Howdy Fellow Ghumakkars,
Hope the travel bug is still biting!
Once again, it’s time to extend a warm welcome to the new members of Ghumakkar family. This month we have Ashish, Bidisha, Naman, Pooja, and Sanjay joining us with their lovely debut stories. If you haven’t read their stories already, do so now and don’t forget to leave a comment or two. There’s no better way to appreciate a writer. You never know, some of them may go on to become Ghumakkars of the Years. And in case you are wondering what that is, read on to find out more.
Our talent as writers is nourished by positive feedback and appreciation. While the feedback helps us improve, an occasional pat on the back reinforces our ability in our skills. To ensure that we always keep on growing as writers, there has to be a healthy balance in the amount of feedback and amount of praise we receive. Too much or too less of either can be disastrous. We have to be extra careful while offering criticism because how the criticism is received often depends upon how it is delivered. If you throw a stone, you cannot hope to not cause hurt. However, if you mould carefully like a potter, you can expect to be listened to. But this is a separate topic altogether and will be covered in another editorial soon. This editorial is about appreciation. And appreciation is what sets Ghumakkars apart. Nowhere else have I seen writers showering such lavish praises on each others’ writings with such honesty and courage. It requires more courage to appreciate someone than it does to criticise especially if we are all sharing the same space. And more than anything else, this highlights the sense of camaraderie and level of maturity of our writers and makes our community stronger.
Each story is special and every author is special. And yet there are those that stand out and shine. These are the stories and authors that transcend to another level altogether and leave us with a feeling of awe. These stories and these people stay with us much after we have closed the browser and shut down the computer. We feel like we’ve experienced what the author had experienced and makes us want to go back and experience it again and again. The team at Ghumakkar tries to do their bit in recognising and appreciating such talent.
Over the past few months, we have been trying to develop and establish an award and recognition award at Ghumakkar and we feel that we have achieved some success. Though at this point it is safe to say that we still have a long way to go. You would have heard about Featured Story, Featured Author etc. We thought that it was time that we explain these awards in more details. So here goes.
Let me take each award one by one and start with Featured Story of the month. As is clear from the name, this is awarded to one story per month and was first awarded in February 2011. Since then the criteria has evolved after much deliberation and discussions and in its current avatar, this award is independent of the author and solely depends upon the quality of the story. This means that even if it is the first story by an author, it can still get the award. The story can either be a single story or a series of stories completed in the month. While deciding the winning story, the editorial team considers the style of writing, the level of details, depth and the quality of media (pictures/videos/sounds) used. Considering the high quality of writing at Ghumakkar, deciding the winning story isn’t an easy task. In case, you’ve missed the announcements on Facebook and through our newsletters, here is a recap:
February 2011 – Flower Fest
March 2011 – No single story was awarded
April 2011 – Jai Ho
May 2011 – Delhi – Khajuraho – Panna
June 2011– Car Trip – Delhi-Leh-Srinagar
July 2011 – Chakrata – A Paradise for Nature Lovers
August 2011 – Following Yamuna to its Source – A Road Trip
September 2011 – Ancient Aurangabad
The next award is again monthly and is known as Featured Author of the month. As opposed to the Featured Story of the month, this award does not depend on any one story. It takes into account, the overall contribution an author has made to Ghumakkar. So an intermittent yet consistent writer is as good a contender for the award as a tornado writer who takes on Ghumakkar through a torrent of stories. The quality of writing counts as much as the passion and a demonstrated dedication to the cause of travel. These writers inspire the rest of us with the brilliance of their works and you only need to go through their profiles once to figure out what sets them apart. As in the case of Featured Story of the month, the winner is again decided by the editorial team. Once the award is announced through Facebook/Twitter and through the Featured Author section of the Ghumakkar Authors’ Page on the 1st of the month, the celebration for the winning author continues throughout the month with the following:
- The profile of the featured author stays on the Ghumakkar Authors’ page throughout the month
- The author gets a dedicated section in the newsletter that comes out at the middle of the month
- Recently, we have started publishing an interview with the author on Ghumakkar on the last day of the month.
- The interview is also published in the Ghumakkar Authors’ newsletter that comes out at the end of every month.
With so many accolades, this award is definitely a valuable achievement and, so far, the following authors have been awarded:
But the biggest of all awards is the Ghumakkar of the Year award and it was first awarded at the end of the year 2009 making it the oldest award at Ghumakkar. Unlike Featured Story and Featured Author, this award can go to more than one persons and is awarded at the end of every year. The award recognises the overall contribution of an author to Ghumakkar in the entire year. Quality of writing as well as the number of stories are major criteria while deciding the winners. The race is usually so close that the Editorial team appoints a jury to help decide the outcome. And the following authors have won it in the past:
There are still a few more months for the year 2011 to come to a close and there is still a real possibility for you to bag this much-coveted award. Psst…sometimes, the winners of this award get a nice little surprise too. ;-)
I hope this has helped you understand the award and recognition program at Ghumakkar. The aim of this program is to further establish that sense of camaraderie and to help us grow as a community. There is always a slight risk wherever competition is involved. But your support and encouragement in the previous months has assured us that each member of the Ghumakkar family has the dignity and courage to accept achievement and to gain strength from the occasional disappointments to make this program a success at Ghumakkar.
If you have any feedback/concerns/general opinions, please feel free to leave comments here. We’ll look forward to hearing from you.
Till the next time…keep travelling!