Hi, and welcome to #TalkbackTuesday. This week’s interview is with Ms. Anita Rane. See her interview below.
Talkback Tuesday is a weekly interview with everyday people. It is always inspirational to look into the life of another person and realize it is just as complex and large and confusing as your own.
1. For the readers, who are you, what do you do, and what is your current side project?
I am Anita Rane. Dog lover, baker, writer, avid reader, toy collector and closet comedian. I am a digital content manager, and that pays for my bread and butter.
My side project is Paws of India, a co-founded initiative to spread awareness about caring for street dogs, one bike ride at a time.
2. Tell me about Paws of India. What do you mean “one bike ride at a time”, and why should people find it important to care for street dogs?
We birthed Paws of India out of a shared need to use our professional skill sets and passions. My husband, Sushant Ajnikar, is passionate about animal welfare, bikes, travel, and design. He has always wanted to ride long-distance and back in 2014, he was ready to undertake his first trip – Bangalore to Leh, Ladakh and back. We figured that if he is going to ride for so long anyway, why not convert it into something that’ll contribute to the larger good?
Paws of India was born out of a shared need to use our professional skill sets and passions.
Hence I suggested that he feed dogs along the way, and give them a name – an identity so to speak, and we’ll chronicle these experiences on social media. He has always been feeding dogs since he was a child. We’ve adopted 3 of our own, so this was a natural progression.
Street dogs are considered a menace and barely anyone looks out for them in a larger context. The objective of this insight, of feeding dogs en-route his bike trip, is to change that moment for a street dog, and encourage people around him to do so as well.
A biker, in his gear, feeding dogs, is a noticeable spectacle – people will get curious. A biker is also looked at as a more approachable person, compared to someone in a car. When people come forth asking what he is up to, and he explains that he is riding across the country to feed dogs along his route, it generates a lot of questions, intrigue, and awe – thereby giving Sushant a chance to talk about the need to look after street dogs and feed them.
A biker, in his gear, feeding dogs, is a noticeable spectacle – people will get curious.
This’ll create word of mouth, and help spread awareness faster. He usually fronts the riding bit and I handle the communication piece for Paws of India. We’ve completed two trips so far (Bangalore-Leh-Ladakh-Bangalore) and (Bangalore-Northeast-Bhutan-Nepal) – roughly 16000 kilometers and more than 400 dogs have been fed.
We also decided to meet people who are in the space of animal welfare and feature them – the lesser known heroes who could benefit from such media features.
Why is it important for people to care for street dogs?
Street dogs are like orphaned kids – no one to call their own. They are lost, hungry and helpless without us. Unlike other animals, they don’t hunt for food. They are entirely dependent on us for their existence – and when we treat them like garbage, they become hostile.
All animals are more scared of humankind than we are of them. For survival, dogs are forced to cross territories for food and water, and sometimes this leads to dog fights.
People need to understand that we need dogs for our eco-system to thrive. Dogs clear garbage, and double as security guards in the night when they bark down strangers. If we feed dogs, they will be calmer, the “menace” will cease to exist, and dogs and humans can co-exist peacefully.
3. You said you see a digital content manager. What does that entail, and what kind of rewarding experiences do you get from it?
I was pretty much responsible for the digital DNA of the brands I would oversee. What should the brand do on digital, what should its tonality be, how can the platforms or opportunities be leveraged and how can digital benefit core business through content – this is where I came in.
I am very lucky to belong to the tribe that was part of the digital space much before it took off.
I’ve seen it evolve and I’ve seen businesses transform attitudes toward digital.
As such, I’ve exposed myself to the birth of digital trends that are pretty the must-dos of digital today. Right from a progression of strategy on a platform to the usage of media to promote content – so many facets have come into play. To have had the privilege to partake in those has sharpened my skill to build a brand on digital. Not just professionally, but on my own brand, Paws of India as well.
Most importantly, digital has made networking a breeze for me. For someone who was hesitant to cold call back in the day, today I can confidently approach anyone with my request. And that I think is the beauty – to reach out to people who share your interests in the hope of starting something bigger!
For example – for Paws of India, many reporters and media houses read about us and featured us, and this just helped spread the message even further. We found a lot of animal activists through leads generated from digital.
For someone who was hesitant to cold call back in the day, today I can confidently approach anyone with my request.
Digital has also enabled us to reach out to a larger biking community, who we hope to unite someday through Paws of India. We now see digital playing a large role in our aim to start a movement of bikers who will ride responsibly and when they ride, they feed dogs too.
4. You come across as a very street-smart, enthusiastic, and savvy worker. As someone who’s got her fingers on the pulse of work ethic in the digital age, what is one key piece of advice you’d like to give to a young person still figuring out their calling and identity?
Hahahaha well, the thing about advice is that no one ever listens to it until it’s too late! 😛
How does one advise a young one in 2017 who has a multitude of distractions to keep his or her mind busy? So I am going to try and answer this question as pragmatically as I can.
It’s borrowed advice and trust me – it’s motivated me to take some of the biggest life-changing decisions in my life.
- If, right at this moment, you were breathing your last breath – what would make you go “I am so glad I had that moment?” It doesn’t have to be a save-the-world moment – it can be what you want it to be. Contemplate over it. This is not live-every day-like-its-your-last-one advice. That’s a great Instagram quote but in reality, not everyone has the same capacity to do so. What everyone, including you, my advice taker, has is the ability to create a moment that’s exclusively yours. Live your life in a way that allows such moments to create that showreel for your brain. It’ll play in your head when you’re about to breathe your last.
- Don’t get lured in by temporary successes. Temporary successes will not bring out the best in you. You will be doing it for the reward, which will always distract you from being obsessively better at your task. You have to make a choice and always choose the one that’s most challenging because it’s there to stay. This holds true for anything – relationships, career choices, the works. Challenges are good for your brain, soul, and heart. They keep you alive and constantly polish you to become a better version of yourself.
- Never ever stand in the way of anyone’s ambitions, personally or professionally. Allowing someone to grow, to be bigger than you, makes you bigger than yourself. You will come to a point when you are tempted to change the course of things so it’s leaning in your favor. Nothing good will come out of it. You will only bring in resentment and make people hate themselves, and you.
5. Great. Finally, do you have anything you’d like the audience to explore? It can be a business or movement, or it could be anything from a video to an idea.
Please do check out Paws of India – do visit our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/pawsofIndia) and help spread the message of feeding street dogs, one bike ride at a time.
We want to start a movement of bikers who will feed dogs as they go on their individual bike journeys. Therefore, we are hoping to attract the community to join us in this mission.
And of course, if you don’t care about bikes or riding but want to do your bit – then all you need is 5 rupees to buy biscuits and 5 minutes to feed them to a hungry puppy. We’d be more than happy to feature you!
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Next, check out the previous interview from last Tuesday with Aitijya Sarkar by clicking on the image below.