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Kalika Bapat – Journalism is My Life and Poems are My Soul

Born and brought up on St Estevam, a scenic picturesque island situated in Tiswadi taluka in north Goa, Kalika is a journalist by profession
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Kalika Bapat
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Born and brought up on St Estevam, a scenic picturesque island situated in Tiswadi taluka in north Goa, Kalika is a journalist by profession with an interest in music composition. Kalika is also a publisher and editor of a yearly book called Srujan and currently, she holds the position of Executive-Member of Institute Menezes Braganza, Panjim-Goa. Married to a renowned physician, Dr. Rajendra Bapat, Kanika is a very well-known personality in the art and creative field of Goa.

“I have done my preliminary education at St Tereza High School in St Estevam before joining the Polytechnic College situated in Panaji where I completed my Steno and Secretarial Practice course. While doing this course I got married to a doctor. But I must say that I am very lucky to have a very supportive husband who has never stopped me from continuing my education and even after having my first baby, I completed my BA in Mass Communication.”

The journey to becoming a journalist and publisher was not easy for Kalika since she had a background in Steno and Secretarial but that did not stop her from pursuing her goal.  “I decided to do whatever it takes and completed my BA in Mass Communication from a distance learning institution,  Yashwantrao Chauhan College in Maharashtra. During that time, in the nineties, computers entered the office space and knowledge of tech became essential so I started learning computers. I wanted to enter into the media field but was not sure whether I would join any media house since the job was not on my bucket list while in college I connected with Tarun Bharat, representing a magazine called “College Vishwa” as a college representative.”

Entry into Goa Doot

“The work at Tarun Bharat was more freelancing,” said Kanika. “While doing that I was also writing articles and poems for other newspapers. It just happened that one day I went to the office of Goa Doot Newspaper to submit a poem and came across one advertisement for a vacancy. They were searching for sub-editors, news reporters, and content writers. Luckily the editor of the newspaper, Mr. Paresh Prabhu, was available in the office and I approached him to ask if I can apply for the post and he nodded positively. He also guided me through the process and I joined the Goa Doot as a sub-editor trainee,” she added.

Back to Tarun Bharat

“I joined the Goa Doot in 2005 and completed one year as a trainee sub-editor and in 2006 I joined the Tarun Bharat as a contributor and I went on to become the staff reporter by 2015 where I handled the feature column in the newspaper dedicated to art and culture of Goa. I was writing on social issues, women empowerment, and youth. At Tarun Bharat, it was a full-time job. While working with Tarun Bharat, I met many people across Goa taking their interviews and understanding their problems and since I loved my work, I would even travel down to Canacona. After Tarun Bharat, I worked with two more newspapers but people still recognize me as Kalika from Tarun Bharat.”

Kalika reflects that Sagar Jawadekar from Tarun Bharat revived the College Vishwa Magazine that Kalika used to contribute to while at college and handed it over to her to run it independently. until 2015.”

After saying goodbye to Tarun Bharat, Kalika decided to join the newly launched newspaper “Goan Varta” where she was given the post of Editor for the supplement. “I handled the daily supplement and special supplement on Sundays at Goan Varta. The tenure at Goan Varta was very short but at the same time, it was the last place that I worked before I decided to start my own publication. I published my first book in 2017 on the subject of Food Culture entitled “Annapurna.” Now I publish one book a year on different subjects. The reason behind entering into the publishing business was that I don’t want to sit idly at home. Another reason behind starting these publications was to prove myself and send the message across that a woman can also do something creative on her own without any support.”

Starting her own Venture

Manassa creation is a YouTube channel and social media page that was created to bring artists from across the globe together on a single platform. When the Covid lockdown started, people stayed inside to avoid infection and during that time Kalika thought of something new and Manassa Creations came into existence. “On this platform, I organized various programs bringing artists from various fields of art and culture together on a single platform. It was not difficult for me since everything was happening virtually and I used to organize programs right from the comfort of my home after the lockdown and restrictions were lifted I continued to do the programs. Everyone was tired and bored of sitting at home and when the restrictions were lifted and finally lockdown was over, I continued doing the programs in physical presence.”

According to Kalika, she will always regret leaving  Tarun Bharat. “For whatever reason, I left Tarun Bharat but regret that decision since it was the only media that gave me huge recognition.  I  had done more than 500 interviews with people from different walks of life from local to national and international personalities. I had an opportunity to meet stalwarts like Kishori Amonkar, Lata Mangeshkar, Birju Maharaj, and Mario Miranda and I featured the rich art and culture of Goa whenever I got an opportunity. Besides meeting renowned personalities, I also covered  events like fashion shows and international film festivals.”

The Challenges

Starting a new venture is not a difficult task but sustaining it is. “When I decided to enter into publication, I initially spent money from my own pocket and whatever I earned from the Goan Varta I spent on my first book.  Arranging finances was the biggest challenge before me. The department of Art and Culture has surely provided me with the financial support to take some of the burdens away from me. The only return I get from this is the satisfaction of doing something for the artists in Goa. One can break even in this field, but making any profit is next to impossible.”

The Way Ahead

Currently, Kalika is working on taking Manassa Creations to different heights. “I had started the Manassa Creations taking inspiration from my father who has spent his life writing devotional compositions and he believed in educating society through this. I believe that my entire personality has been a gift from my father who always kept me doing something for society. We always support  good causes and doctor Bapat goes out of  his way and donates to such causes.”

Kalika believes good work always pays off, “Money is not everything: we need to pursue our passion and do something for society. When we do something with expectations, we are almost always disappointed.  We need to have a hunger for doing something for society and people and everything else will follow,” she concluded with these words.

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