Manish and Hindi travel blogging are synonymous. Manish started writing his travel experiences four years back and he is been writing at Ghumakkar for a while now and have already churned out in excess of 20 stories. More often, readers complain that the stories from Manish do not read like a regular travel story. The adrenaline rush is missing, the factual details are lacking and once we are done reading, we feel like as if we are just out of a a state of poetic-bliss. A travel experience told in a lyrical, un-obtrusive and sweet way, is what describes Manish’s logs. His comments are always a pleasure to read and though a well traveled, well written and well respected individual, the humbleness is never missing. This was not the first time, we were having a chat together. Last summers, we missed each other by a few miles when Manish and me both were in Kumaon. Earlier, he visited Delhi and was staying close-by but got sucked into Delhi’s famous jam. I look forward to a day when we would both be talking in person but without any further ado, presenting Manish Kumar in conversation with Ghumakkar.
Ghumakkar – By now, a lot of Ghumakkars know quite a bit about your love for traveling and undying passion for music. Please tell us something about your personal life. How a regular day unfolds for Manish ?
Manish – Yes, my love for traveling or Ghumakkari is quite known and as you said that my undying passion for music keeps me awake and working for long time. Let me go back and share my story beginning from school.
I did my complete schooling from Patna, a city which has been there for ages. (Read Mahesh’s story on Patna – here ) Then I moved to Ranchi to finish my engineering from BIT, Mesra. That was close to 20 years back. I quickly moved to Faridabad, a suburb of National Capital Delhi, and worked briefly before going back to academics to finish my Masters from Roorkee. I joined SAIL (Steel Authority of India Limited) in 1997 at Ranchi and been here since then.
Ghumakkar – Why not Delhi or Mumbai, why you decided to come back to Ranchi ?
Manish – For an interesting reason. As you yourself very well know, in our part of India, even a decent, high paying, well respected private job is still a private job. After my masters, I started working for DLF Power. Same DLF guys who are big in real estate but it was a complete private job and could never compete with a respectable job of a PSU. I was in Ranchi during my engineering and loved the city so took the plunge. Personally, I was always looking for a job which was related to design engineering so it all worked pretty well.
Ghumakkar – O yes, most certainly. The craze for permanent sarkaari job is now less but 15 years back it was at all time high, probably. So take us through a regular day.
Manish – The mornings are spent getting ready for work. My workplace is just 5 minutes away and my work starts at 9.00. I work as a in house consultant of SAIL with specialization in Thermal Engineering. We do feasibility studies, prepare tender specification, scrutanize drawings like any other consultant. I do audit of other kind i.e Energy Audit being a Certified Energy Auditor. I am back by 6.15 or 6.30 and then it is play time with my son. He is a huge cricket fan and just a while back, we were debating on who would win IPL’s match today. His favorite team is “Delhi Daredevils”
Ghumakkar – And yours ?
Manish – O, come’on. Of course it has to be ‘Dhoni Dear’, the ‘CSK’.
Ghumakkar – Same here Manish. I am sure we are going to get a lot of ‘Likes’ from Chennai folks. So what happens thereafter ?
Manish – My wife is an officer in a Bank and she generally reaches home after 7. After our family time, I move to my computer and blogging world. As you know, I write at my travel blog “Musafir Hoon Yaaron (http://travelwithmanish.blogspot.in/) ” and my music blog “Ek Shaam Meray Naam ” (http://ek-shaam-mere-naam.blogspot.in/) along with Ghumakkar. And once I am with these things, I lose track of time. Somedays it gets past midnight, sometimes even later. I can go all the way to next morning amid these things. Ha Ha.
Ghumakkar: We have known you for almost 4 years now. In these 4 years, has “Manish” changed as a person and how?
Manish: Not Really as a person. But my travel horizon has really been widened and enriched by reading stories put up by fellow Ghumakkars.
Ghumakkar: All of us know about your beautifully written travelogues at Ghumakkar. Apart from travel articles, what other forms of writing do you indulge in?
Manish: Well in last 6 years I have written more than 500 articles related to Hindi Film Music, Hindi & Urdu Poetry and Book reviews on my Music & Literature blog एक शाम मेरे नाम
In my articles I generally analyze a song or poetry from my own perspective. With a subscriber base of around 900 & over 4.5 lakhs page loads it is one of the most popular music blog on Hindi Blogosphere. The blog has been mentioned in various newspapers and web media such as Jansatta, Dainik Hindustan, I Next , Rajasthan Patrika, Web Duniya & Telegraph. Due to my active music blogging I have also got the opportunity to become a jury member for annual RMIM awards given for best Hindi Film Music by internet users.
Ghumakkar: And I believe, one of your articles was published in some magazines and newspapers. Tell us more about it?
Manish: I think you are referring to my travel blog मुसाफ़िर हँ यारों. Currently I am doing an elaborate series on Rajasthan on my travel blog. May be that’s the reason why Rajasthan Patrika in its Sunday magazine last month, featured an article on my blog Ek Musafir ki Kahani. Last year I have written a story after Sikkim’s Earthquake named as सिक्किम त्रासदीः कुछ फुटकर यादें. which I also shared with my Ghumakkar readers. That story was published in Hindi daily Jansatta.
Ghumakkar: Apart from writing, we know that you are also interested in Music and Literature. When and how did you develop these interests?
Manish: My mother was a Hindi teacher and My elder sister is Sangeet Prabhakar in Indian Classical Music . My interests in Hindi Literature & Ghazals were due to these influences. From class eight or nine onwards I used to pen down my thoughts in my diary whenever I read a book or listened to a soulful ghazal or song. So when I came to know about blogging in 2005 I straightway got hooked to it.
Ghumakkar: Writings in native Indian languages (Hindi being only one such example) are becoming more and more prominent not only on Ghumakkar but everywhere else as well. What impact do you think this will have on the propagation and survival of Indian languages?
Manish: There is huge gap in demand and availability of content in Hindi & other native languages. I think as the internet penetration increases to small town & villages this demand will further increase. Hindi bloggers & writers on the net have a major role to plug this gap.
Ghumakkar – Last year you told us that you are planing to visit ‘Lahaul Spiti’. Did it happen ?
Manish – No, that is the short answer but let me also give you the long one. I enjoy traveling in groups and with family. For me there is a greater fun when you have more people to talk to, to be with. Lahaul-Spiti is not a regular tourist place and hence needs better planning, especially for someone who is not living in North India. It needs more days and being a high-altitude area, it demands further preparation. Having said all of this, it is very much on my list. So may be this year, it happens , may be next year, lets see.
Ghumakkar: Your travelogues are a source of inspiration for many of us here. How do you compose such beautiful stories? Would you like to share some tips with your fellow writers?
Manish: Thanx for such a compliment. I can not call it tips because perception of nice travelogue differs from traveler to traveler But I can list a few things which I feel contributes to a good travel story. conclusions
• A traveler should be in the love with the place he/she is visiting i. For example if you don’t love history a fort will always look to you just a bunch of stone walls. With a bit of research you can come out with facts & figures but unless your heart is in it the effect will not come out while writing your travelogue.
• Μore diverse your interests are there will be more points you will notice in your journey. For example If you are a foodie then only you will have a eye on variety of cuisines offered in different part of country. Similar is the case with interest in flora and fauna, photography, people and their customs etc. So wider your horizon is, better you are as a travel writer.
• The focus of a good travelogue should always be on the place of visit rather than the writer himself. Most of the readers who read your stories are unknown people who are least interested in your personal details. So try to avoid those personal experiences which are not useful to a fellow traveler.
• Pictures have become essential part of any travel stories these days but keep in mind that they should not overshadow your written part. Also, in my opinion, thousands of people visit the site to see the place so keep a good balance of your own photo and the photo of the place.
Ghumakkar: You are one of those people who have closely observed Ghumakkar for several years. How has your relationship with Ghumakkar changed?
Manish : With more varied and interesting stories, my frequency of visiting Ghumakkar has further increased. Its nice to see the enthusiasm of some of the new entrants. With your new initiatives in Ghumakkar the level of interaction between members has increased & it has been pleasure to know some of my co-writers in the form of interview.
Ghumakkar: Ghumakkar is constantly changing. But if there was one thing about Ghumakkar that you wished would stay the same even if everything else changed, what would it be?
Manish: The editorial team. I think with increase in the number of writers your job is going to be tougher in near future and I hope with the maturity & level handedness you have shown till now you will manage the show.
Ghumakkar: And if there was one thing that you wish you could change about Ghumakkar, what would it be?
Manish: I will go back to one post per day principle.
Thank you Manish for being the inspiration, friend and mentor to fellow Ghumakkars. May your feet never rest, may the bug in you never make you go sleep, may you be always traveling and singing.