Settled in New Jersey, working in Corporate Affairs, Ajanta Mahapatra never misses a moment to travel the world. Hailing from Odisha, she grew up in Assam, and as a child; she accompanied her father as he travelled the borders of the country while he worked for the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). She recalls visiting the seven sisters every summer, which soon helped pave her path to quenching her wanderlust.
She would travel whenever possible, be it a local destination, the outskirts of a city, or a faraway land. While her relationship with a saree was once aversive, she did find it comfortable enough to go trekking and hiking in, which took a lot of people by surprise. In 2017, a friend suggested that she don the ensemble while travelling across the world. What started as a quirky idea has soon grown into something really beautiful. As a child, she recalls how she hated the saree initially and dreaded wearing it. Today, she claims that she owes it to her mother’s words “Tu gote dina saree pindhibu” (One day you’d love to wear sarees). Her mother’s words have rung true in every way possible. She cherishes these words.
While travelling, her Indian attire grabs attention wherever she goes; in fact, a lot of locals and fellow tourists walk up to her and greet her with “Namaste” or “Hello India!” This beautiful attire has been fortified as a marker of her identity. Her adventures have reached out to thousands of people on social media, who have all praised this act. Several saree brands have praised and appreciated her. Ajanta Mahapatra is a role model for a lot of women, letting them know that they can be free birds, earn money, and achieve their passions. Her use of the saree has been interpreted as an extension of her personality; she dresses comfortable, classy, and convenient. This traditional attire is worn by numerous women around the country, and her act has inspired hundreds to engage in the same.
Of course, she does face hurdles now and then: communicating in foreign countries as well as searching for vegetarian cuisine has been a hassle sometimes. None of these problems has deterred her; they are mere stepping stones as she continues to travel the world, fearlessly. She always extensively plans her itineraries, finances, and trips which make her feel empowered and mentally secure.
Ajanta Mahapatra has learned never to compromise on her dreams or passions. She ensures to strike the right balance between work and leisure and lives life to the fullest. Her profession and passion allow her to earn as well as enjoy, allowing her to cherish her globetrotting dreams by setting foot on every land. She is living proof that women can do unconventional things, and achieve their dreams side by side. She steps out of her comfort zone and adventures through the hurdles she faces. She motivates women everywhere.
No matter where she is, be it the chilly glaciers of Alaska, the rocky pyramids in Giza, or traversing the route to the Arctic Circle, you will always find her enjoying her life draped elegantly in nine yards.
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