Raj Ghosalkar- Tweeting smiles through memes.

How would our lives be, if it didn’t have memes in it? This quarantine, Storiyaan is featuring a memer @rajghosalkar who runs the meme page by the name @virars_chutiyapa. The page has three admins apart from Raj and features memes of only a particular niche catering to only the city of Virar. Team Storiyaan peeped a little into Raj’s life to know about the life of a 20 year old memer. Read further as we give you more insights.

Interview

Questions and answers

Virars_chutiyapa is the only popular meme page for people residing in Virar. How did the thought cross your mind to create a meme page for a particular niche?

There is a somewhat clichéd backstory to it which I want to share. It was me and my friend Tejas who used to make memes on local things and used to share it among Facebook and What’s app groups but we had never thought of starting a page. One fine day my crush blocked me from Instagram and to see her post I opened this page as I knew she loved memes. However, she did not accept my request for nearly one and a half year, but with the hope that one day she would, I kept running the page and developed a huge follower base. The memes we made could be relate by everyone. There was no competition in the beginning, and so we just kept getting better and more prominent. We added two more admins to the page which helped the page grow even further. Among all western regional meme pages our page ranks in the top 5, and that is quite an achievement for us.

Since your page has multiple admins, how do you plan and make the content? What is the thought process behind it?

The process is pretty simple. Whoever gets the idea first puts in the group, and we all then brainstorm further. From making the graphics to putting it online, we do everything together, and that is the best part.

How did your family and friends react when they got to know about Virars_chutiyapa?

They were all thrilled. I remember the first reaction that we got was crazy. It was from my Dad. He had forwarded me one my video memes saying check this one out. I was like yeah I know this I made it lol.
All my friends were happy after knowing it is my page. A lot of my  friends bragged about it to their  friends, and that’s when it hit me that it is something amazing that I have created.

When did you start your journey on Instagram and what were the hurdles that you had to overcome initially?

I started the page on the Valentines of 2018. It was all about consistency and patience. The hurdles though remain the same as Day 1. The biggest obstacle is the limitation that we have ; that is, we cater to a niche- which is only Virar. Even with the limitations, we try to do our best.

Tell us in detail about the entire process of creating a post and all the efforts that go in the same.

We find the latest trends and mash it up with the content we can create concerning our local audience. Next, we take advice from our friends and make changes if required and then post it.

What are the hacks that Virars_chutiyapa uses to create engagement on its page?

We don’t use anything specific as such. Some common and necessary things like posting memes on trending topics, finding the best time to post and researching about the engagement of a topic before creating content on it.

Has ever any meme/ post got the page in trouble? If yes could you share with us the incident?

Yeah few times it has happened that a  few of our memes has got people offended, but I think, being a people’s person I am good at handling all the responses. Just few disagreements on a particular topic but still we manage to convince people that it just a meme. So just enjoy it!

What collaborations has Virar_chutiyapa done until now?

The page has done lots of paid promotions for local pages, shops, events at a much cheaper rate. We have also collaborated with other meme pages and have done a meet up with other local pages as well.

What are the perks that you get for being the admin of a meme page?

What can I say! it has been a roller coaster ride for me. I hadn’t revealed my identity at the start. It was fun being like a spy sort of and hear people around me talking about my meme page online. After we reached 5k, we did a live session where we finally revealed ourselves after which random teenagers from my college approached asking me if I was the admin of the meme page. The admiration and appreciation from the audience are all that we memers look forward to.

What kind of interactions does Virars_chutiyapa engage in with its followers on daily basis?

We do lots of interactions with our audience regularly, such as Q&A, live sessions, random meetups. We do this to understand our memes from their point of views and to make them realise that we value their ideas and them more than anything.

Is there any memorable moment that has taken place since you started the page?

There are a lot of them. One of our regional politicians once shared our post to their Instagram handle. Locals cafes resort have invited us for their events and meetups. I met my girlfriend through this page, and now she has supported me throughout my journey.

Since you are still a student what are your future plans with regards to the page and how does it feel to receive so much love from your audience?

I hope to reach 10k soon as it would make the page rank among the tops regional pages in Mumbai taking up the 3rd spot. I also look forward to more collaborations with other pages. Maybe, collaborations with some Youtubers. I have a lot of dreams and plans ahead. The constant love and support that we get mean everything to us. Lastly, I would also like to thank my all admins Tejas, Ronak, and Kushal for making this page what it is today as I wouldn’t have reached this far without them.

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