This is an age-old problem human beings are trying to resolve. We are on an unending quest to have it all. But the truth is that we always have to make hard choices, we have to give up things. And especially if it is for following your passion, not everyone will appreciate your stand. It takes a true braveheart to go against the flow, and there are several sacrifices one has to make.Read More
I have talked about my love for winters quite a lot. And it is no secret that I hate summers. But this post isn’t about how bad summers are. No, sir! It is in fact about the little blessings of summers, and when I think about it, it wasn’t so difficult to come up with the list. I only had to ask myself “what is it about summers that I don’t detest?”, and the answers poured like a soothing monsoon upon the sun-dried earth.Read More
Summers are here and with them the sweltering, all-melting heat, especially if you are living in the plains in Northern India and the coastal regions. When in school, we at least had the satisfaction of being able to chill at home during the blissfully long summer vacations. Of course there was the much-hated holiday homework. But even that failed to dampen our spirits. I managed to keep the homework blues away by the ever-useful tool, procratination. I kept on putting off the homework to the next day and in most cases ended up tackling the humungous monster in the last two days of holiday. And the fun didn’t end there. During those last two days, while I slept on time, my mom and my elder sister ended up burning the midnight oil to complete MY holiday homework. I wonder why I never got a whack for this.Read More
Within them, they took us to entire Kumaon, most of Kashmir, villages of Switzerland, a large part of Rajasthan and finally to snowy Shimla. A respite from the heat that we’re folded in with intermittent reminders of the ground realities. Welcome aboard.Read More
Ghumakkar Guide is something which we have spoken about in the past but we could publish the first only now. The intent is write a under 10 minute read quick guide with all the useful and important information around ‘How to Reach‘, ‘How to move around locally‘, ‘What to do‘ in a short and useful structure. We also refer some of our top stories which we have published on the particular destination and we hope to keep these guides updated over time. The first one was on San Francisco and if you would want to write one on your favourite destination then give me a shout, we would love to work with you and publish it.Read More
In terms of travel, February started with some much-needed driving lessons from Aurojit, as he gets ready to take us to central Europe in his Skoda. The drive is yet to happen and we are all eagerly waiting or it, well secured in our seat belts. Sumit’s maiden story on Pahalgam was another tribute to the popular movie Betab and the valley named after it. Paulami showed us more of white Rann and white salt, after teasing us with tales of Lion sighting in Gir. If you have never seen a Lion in wild, then go and read this story. Upanshu made us lose our sleep and some money in Macau and Mala took us on this mystic steamer ride to Sundabans, the land of tigers and honey collectors. Time to take a brief break and indulge in the conversation which we had with Ajay Sharma, our Featured Author for February 2014, early this month.Read More
The cold is almost on the way out. Out here, in the National Capital, we witnessed a lot of action, both on and off the road. Suddenly Delhi is abuzz with a new Government, and almost everyone wants to talk about politics. However, it is a low season for travel since most of us are just back from the year-end vacations. Kids are back to school and grown-up are getting busy with the chores. Though it is a low season, we were able to churn-out some real gems of travel writing, and a few from the forgotten years as well. I would take you through the stories in a while but first things first, our Editor-on-sabbatical went the Mom-way early this week and the baby and mom are doing fine. And our Editor-on-Desk is working hard to finalise the Featured Story of the month so that I can include it before finishing this piece.
January is also a time for new resolutions and I am hoping that Travel has a firm and steady place in your resolutions for 2014. In the words of Gustave Flaubert, “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” Once you know this well, it is never hard to leave your place for some place else.Read More
Now back to our roster on December. The month definitely belonged to Ajay Sharma who kept driving, almost every single day. If you have not been able to read his road-trip spanning thousands of kilometres then please take some time off and cherish this real road-trip. Closer to home, Avtar Singh brought two poetic and lyrical logs on Amer Fort (Rajasthan) and ‘Sabir Ali’s Dargah’ (Western Uttar Pradesh). Both the logs were tremendously liked, commented, discussed and excited among us also took well-meaning jibes at our Editorial desk. Thank you. Going further Ram finished his North-East trip with a excellent log on Majuli, a nondescript island town and treasure trove of art and culture. Before we move further, let me take a little break and take you through this snippet from the Interview post where Archana interacted with Upanshu Singhal, our outgoing Featured Author.Read More
We froze a mid week day 8:30 pm slot for our telephonic conversation. After a tiring day at work, would the person have mood to give an interview? Well, I was really skeptical about it. TO add to my apprehensions, the phone rang for longer than expected rings. I cut it and redialed again. Now, the network provider shooted an automated message “The person you have called has redirected calls to another number. Please hold on as we connect to the other number” and some “melodious” tune to keep me happy waiting Well, I thought I would try once last time and then send a mail to reschedule the interview slot. But, there is always light at the end of the tunnel! A friendly voice answered the call. What happened next is spread on the table for you readers to relish!Read More
As a travel blogger and in some sense an amaetuer writer on internet, I have often wondered on how we can formalise the authorship process. Anyone can have a blog with any name. How do we authorise a certain piece by a certain person. In the old world, one can get a unique ISBN number for a book. Each book clearly mentions the details of the authors, there is a publisher to connect to and so on. Eveneven if you copy-paste Premchand’s work and put it up as your own and publish your own book, it is hard to get enough readership to sustain such an effort. Publishers of repute would ensure that it is your original work and your ‘Authorship’ gets formalised. This institutionalisation is something which I have seen missing on internet. And it is a paradox, a big paradox. It is a paradox because unlike printed work, everything is far more easily accessible and more importably, auditable. So a work of plagiarism is easy to catch. The great thing about internet is that it has made writing and publishing accessible to almost anyone, which is brilliant and needs celebration. If you work is good, it would travel. Now from the same premise, it should have been simple to institute a process around ‘Authorship’.
I have a feeling that people who are more connected to the world of writing, unlike me and some of my fellow writers at Ghumakkar, probably have some kind of ‘Author Authentication Directory’ or some such thing. There are many ways through which one can establish one’s identity on internet. An identity once created in the form of a profile, can then be blessed by the relevant community, in a way authentication it. Almost akin to the attestation process by a Gazetted officer serving for Government. If there are enough authentications, then that profile gets approved and sort of certified. Any work coming out of that profile, say a poem or a travel log, can then be attributed to that profile or that person. If you are using a pen name like mythical Silent Soul then your journey is a little longer where as if you are some one like dear Mukesh (with h) Bhalse with enough of personal photos of self and family then you get certified much faster. Phew, problem solved, at least on paper. Places like Ghumakkar should contribute towards this process and may be act as platforms, like signing authorities.Read More
My call was received by a mature and responsible voice. His humbleness was shown in his very first greeting and then we began an elaborate talk! As we spoke, my apprehensions and prejudices just faded without my knowledge and the conversation got smoother and more involving. I started off as an eager listener and his knack of putting me at ease helped me strike a great conversation. It was about everything under the sun. From family to friends, from leisure to work, from the north till the south – just everything you can think of!Read More
I am an year older and hopefully wiser when this digest goes for publication. But that is not a significant event in October. A little more scratching and you realise that the month almost starts with Gandhi’s birth anniversary. Someone who established ‘Non Violence’ as a primary and only weapon to fight for greater cause. He once said, “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind”. As you get old (and hopefully wiser) it becomes more important to introspect, to reflect and to course-correct. We also look back at our reasons behind Ghumakkar. Through travel, one gets exposed to things which are alien to him, whether it is as simple as what one eats to the greater realms of spiritualism. When one sees more of what one doesn’t know and follow, he slowly begins to accept the existence and more imporatntly starts appreciating the relevance of them. I am far more accepting to those scorpion, proudly displayed on wooden slates, ready to be consumed on my recent trip to Beijing then on my first trip and the constant feed of these small and little experiences gradually leads to greater tolerance. A tolerance towards something which is not you. Traveling builds tolerance and tolerance builds peace. QED.
And if this is making you jump off to other sections of this digest then let me dress this with something more appealing. Yeah, Okotber is a month of fest. The Dusshera and Durga Puja celebrations just finished, Bakra-Id followed soon after, Halloween is all around and we are all ganged up to make the most noise on Diwali. The card parties are in full swing, lights are out and the weather is at all time great. So one way or the other, October is a great begining and I prod you to make the most of it.Read More