joined the team in 2007. Lakshmi devours books, enjoys cross fit training, plays tennis, enjoys Bollywood dancing, and often play-acts in front of the mirror, dreaming of the big Bollywood break eluding her. In between all this, she manages to find time to head Operations at Storytrails.
KAUSHIK S V
Kaushik has held many CXO positions in a large corporate group, before retiring and joining Storytrails in 2015. His MBA from XLRI had not prepared him for retirement, but now that he has time, he has revived an old romance – History. He is a Senior Research Associate and Storyteller. He believes corporate presentations and walking tours have a couple of things in common: Passion and Preparation. Kaushik is an active blogger and has more stories to tell in his posts. And when he tires of telling stories, he switches to music. His taste in music is totally eclectic, and ranges from western classical to Turkish
Vasu is a B Com graduate who is now a full time cartoonist and a caricature artist. He has a diploma in Cartooning from the London School of Journalism. When he is not hidden behind his sketch book or drooling over South Indian food, he can be found kicking a football around, singing the praises of Manchester United. A huge fan of the visual medium, he adores animated movies and is a total Rajnikanth fanatic. He gets his kicks from giving his pets long South Indian names. His pet mongrel is named Maragadhavalli. At Storytrails, he manages Design and Merchandise.
Swarna is a Chartered accountant. After a stint in finance with a reputed organisation, she chose to go off the beaten path and took up the challenge of setting up and managing a Storytrails franchise. Swarna has been associated with Storytrails since 2012 and is the centre head for Storytrails Madurai. In her free time, she loves to read and enjoys exploring cities on foot, with just a backpack for company. Trekking, camping, water sports – Swarna enjoys them all. When she is not in the great outdoors, Swarna is a compulsive cleaner and organiser of everything around her – her workstation, her house, her car. Even her house plants toe her line.
Anu crunches numbers. She will happily take any opportunity to pore over columns of data, patiently connecting the dots to help the lay ones among us see the story in those numbers. By qualification she is a computer science engineer and has an MBA to boot. Her past work includes stints in business development, recruitment and MIS related roles. At Storytrails, she manages MIS and accounts functions.
Lakshmi Priya holds a Master’s degree in economics with a specialisation in urban development. Her big passion, however, is History. She’s known to collar people and give them impromptu History lessons. Priya is a film buff with a penchant for gangster films and chick-flicks. She is an accomplished classical dancer with many performances to her credit. At Storytrails, Priya hosts trails and manages the branch in Pondicherry.
Prarthana is a commerce graduate with an MA in Human Resources Management. She loves meeting new people and by her own admission, talks a LOT. She discovered a love for history after joining Storytrails and takes pride in showing off her city to its visitors. She is an active blogger and loves to sketch in her free time. She lives in Madurai and has been a storyteller with Storytrails since 2015.
Dr. Shanmugapriya is an oral Pathologist by training and an entrepreneur by choice. She is also a trained Bharatanatyam dancer and a yoga practitioner. She worked as a lecturer, dancer and a choreographer, before discovering the storyteller in her. She lives in Madurai and has been with Storytrails since 2016.
Jayashree holds an MPhil in mathematics and has over ten years of teaching experience. She runs a mathematics lab for middle graders, and loves coming up with fun and creative ways to present math concepts. Jayashree has been with Storytrails since 2016.
DR. CHITHRA MADHAVAN
Dr. Chithra Madhavan has a M.A. and a M.Phil. from the Department of Indian History, University of Madras and a Ph.D. from the Department of Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Mysore. She is the recipient of two post-doctoral fellowships from the Department of Culture, Government of India and from the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi. She is the author of seven books including – History and Culture of Tamil Nadu (two volumes), and Sanskrit Education and Literature in Ancient and Medieval Tamil Nadu. Chithra is a guest faculty at various institutions in Chennai and frequently delivers lectures on temple architecture and iconography at various venues in India and also abroad. Chithra conducts many heritage walks in Chennai and tours to historical sites in South India. Dr Chitra Madhavan is associated with Storytrails as a Consultant Historian and is on the Advisory board of Storytrails.
ANIL SHAHUL HAMEED
Anil has a master’s degree in computer science from Madras University. He spent close to two decades in the IT industry, holding senior management positions in many companies. Anil is a complete movie buff, and makes time to watch movies of every genre and language. His other passion is heritage. A storehouse of anecdotes and stories, he always has an interesting angle to bring to every discussion. Anil manages the operations of Storytrails in Trivandrum.
A graduate in English Literature and Psychology, Sukadha has over 20 years of experience in training young people in English Communication and writing copy for ads, blogs, websites and articles.
Her muse refuses to move from the pen to the keyboard and has her scribbling on any bit of paper available. Nature, culture, travel and good food cooked by anyone other than her – are her paths to Nirvana.
She admits she’s unashamedly curious about people and their unique ways. “We all live in different pockets of beliefs and lifestyles. It’s fascinating to discover the saga of each pocket.
A cell phone shutterbug, she finds plenty to catch her eye. Smiles and tears, dark shadows and bright spots of colour! When you can see the story, life is never humdrum! Sukadha is a Research Associate and writer at Storytrails.
Aditi spent her growing years in Bombay, Kuala Lumpur, Palakkad, and Delhi. She is now a happy resident of Trivandrum. With two kids, a string of hobbies, and a love for reading, Aditi is constantly seeking new adventures. Having worked as a Human Resources consultant and trainer for many years, her newest hat is managing the operations of Storytrails in Trivandrum.
Nayantara Nayar is a performer, writer and researcher based out of Chennai. She is a graduate of the University of Kent, with a Master’s in Contemporary Performance Practices. Before that she completed her Master’s in Media and Cultural Studies from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Her background in sociology, youth theatre, cultural studies and documentary film heavily influence her performance practice. She loves travelling, cartoons, cooking, and aspires to one day own a cottage on a hill somewhere. She finds stories and storytelling fascinating, and joined the team in 2018 as a Research Associate and storyteller.
Aparna is a communication specialist with experience in the various nuances of communication within the non-profit and start up sectors. She is a history graduate who delights in stories. She swears that breaking taboos is her favourite past time. Which is why she founded the “Elefant in the Room”, a provocative movement which runs theme based campaigns around taboos. She is very passionate about storytelling and loves theatre and the spoken word. At Storytrails, Aparna hosts trails and manages the Trivandrum branch.
Lavanya has a BA in English from Madras University and a Masters in Electronic Publishing from City University, London. She has been writing content for the Internet since Internet was a baby in India. Her first love is the written word. She loves puns, limericks, and murder mysteries with a gory body or two, as well as witches, werewolves, druids, magicians and things that go bump in the night. She’s quite addicted to anything from the house of Marvel. She loves writing short stories and bad poetry and has been working on a full length novel unsuccessfully for a few years now. Her idea of perfection is a good book and a steaming cup of filter kaapi. She has two children whose chief aim is to make sure that her idea of perfection never comes true. At Storytrails, Lavanya is a research associate and writer.