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Sitting as a trainee in the plush headquarters of UNICEF Office in New York city, Smriti was all set to begin her 2nd innings of her HR career post completion of her Master’s Degree from Pennsylvania State University. Offers had started coming in and she was all set to sign the contract for her job, when she got the news of her pregnancy. Time stood still, it was a moment of joy and pain but she decided to be happy and took a sabbatical, came back to India to enjoy motherhood with her family. She had the option of staying back in USA, living that American dream, pursuing a flourishing career, but she decided not to.
Being an intelligent student, Smriti always excelled in her academics. Education was a hallmark in her family and her parents ensured that she received the best of the education. Starting from her schooling in a convent to, studying in best college in town and taking up courses at the prestigious Harvard Summer School, Smriti was on the brink of a successful career. But destiny played its part and soon after marriage, and completion of her Master’s in Science in Workforce Education and Development, from Pennsylvania State University, USA, she became pregnant.
This is when Smriti decided to come back and enjoy a full-fledged motherhood. She was not ready to juggle work life balance and was happy being a stay at home mom. Initially it was a refreshing change. Away from the rat race, she got time to breathe and spend quality and quantity time with her daughter Cherie. Being a very happy go lucky and contended person, there was no urgency to return to work life. Smriti started documenting her life with her kid through photos’s, posts and notes on Facebook. Through Facebook, she was keeping a journal of daughter’s life. Soon her son Berry was born and Smriti became more engaged. But the posts on Facebook gave her a space to connect with the outside world and also to express herself beautifully. It was her way of unleashing creativity.
Facebook being a huge platform, her audience started growing organically. And one day, a friend running an online portal called her up, to do women oriented short stories of women in Lucknow. And as fate had designed, the assignment from the online portal fell in her lap bang on time. She was happy helping a friend and being a people’s person it all came naturally to her. It was also, during this time that Smriti was yearning to reinvent herself. She had her Phd admission letter in hand when her son was born. It was an unplanned pregnancy, and she was not at all prepared for it. But she did want a second child so went with the flow. There was this restlessness, this need to have an identity and ever lingering question ‘Who am I? ” ‘what is going to be my legacy?’ She was kind of done being called so and so’s wife, daughter, mother. She wanted to be ‘Me’
So, the initial few months, Smriti, travelled within Lucknow, interviewed people, wrote their stories which got published in the portal. But with two young kids she was finding it difficult to keep up with the demanding deadlines. This is when she decided to fly solo and one fine day began her own Facebook page for sharing motivational real life stories. Already with a large audience, and plenty of inspiring stories drafted, Smriti started posting them online on a daily basis. Gradually her audience grew even more.
FolkTales – Raj Smriti was launched on 7th June 2016 and today it has around 2600 likes and a reach of 2,00,000 audience. FolkTales, aims to be an encyclopedia, a one stop destination of real life motivational stories meant to inspire and motivate human beings of all age groups, around the globe. It provides a platform to showcase products and services and helps clients in online and offline media marketing of their work and skills.
What started as a passion for Smriti has turned into a brand. In Folktales, Smriti has covered around 300 stories, from common man to celebrities, from young toddlers to oldies, from LGBTA to Leprosy patients, everyone has a place. She firmly believes that every individual has a story to tell, which has the potential to inspire many. And Smriti wants to be the one to tell these stories.
For its sincere and selfless efforts, Folktales has been felicitated and awarded seven times in these 13 months. With more than 200 stories already published it was given the IYF Uttar Pradesh Youth Women Leaders Award in 2016 followed by Marvelous Book of Records for creating a record of 50 stories in three months. It was also awarded the Top 100 Indian Youth Leader Award in 2017, New Delhi and Sanjogta Mahajan Memorial Awards, 2017 in Lucknow. FolkTales, was also a nominee in FICCI Women Entrepreneur of the Year and Global Woman of the Year, 2017 and HT Woman Awards Nominee, Ideator Category in Lucknow. She was the finalist for Swayamsidhha Awards ‘Outstanding Face in the City’ 2017 and recently was felicitated as a part of the Jury for Swanky Steps 2017.
To quote Smriti, “ I came to #WECanIndia program byDhriiti-The Courage Within and Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, thinking it’s just a networking session and that I can collect some new stories. When I saw the agenda and 5 day workshop I was thrilled but the first thing that came to my mind was how will I manage to sit for five days and leave two kids behind for almost eight hours. But I knew I had to do this to take FolkTales to the next level. I bribed my maids and friends to take care of my children and I made sure to attend the program without missing any session. I feel I’m the only one in the entire program who didn’t have a revenue model. #WECanIndia not only changed my outlook but also gave me wings to fly. I was all adamant about not making money. But the whole idea of having a self sustainable model to reach out to billions on the globe, came because of attending the program and I will forever remain indebted. Arindam and Debaleena constantly told that I should not do free work and that I should charge money and this manifestation made me become an entrepreneur. My mentor Pranay gave new wings to my thoughts and his belief in me added new dimensions. Without him and my husband the business plan was just not possible. Today I have a visiting card, website, twitter, skype accounts and it’s all because of WE CAN. From nobody to somebody the journey has been extremely beautiful and I am sure the day is not far when entire world will know about FolkTales.”
In the coming years, Smriti wants to focus on making FolkTales famous as a story telling brand known worldwide for its motivational real life stories and by the time WE CAN program ends, she plans to publish her series of book. She also wishes to become a successful entrepreneur generating not just smiles but revenues through this venture, thereby providing employment to budding story tellers and media marketing professionals. Folktales started with a Facebook page and Smriti dreams of making it as successful as Facebook.

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