In the hot summers of 2011, I was working with a new Author Ghumakkar from Mumbai. It was a story on Somnath and just like any new Author, the initial few story preparation times are toughest as I work with them over the software nuances. From typography to picture insertion to caption to categories. Since the first story was a ‘Series’ , there were further complications. Being an active and straight-from-the-heart community, there were some interesting comments on the 2nd story. I am putting a link here but promise me that you would quickly come back after browsing through the story and reading the comments:
I am fairly prepared for going through this kind of stuff, and often multiple times and having learnt through trial-and-error, I believe that if you hang-in long enough, you would get through. In this particular case, I could sense the perseverance. I had my doubts but I kept my belief intact. More weeks went and Vishal, the alert among you would have made this out, and myself continued to find our ways together, stitching stories and getting better with every new day. We hung on and it has been less than a year and I am so proud to share with all of you (one more time) that Vishal is our ‘Ghumakkar Featured Author for April 2012′. I had the opportunity to talk to him early this month and here is the conversation we had with Vishal over phone and email, where we discussed spirituality, travel, NASA and much more.
Presenting, Vishal Rathod in a tete-a-tete with Ghumakkar.
Ghumakkar: Congratulations Vishal. I start my interview with the boring and classic question of , how did you discover Ghumakkar ?
Vishal: Thank you Nandan. It is a privilege to be here and I am thoroughly enjoying my time here. I found Ghumakkar while searching for ‘Omkareshwar’. The long story is already very well documented in one of my travel tales.
Ghumakkar: Here is a link of the story which Vishal mentions above – Two Ghumakkars
Ghumakkar: Yes, it is indeed. And what made you stick to Ghumakkar?
Vishal: Well, a lot of things. There are many places where one can find all the information about temples, how to go, train timings etc. After all a description about a certain place is going to be similar whether you read it in a book or on a website. What was completely different at Ghumakkar and what stuck me was that when people write here, they write a lot of about local culture, their personal experiences, encounters which they had with priests, good ones and not so good ones and after reading them, you feel a greater sense of joy and satiation. When I started reading stories here, I just keeping reading more and more and I started like it. Even today on my laptop, in my internet browser, on one tab Ghumakkar is always open.
Ghumakkar: Wow. And then what made you write?
Vishal: To relive the experience. I travel because I feel good and I write because then I can feel good anytime I read it. It is like multiplying the returns. I am an MBA and been in Sales so to get the best value of money, I started documenting and the rewards have been generous.
Ghumakkar: After an engineering degree and an MBA, how did you land up in Sales and what is it like working in the Sales Department?
Vishal: I started my first job in Quality Control department as a Chemist in a manufacturing company in *Dubai UAE*, in technical field only which was my asset as far as my education was concerned.( B.E. Production,1998 , Mumbai ). In that organisation twice in two years I went to *NORWAY* also.
My next goal after two years 2001 was to do MS in Industrial Engineering In USA. I got admission into TOP ranked university . But My Visa got rejected. I landed in Mumbai and started Sales because there were no manufacturing companies left in Mumbai . In 2007 I finished my Executive MBA in 2007 from IIM Calcutta. I have worked in very BIG organisations like ICICI Bank , Reliance ADAG , in Top Managerial level in Sales. And working in those organization in sales in very challenging and tough. Every day there is lot of pressure and stress. Frankly speaking “टेंशन बहुत रहता है.रात को नींद नहीं आती.घर वालों को टाइम नहीं दे पाते.”
But now its ok my ultimate goal has changed and I work in a medium firm and life has become somewhat easy and less stressed.
Ghumakkar: In your profile, you mention that you are tired of excess materialism and have shifted focus on spiritualism. What brought forth this transformation? Was it one incident or a gradual shift in perspective?
Vishal: A Long one. I live in Mumbai which is financial capital of India and called “*MAYANAGARI”.* Here you can find each and everything that exists in our entire globe. Every day here in Mumbai it is just like race where people run and work very hard and fast to achieve their materialistic goals. And they achieve it also. For eg . If a person has a very good Samsung touch screen phone then after seeing others he wants I Phone. After getting I- phone still he doesn’t get satisfied he wants I phone 2, I phone 3 ………………and so on. Although he may not use all the features. And I was one of them getting in the race of achieving these type of materialistic things just to show others, even I may not use it to fullest extent. Secondly for achieving those things we may hurt others. E.g. For promotion in work place many people try to take away the credits for the work done by others.
And I like other people also achieved those things and this went on and on to get better things . But somewhere I didn’t find myself winner even after achieving those things . I never used to get peace and satisfaction even after achieving my materialistic goals . And this peace and satisfaction is inside your soul. So I started searching for the way which will give me ultimate peace and satisfaction and I got into spiritualism. This was the gradual shift and still it is going on and on and will go on and on.
Ghumakkar: What impact do you think spiritualism has on our lives?
Vishal: First of all in spiritualism, You define yourself ( you come to know who you are) and what is the meaning of your life and its ultimate goal. You start respecting yourself and also start respecting others and gradually you become a pure and positive person. Negative thoughts from your mind vanish. Even if some negative incident happens in your life you feel there may be something positive in that. And in end you become a person what one really want.
REMEMBER, This is a little tough process. But each “ NO “ brings you closer to “YES” . So like the word ” NO”.
Ghumakkar: Very rightly put Vishal. Apart from travelling to religious places, what else do you do to satisfy the devotee in you?
Vishal: Try not to hurt others and try to enjoy others success and happiness is the best way to satisfy myself as a devotee and God also. Try not to think in your point of view first and try to think in others point of view first. Rest all things like pooja archana, naam japa, singing and listening devotional songs and katha, travel , dhyana and meditation, daan and charity etc. are just side by side …………………..I feel its ok even if you don’t do all these.
Ghumakkar: You are a great Bhakt (devotee) of Shiva. Why? What enchants you about the destroyer’s personality?
Vishal: No, I am not a great Bhakt of Shiva. I am just a very small devotee and its not only Lord Shiva, I am devotee of God in each and
every form. I like all his forms as Lord Vishnu, Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, Devi Jagadamba, Mahalaxmi , Ganapati , Kartikeyan, Shanidev, Surya, Hanuman, Jesus, Waheguru, Allah, Buddha etc and many others forms. For me and actually they all are one and same. Also I am devotee of their devotees also like Tulsidas , Meerabai, Tukaram , Kabir etc. and follow them also.
But Lord Shiva is my Ishta Deva ( my preferred deity ). I started thorough devotion with Lord Shiva and gradually came to know that all are one and same.
And about Lord Shiva’s Personality* :- After every night there is a new morning and after destruction there is a new creation. And So he is the creator as well as destroyer as well as maintainer. So I am enchanted by his each and every quality.
Ghumakkar: Your travels now are mostly religious. But before you turned to Spiritualism, did you travel? If yes, to what kind of places?
Vishal: Life itself is like a travel and I am travelling all the way. In organisations before I used to Travel for official work in different cities. I have travelled Norway , Holland , Dubai outside India. In India I have been to Hill stations , lot of coastal places, historical places also.
Ghumakkar: Thank you Vishal for sharing so many things about you and about your life and beliefs. Now shifting a gear towards Ghumakkari, we feel that your travelogues have come a long way since you first started writing at Ghumakkar. Have you yourself noticed any change in the way you write over the past one year?
Vishal: I never knew how to write. I read stories on Ghumakkar and started feeling that I should write my stories on ghumakkar.com So that whenever I get time to go flash back I can always remember what I did and go on virtual tour. I started with Somnath and wrote a very simple post.
The feedback and comments made some sort of improvement every time. I also try to use innovations every time in every series. I used virtual tour from view360.in in South tour. I used dual languages in my Climbing the Girnar Post ,where I showed my emotions in Hindi. In my new Somnath post I wanted to show my bhaav ( feelings) in different decorations of Somnath Shivalinga . So innovation has become part of my posting.
My way to express now while writing has become better. I can express my emotions and do detailing as you can see in ‘Two Ghumakkars Together “ .So obviously writing has improved. But apart from writing my reading has also improved. Previously I used to read any article (not only from Ghumakkar.com) from above not going in depth .But now I go in depth of every article. I have learnt a lot from Fellow Ghumakkars also. So Thanks to all.
Ghumakkar: I think this mutual sharing makes everyone richer. You put in a lot of effort to get permissions for using images hosted on other sites. In fact, this was recognized in this month’s Insights as well. Can you elaborate on the process that you follow to get permissions? How difficult is it to get permissions?
Vishal: A BIG NO and NOT AT ALL……………….I don’t put that much effort to take permissions .I took long time to take permission for only first time, but the permission was granted without much effort . Rest of the time I got permissions at rapid pace. The reason behind this is, please read below.
“Dear Sir / Madam,
I am Vishal Rathod from Mumbai, India . I am small devotee and do pilgrim tours every 3-4 months and write stories and on internet regarding this .
This helps devotees. In March 2012 I went to Udupi Shri Krishna temple.My main intention to write this email is to add Shri Krishna Idol Photo in my story ,which is available on your website.
I request you to kindly grant me the permission. I promise to give you credits and will mail you the link when the story is published.”
I write this type of mail to the person from whom the permission is required. My intention is pure and clear. He might think that he could have done nothing , If I used his image directly. Instead he is giving me credits so why should I not give him permission.
When you show your clear intention and think from others perspective you get the permits easily.
Ghuamkkar: You had mentioned that wildlife interests you as much. What else ? Where would you want to travel ?
Vishal: Outer Space.
Vishal: Yes. Infact one of the motives of going to US was explore this option but I am keeping my hopes high.
Ghumakkar: We wish you luck, Vishal. You are the Featured Author for the month of April 2012. How does it feel? Did you see it coming?
Vishal: Yes it feels great . You are recognised here for whole month and now in front page also my photo with link of this interview will be featured for 9 months. And who doesn’t want to be famous and known.
Secondly,I didn’t think about this recognition till January 2012 end. Yaa, but after the response from my Kashi, Junagdh, Girnar and Somnath posts I thought that this might come in next 2-3 months.
Ghumakkar: In terms of future travels, where are you taking us next?
Vishal: I also don’t know where Lord is going to take me in near future. But definitely it will be religious places along with some sort of adventure this time.Lets see………………………
Ghumakkar: Thank you Vishal for all the time, for speaking to us and for your diligent and well crafted responses. You bring in a lot of positivity at Ghumakkar and you spread the felling of well being. We wish you miles of travel, inner-space as well as outer-space. Thank you.