Coming from a small village in Odisha, Riten took a plunge early in his life by choosing Stand up comedy (that too in regional language) as his profession. A designer by the day and a standup comic by the night, Riten is confident that he will be able to fulfill his parent’s wishes through persistence and perseverance. Read his inspiring story here:
Tell us about yourself? Where are you from? About your family, parents? How was your childhood?
I am Riten Pattnaik. I am a freelance graphic designer and a stand up comic. I also have a meme page and a youtube channel named “ROCK N LOL”. I’m from Sambalpur, Odisha. Both my parents are teachers and my elder brother is a professional photographer. I grew up in a village called “Mahukud”. Experiences of Mahakud-my village will always stay with me. At the age of 10, I moved to Sambalpur, the nearby town.
Tell us about your educational background? Why did you choose that profession?
There is a unique course, about which you might not be knowing. I have done that. That’s enough suspense, let me break the news.
I have done my BTech in IT from ITER, Bhubaneswar just because I was inspired by my Uncle who was the only engineer in the family.
Standup comedy and Designer is an interesting combination. How did you make it happen?
Both of my works deal with creativity and imagination. I am a designer by the day and a standup comic by the night. I do my design gigs during the day and perform at open mics during the night. I started my job as a Digital Marketing intern with a startup where I would do Designing, Copywriting, and some bit of Digital marketing. At the same time, I started putting my comedy videos on youtube. Few organizers liked it and asked me to perform at open mics. Then, I moved into a job where I did copywriting and designing mainly. This helped me to improve my standup writing also. So both of them got connected.
Hindi and English standup comedy is heard of. But we have seldom heard about Odia or Sambalpuri Comedy, describe how did this happen?
Hindi and English are not my cups of tea. Still, I’m managing to do Hindi sets. I have done 300 open mics in the last 3 years. In Mumbai, I do majorly Hindi sets since the audience is Largely Hindi. I do get to do regional comedy for the Sambalpuri or Odia community living in Mumbai when they organize cultural events etc. When I go to my hometown, I organize events to perform in regional language which also gives a stage to other performers.
When did you start freelancing? Did you plan it or how did it happen?
From this January only I started freelancing just before the pandemic happened. I did not plan it as such, I felt I was not able to do justice to my job or to my side hustles either. But then, the pandemic happened and it has been a different kind of a struggle since then, but we should sail through.
All this while you were doing so many things and this is not the general path children in India take, how was the support from your family?
Parents were like,”Aur option bhi kya h”. After they saw me on stage, they saw my passion, my art, and my potential. So they started believing in my work. But still, there are some questions about my financial stability, since they come from a very stable background as teachers. However, I feel if I keep performing well and persistently, all these issues will also get settled.
What according to you is the best or worst thing about freelancing?
In freelancing, there is no fixed amount of money at the end of a month, unlike a salary. In some months you get a good amount and in some, you get less. So you need to be good at financial planning to save for your rainy days.
What is the one thing you hate about clients? What can they do to make your life better?
Unusual and Unexpected changes. The best part is the exposure you get by working with multiple clients, you get to know what the world is doing and more ideas about entrepreneurship. It also gives you a chance to cross apply things from one domain to another.
What is your best work to date? Why do you think it is the best?
I think that work is yet to come. I still have a long way to go.
What are your mission and vision? How do you want history to look at you?
I want to take my regional stand up comedy to the next level. I don’t know about history but I want to be a very small inspiration to people from a rural area who have big dreams.
As you look back, do you feel satisfied with yourself or do you think you missed something?
Of course, I missed something but I want to compensate now through my hard work.
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