Ghumakkar Featured Author Interview – With hearty Amitava

For some unknown reason, I was very relaxed on the night when I was to call up Amitava for the monthly interview. It was an unusually warm Thursday evening of April. When the phone alarm called to remind me of the interview, I didn’t even get up to pick my phone. My regular regime is to be ready with pen and paper with scribbles of topics I want to chat about but for this one, there was none. I did pick a pen and grabbed the air-conditioner-service-receipt, which I could find easily, as soon as I was into the call but it was all blank. As we exchanged pleasantries and progressed, the questions came easy and so were the responses. The flow was fluid and the conversation happened as if it is a regular weekly call-back-home conversation. We discussed about Amitava’s recent travels, the life back home, how he reads every single story for last many months, the passion and undying interest behind being on the road, his family here and at Kolkata, his son and how Madhumita is been wanting to write her first story and so on. The airconditioner-service-receipt was filled up to last free white space and words were falling off the paper, proof later. I looked at them, running in all directions on the bright jaipur-block-printed-bed-sheet with no effort to trap them. The sense of freedom, deep within all Ghumakkars was all too evident.

We exchanged more information and wished each other luck, success and a promise to meet face to face some day. After the call finished, I thought that if not for the ‘Featured Author of the Month’ award, which Ghumakkar Editors conferred on Amitava, I would have missed this interaction and experience entirely. I felt very good about the award and was even more relaxed. While I write this story, the April Summer is getting fiercer. I am in an Indian Railaways Shatabdi coach, headed for Kathgodam. The hum of air-conditioning is almost like one industrial deaf-spot and I am already dreaming about my next interview. Thank you Amitava for the wonderful chat, for being with Ghumakkar in thick n thin and for inspiring all of us on your never-ending Dli-Kolkata-Dli runs.

Presenting Amitava in a tete-a-tete with Ghumakkar.

Ghumakkar: Congratulations Amitava for ‘Ghumakkar Featured Author of April 2013’. I hope celebrations are on.
Amitava: First of all, let me express my sincere gratitude to the Ghumakkar team for honoring me the ‘Featured author for the month’ and for this wonderful opportunity to interact with you, Archana and with fellow Ghumakkars through this. Today is a special day for all of us in I am proud to be a part of the Ghumakkar family, with some like-minded people.

My world

My world


Ghum: You have been always very generous Amitava. So what are the plans? The interview goes live on 15th, as you would know.
Amitava: Subho Naba Barsa. [Happy New Year]

Subho Naba Barsa

Subho Naba Barsa

Wishing you all a very happy & prosperous life to you and to your near & dear ones. It is a very special day for us (April 15), as April 15th is Paila (Pohela) Baisakh, the first day in the Bengali Calendar. Bengali New Year, 1420 begins today. For us, it is much bigger than celebrating 31st night or 1st January. Today people wear new clothes, exchange sweets and pleasantries, just like Diwali celebration. Younger people touch the feet of elders and seek their blessings for the coming year. It’s really a big festival back home. Here, it’s a different story, but we do celebrate the day at home in our own way.

Ghum: Oh, I didn’t know. Thank you. I guess that is the whole purpose of exchanging ideas and building conversations. Tell us more about your roots. And I would guess that it would have been a big change to be in metro?
Amitava: Except a few years before coming to Delhi, I spent my entire childhood in a remote village, where we didn’t even have electricity. The last few years we were staying in Shibpur, Howrah. Kolkata is just across the Ganges. So, in that sense, I never had the opportunity to live in any Metro city. It’s a big change for me. It is also very difficult to stay alone in a big city. There were many things, I didn’t even aware of when I came here. The first impression about metro life was not good. Everyone seems to be very busy with his or her work and have very little time for other things in life. Life was not so tough back home. It took few years to adjust myself in the fast city life and by the time I made few good friends and be a part of them finally.

Ghum: Do you miss your home?
Amitava: Yes, certainly. Actually we miss a lot of things in life. We just attended one marriage ceremony in last 10 years and missed so many. Whenever there is a family get-together, we feel sorry for ourselves. Can long distance calls be the only solution for us?
While we are talking here, there is a year-end celebration throughout Bengal with some exciting fairs and festivals like Gajan and Charak. How I wish to be there.

I miss them

I miss them

Ghum: I think I dwell more on it, you would probably pick your car keys are drive off.
Amitava: Yeah. Hehe. I know what you are hinting it Nandan. Yes, I did that few years back. In just 4 days, I drove and returned just to be close to my family.

Ghum: Let me take a little pause here and go back to your connection with Ghumakkar. How did you find us?
Amitava: It might surprise many of you, but my association with Ghumakkar.com started way back in 2008. It was October 2008 and I was looking for some info about the road condition of NH-2. A search in Google.com landed me to a log on a road review on Delhi to Patna and read this beautiful piece by you. A few days later, I hit the same road at night! Though, your log to Patna was my inspiration, for some unknown reason, I couldn’t figure out how to submit on my own. I didn’t do my homework properly that time. However, my first blog published in travel-library, without any picture. I was irregular in Ghumakkar since then until last May.

Ghum: That indeed surprises me. So you are around for a much longer time.
Amitava: Yes and I was coming to the site once in a while. I remember reading a story by Anjana Saha on her drive to Varanasi. Then I read a lot of posts on Amritsar when we were visiting it. While I reading a lot, I was not interacting with anyone.

Ghum: So what prompted you to write?
Amitava: Manish Khamesra. I read his story on Kumaon. It was called Berry lores of Kumaon. I was completely fascinated with the ‘rich, detailed travel experiences’. I think he wanted to know about a flower and I responded. And so it all began. During the same time, we were about to go to Kolkata in few days time and were trying my best to convince my wife to go by car instead of Train. Finally, when I cancelled my tickets just a day before we were scheduled to depart, I decided to write about our experiences in this site. After some guidance from Manish through his post, I sent the draft to you.

Ghum: And as they say, rest is all history.
Amitava: Well, in my case it is not a very long time.

Ghum: You’ve been on Ghumakkar since a rather recent time. How has this short and quick journey been?
Amitava: It is a fabulous journey since June 20, 2012, the day when my first post published here. My association with Ghumakkar during the last ten months is quite rewarding. I am enjoying every seconds of my stay here and will always cherish these moments.
Initially, I was skeptical about my posts. The fear of rejection was always there. But I must thank you all for your support and encouragement. Though, I still don’t consider myself as a writer or an author, but a Ghumakkar, who wishes to share his experiences about the places, which might be of any interest to others, as well as to learn a lot about the new places from other writers & authors. I always try to be honest to express my feelings and write as it happened to me.

Ghum: And you have made a lot of friends, well-wishers?
Amitava: Yes and I will make sure that this bond / relationship to continue forever. It feels good when I receive mails from you, DL, Sushant, Vishal, Ritesh or occasional morning chats with Sandeep through gtalk. Till now, it is only with Vishal Rathore with whom I interacted over phone, when he sought my help to finalize his trip to Kolkata in February. Unfortunately, it didn’t materialize and we missed one more series on Kolkata from him for the time being.

Ghum: This is very rewarding for us Amitava. I think if we are able to ignite some bit of travel among us and if we are able to connect people together that is indeed very humbling.

Damodar River. My kind of place

Damodar River. My kind of place

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Ghum: If you promise me that you won’t rush back to Kolkata then I would want to know more about your childhood.
Amitava: Now all my friends know that I belong to West Bengal. Though, we belong to the District Hooghly, I spent my entire childhood in a village, called “Ghateswar”, where my Father was a teacher in a High School. The place is located 61 kms from Kolkata in the district 24 Parganas (S). I have an elder sister, who is married and staying in Bengal and my mother is a housewife. Our parents tried everything to give us every comfort, even if they had to compromise on many things in life.

With parents, Rishikesh

With parents, Rishikesh

Future

Future

My parents

My parents

Me and My Sis. Those were the days.

Me and My Sis. Those were the days.

Ghum: What was the pastime?
Amitava: We used to play carom, ludo, badminton at our leisure time, went for a movie – as television was a distant dream that time or went to see various fairs, which is being held throughout the Baishakh Mas (month of Baishakh), in nearby villages.

Ghum: Were you in same school as where your Dad was teaching?
Amitava: Yes and I can guess your next question.

Ghum: So tell us about it, without me asking.
Amitava: I was not very naughty in school, since I studies in my dad’s school, where he was teaching. I had to be extremely careful before committing any crime! The advantage of staying in a small village is that everyone knows you and that’s the biggest disadvantages at the same time. We had a gang of few friends, staying nearby. Like all in their childhood days, we used to play football, cricket, flying kites, badminton etc. etc. During that period, our session ends in November and the entire December month was declared as a holiday, followed by the anxious result declaration day i.e. 23rd or 24th of December. So, the gang of five had a secret meeting to decide our course of action during winter vacation. We had many plans and one such plan was to play badminton in the morning. Nothing special. But the gang of five also decided to taste “Khejur-er rosh or date juice” which becomes available in winter, before the game. The place, where we were living in a village namely Ghateswar, on Sealdah – Lakshmikantapur section and surrounding areas are famous for this. We had to steal the same before the man comes to collect the same; time was fixed at 4 in the morning.

Ghum: Sorry to interrupt you but what is “Khejurer Rosh”
Amitava: Joynagar-er Moa is a famous but rustic sweet of Bengal. Made from khoi , kheer and nolen gur, it is only a winter treat made in the small town of Joynagar about 50 kms from Kolkata, where I studied my XI-XII. Some of you must have tasted “Joynagar-er Moa”, if you haven’t tasted yet, demand from your Bengali friends to treat you with that in next winter.

Ghum: Ok, so what happens next?
Amitava: But, we won’t have permission to go in the morning. So, the alarm clock was set adding one hour from the actual time before going to bed and set it right once again just before leaving, everyday and ‘a whistling sound’ used as a code to wake-up everyone, rotation-wise. Since the place has plenty of ‘Date’ trees, no one noticed our adventures and for the next two months, we were consuming the delicious date juice in the early morning and never get caught. If you haven’t, you have missed something. Then there was a twist. All of a sudden, after two months in February, I felt pain in the throat and it was diagnosed as diphtheria. I was admitted in Beleghata ID Hospital (Kolkata) for two weeks. I still can’t forget that winter night when my dad was running to catch the last train to reach Sealdah and admitted me in the hospital at twelve midnight. All it happened because of our misadventure and exposure to the extreme cold, which was a secret from anyone just a few minutes before. It could be a story of any parents. When my dad had a stroke two years back and admitted in Medanta Medicity, I realized how difficult it is to hold your tears which he must had also felt on that particular night. The sprawling Medicity campus, with so many people around and everyone has their own story to share and I felt myself completely alone, left with just only one wish to be fulfilled. From a very active life, it pains me to see him these days but I never miss any appointment with Dr. or tests and praying for his healthy life.

Ghum: Very well said Amitava. It is our utmost responsibility to be sensitive to our health as well to all of our loved ones and our family. Thank you for sharing this touchy tale.

Ghum: So did the work made you move out of your place?
Amitava: I am a Science Graduate from Kolkata University and came to Delhi to earn a living in ‘90s after not being able to get a good job in Kolkata. Presently working in a Real Estate Company in Gurgaon in IT Department for the last six years. Few professionals, who shaped my career from the scratch, influence me. I owe a lot to Mr. Ram S Ramasundar, the then CEO of Electrolux and Mr. Ashok Barat, the then CFO of Electrolux India. It is all because of them. I owe a lot to someone in my present company, who gave me a platform and I don’t feel good whenever I am not doing well. He has immense knowledge and it’s good to be around, just listening to him. He is also a road warrior, but I am sure he or anyone in my office will not read it. It’s still a well-kept secret in my office.

My home garden, Gurgaon

My home garden, Gurgaon

Ghum: So who all there with you, at Gurgaon.
Amitava: We are living a happy married life of ten years. Madhumita, my wife, is teaching in a Nursery Playschool & we are blessed with one son, Anjishnu. Anjishnu is an active, supportive child, now going to 1st. My parents live with me since my dad’s retirement in 2004. They are feeling very isolated here and keep on travelling Gurgaon – Home (W. Bengal) in every three month’s time. My dad is not keeping well for the last two years and went home during winter.

At C R Park.

At C R Park.

Ghum: What else excites you?
Amitava: Apart from travelling, I like to listen music, fond of Rabindra Sangeet, Hemant Mukherjee, Manna Dey are my all time favorite. I love football and a die-hard fan of Mohun Bagan. I was madly in love with Steffi Graf (still I am), Maradona, Boom Boom Becker, Michael Schumacher; Sourav & Sachin are my favorite sports person.

Football, Cricket, Cycling and so on

Football, Cricket, Cycling and so on

Ghum: I think a lot many of us were fan of Steffi Graf. Andre Agassi is one lucky chap. Hehe. Coming back to work, how do you manage the work-travel balance?
Amitava: Since beginning of my career, I didn’t take leave unnecessarily and used to save leaves for going home only. I am following the same rule even now also. Staying very close to office, along with Flexi office hours give me some advantaged, in case of any emergency at home.

At India Gate on Republic Day

At India Gate on Republic Day

Ghum: And do you prefer frequent short 3day travels or a longer 15-day unwind?
Amitava: I do travel a lot, may not be for a longer period of time. Most of the time, it was a combination of three consecutive holidays i.e. Friday to Sunday or Saturday to Monday, or if there is a bonus holiday/leave I could manage in-between. If not, three days are sufficient for me.

Travel Partners

Travel Partners

Ghum: Tell us more about it. I am sure you must be doing longer trips as well once in a while. Right?
Amitava: Traveling is a very personal event for us. We keep it very short and simple. Most of our travels till date, to the nearest destination were a period of 3-4 days only. We always found ourselves in a strange situation. It’s not that I can’t or I don’t want to take leave. But jointly, we just can’t think to spend even seven days at a different place other than our home in West Bengal. “Kato-in sa-bar sa-the de-kha hoi ni, a-bar je kobe dekha hobe ke ja-ne”. It’s been long since we last met everyone. Don’t know when we will be able to meet them again. So, we don’t need to plan our yearly vacation, which is fixed i.e. in May-June for 15-20 days and book our tickets accordingly. Once at home, we make sure to go to few places with everyone.
Hence, my trips are not planned well in advance but executed properly with some extra efforts from my side.

Ghum: And what do you do to make the most out of a shorter 3-day holiday?
Amitava: I always want to utilize my holidays fully, even if I had to stretch myself a little bit. If there is three holidays and if we are planning to go, then I would try to reach the place by 10-11 in the morning on the very first day. We planned our trip to Mussorie at 3 in the morning, as we had four holidays in 2004 and left within an hour by bike. I don’t think there will be many who can plan to go to Kolkata by car from Delhi and come back within four holidays to join office, so that he/she doesn’t have to take a leave, since I just returned from home 10 days back.
It is always my decision and I have a willing partner and now a second as well, our son. They have a complete trust and faith on me. Responsibilities keep on telling me to bring them back safely from where you started, it is just like as we breath but didn’t notice always.
Who all are your most regular travel partners?
Except two trips i.e. Kasauli and Vaishno Devi, most of the travels are with family members only. It is tremendous fun when you are travelling with your family and advantages are far too many. You know each other so well that sometimes even if you had to adjust on something, you don’t need to take a second opinion. We used to travel a lot together. However, we had to restrict our travel since my Dad is not keeping well since 2011 and we need to stay home at night.
We would have loved to travel with friends occasionally, but most of the time schedules didn’t match. Some of them don’t prefer to travel in a car or may not agree to my plan…very few would have agreed to go to Amritsar in few hours’ notice and that too at 12 midnight by road. But when we saw a group of people enjoying together, we also feel it might have been good if we were also accompanied by friends as well.

Ghum: And before we talk about more, also pleas share you top 5 travel essentials.
Amitava: Here are my top 5 necessities while traveling, in no particular order:

1. To make ensure packing everything for the kid (it may includes milk, water, necessary medicines, chocolates, biscuits, a pillow, some toys to keep him busy). Travelling with kid can be complicated at times and you will have to be prepared to handle the situation, because it is your wish and not his/her. We can manage but what about them in difficult situation;

2. To make ensure about few things in your bag or list, such as Camera, charger (Mobile/Camera), SD cards etc., don’t forget to carry a torch, particularly if you are travelling at night to unknown places or a place like Ellora;

3. Do some homework about the route & destination, always give it a thought before you start your journey, (may be a drill while you are sleeping!);

4. Always carry some extra money (cash) to sustain for few days;

5. Lastly, always be prepared for unexpected, unplanned things which are beyond your control but relax and enjoy your trip;

Ghum: Amongst the mountains, which you have written a lot about, what is your most favorite destination?
Amitava: My favorite hill destination till today is Kasauli. We went there in 2003, just few months after our marriage. It was our first trip together, if we don’t consider coming to Delhi from Kolkata to start a family. No, there is no post on Kasauli from me yet. The thought to write about the place was always there, but Madhumita wanted to write, since it is her favorite too. She attempted with Kasuali, but couldn’t complete it. We read few posts on Kasauli and after reading Auro’s post, we somehow felt that we won’t be able to do justice, fully knowing the fact that everyone may have different versions of the same place. Though, it is still in the draft stage since last year, we are not sure whether she will be able finish it or not.

Kasauli - Unending walks

Kasauli – Unending walks

Ghum: Roads in the plains or roads in the hills?
Amitava: I am a frequent road warrior and have had the experience to travel from Wagah border to the end of Bengal. There were also numerous road trips in the plains to the nearby locations such as Haridwar, Rishikesh, Dehradun, Agra, Jaipur, Bharatpur or Allahabad just to name a few. I love hitting the road in the plains and all these places are very well connected from Delhi & NCR. Road travel became much more enjoyable today than a decade ago. NHAI did an excellent job.

Apart from the above, I did have some experience in driving in the hills. Dehradun was my first long road trip in a car but I didn’t have courage to go to Mussorie on 25th of December 2007. Though I went there twice by bike and once along with my wife after marriage, there was fear and lots of ‘what if’ in my mind. There was no self-belief. I did give it a try one year after in 2009 and found us on the top of Mussorie. It was an awesome experience and all of us were yearning for more of Himalayas. My second trip to the hills was as old as two weeks from now. We went to Nainital after third attempt and then went to Jageshwar to see the Jyotirlingam. It was a completely new experience to me driving to Jageshwar in the hills, which is 100 km from Nainital. We were mesmerized to see the beauty of Himalayas at every corner & every turn. I fall in love with Himalayas long time back and this trip gave me the confidence to explore more of it. We will definitely return to the hills again & again. This could probably the start of many trips in future. Nainital would be an ideal place for all debutant drivers to the hills, stick to the basic, follow the rules, don’t be over excited and enjoy the journey.

Visit to Amer fort with sister

Visit to Amer fort with sister

Three Generations, Birla Temple Jaipur

Three Generations, Birla Temple Jaipur

At Nainital, Third time lucky

At Nainital, Third time lucky

Ghum: A travel tale for our readers, something that you can’t forget.
Amitava: Again there are plenty of them, but I chose to write one for all of you, which I thought, is very relevant here. It happened during our trip to Kasauli. Just after our marriage, we went there along with one of my friend, Abhi (Abhikarsha Sinha Ray), in his brand new Alto. We had a very nice time together. Though, we had a driver at our expense, he wanted to drive in the hills. We didn’t allow him, as he learned only few months before. We were staying in Hotel Maurice (a very good hotel, near the Church) and after spending two days, we were leaving for Shimla. This time, without giving us any time, he took the key from the driver and asked him to follow us till the Check Post. If you are aware of Kasauli, just after the Church, there is a downhill and a Check Post. Just when we were crossing the Church, he switched-off the engine (all he wanted to check is to save petrol while going downhill). Then we saw a truck just before the barrier and it took a fraction of second for us to realize that he was not able to stop the car. Both the ladies in the backseat didn’t even aware of what was going on. My friend completely surrendered to the fate, closed his eyes, folded his hands and rested his head on the steering. I had no idea about the arithmetic’s of any car at that point of time and waiting for the collision. The car hit the rear of the truck with a loud sound and after a few seconds it stopped, by the time the lower portion of the truck was just in front of my eyes and the windshield is only barrier between us. Everybody realized what had happed and I don’t think I need to elaborate anything further about the over friendly, warm conversation between Abhi and his wife. The driver checked the engine and found it is in running condition, so we decided to return, after checking with Gautam Motors, Okhla for service.

Ghum: Oh. Never ever one should switch-off the engine, of any vehicle.
Amitava: Yes, never try this (switch-off the Engine while going downhill) in the hills. It is very important to know that whichever gear is required to go uphill on that slant, the same gear must be used for going downhill. I have never experienced on any high-end car, they must have had the advanced technologies, but these basics you need to practice and follow.

And since we are on it, let me tell you more.
There were two more near death situations after that during our return journey. The first one was just after crossing Kalka, the bonnet of the car, which was tied with wires, comes out in the open, blocking the view of the driver completely. It took some time for him to stop the car somehow. If could had been fatal for us. We tied the bonnet with whatever we have in our suitcases and finally in Panipat, just to save one person, a Punjab Roadways Bus collided with our car, damaging one side very badly. Later, he apologized from his heart and said in Punjabi “It’s all my fault to save the other person. You all were saved today because of God”, and started crying. He must be around 55 Yrs. + and we let him go. Had the truck not stopped there in the Check Post, it could have our last day. Today we feel ourselves extremely lucky to share this with you and whenever we cross this stretch; we thank God for saving our life several times on that day.

Ghum: I guess you are never going to forget your Kasauli trip.
Amitava: Such incidents may happen, but don’t give it much importance and don’t be scared. Learn from the mistakes and move on.

Ghum: That is the spirit. Thank you Amitava, for letting us take a deep look in your life. Before we close the interview, what would you suggest to new aspiring authors?
Amitava: Yeah! I never thought I would be sharing so many with you all. It just went on. I used to write diaries once upon a time, when I was staying alone, scribbling my day’s experience, even keeping a track of my expenditures, (I was living on a very tight budget). Today, when I look back at them, it recreates those memories and you can relate the same thing with travel as well, ‘to recreates those memories’. The habit is still there, but diary has been replaced by Blackberry and I just have to rejoin them whenever I find time. The thought may come anytime while on the road, market, shopping complex when you have nothing to do, except required only in the cash counter.

Just saw it on Thursday on Facebook, the Ghumakkar Mantra – “Never let the long weekend pass by.” It’s a brilliant idea. Plan your travel well in advance and there will definitely be some unplanned travels as well.

At Mussorrie

At Mussorrie

Kumaon - Fall in love

Kumaon – Fall in love

We all are here to share our travel experiences. It’s practically not possible for us to see all the places in the world, but through you, we can learn about new places, cultures, local cuisines, history and many more. My message to all of you is travel a lot, bring memories, photographs, take your time to present and don’t rush to publish. I would also suggest going through your post numerous times, sometimes we may forget to mention some incidents, which might be a memorable one for you, but in our urge to publish, we may forget it completely. This will be good for your post, believe me.

I admire you all & loved to be in your shoes. Each one of you is putting lot of hard work and imagination. Don’t hesitate to express yourself honestly. We need to preserve those beautiful memories in life. A good & sincere review is what we should expect from our readers and nothing else. Sometimes, it may not be possible to read all the posts due to time constraints, but I love to visit this place because of you and if any of my comments hurts anyone, though inadvertently, please accept my sincere apologies.

One last message, security of you and your family should be the first & foremost thing in your mind and nothing else. Never compete with others if you sense the other person is driving very fast. He must have some exigencies at home or the world may come to an end if he/she doesn’t reach there on time, but you have many things to explore in this beautiful world. Let the boy inside you to explore all the unseen places in the world. We have only one life to live.

Ghum: Thank you my friend. May God be with you at all times. Wishes and lucks. Take care and Shabba Khair.

54 Comments

  • Archana says:

    Congrats Amitava!

    I had a great time reading this interview. It gave me a deep insight of you, your childhood , the upbringing and your introduction to Ghumakkar pariwar.
    We @ Ghumakkar are so proud to have authors like you (though you modestly call yourself a writer as of now). And we owe a lot to the World’s most adorable search engine for bringing many authors like you to our community :)

    Your stories have been read and appreciated by many many authors. It is a matter of joy to know that this forum has also got you many friends. For reasons like these, I really call this forum as a family. We read, appreciate and connect with people here and that last thing is the best part of it.

    We hope that you stay here for long and write more :)

    Goodluck to you and your family.

    Cheers.

    • Amitava Chatterjee says:

      Thank you so much Archana,
      It’s a long, but I am really glad to know that you like it. All thanks go to you & Nandan and I am not exaggerating here.

      I still remember when I received or saw your mail on March 30. We stopped to capture some photos on our way to Jageshwar and then I saw your message. I took the picture i.e. captioned ‘Travel Partners’, keeping today’s post in mind. Throughout the way, I wanted to prepare myself for today, but the beauty of Himalayas has some other things to offer and it was a memorable drive.

      I will be happy to present it here too whenever I will have time, including those two long pending ones. It will definitely a long stay here,

      Wishing Ravi and you a very Happy New Year

      …from a Bong friend

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Thank you Amitava for sustaining with me all through last few days. I guess in the end, the interview has come out well. We would for the reader’s comments.

    We all get better thorough each other, by sharing our insights and drawing from others’. On to greater rewards now. Thanks again.

    • Amitava Chatterjee says:

      What shall I say to you. You have presented it so nicely, I have no words to express.
      This will continue for long, so as our journey – I promise…from a Bong friend

  • matadorv1 says:

    My heartiest congratulations to you Amitava. The interview is a wonderful read and being a bengali with a similar village background, I felt a special connection. Khejurer rosh and nolen gur are very close to my heart too. Shubho Naba borsho to you and your family.

    And @ Nandan: Bro, one AC service slip to scribble all this? You must be kidding. :)

    • Amitava Chatterjee says:

      Subho Naba Barsho, Anandarup and everyone at your home.

      Thank you. I am really glad to know that you like it, as well to know that you too have a village background. Where? Definitely we have a connection. These are my favourite too.

      Keep in touch.

      • Matadorv1 says:

        I am from Assam, a place called Silchar. My now sold off home used to be in a small center about 70 kms from silchar.

        • Vishal says:

          O Paahji kab khila pila rahay ho ” Khejurer rosh and nolen gur”. Waise in simple words Happy New Year to you all :)

  • Harish Bhatt says:

    Many congratulations Amitava Ji. It was wonderful to know about you.

    Thanks Nandan Ji for such a wonderful interview.

    • Amitava Chatterjee says:

      Thank you Harish.
      I am really glad that you like it.
      I still remember your post and waiting for your next post…When are we going to see the big cat in Ranthambore…hope you are able to shoot this time…

      Take care,

  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ Anand – Well, after a while the letters spill all over.

    @ Harish – Thank you Harish. It was enriching experience for me.

  • Amitava Chatterjee says:

    Thank you all.
    I would love to reply to all once reach home tonight.
    Take care.

  • SilentSoul says:

    congratulations Amitava Chatterjee for becomign FA for the month. Good to know a lot abt you.

    Nandan’s idea of such an interview is awesome, as it creates an atmosphere of family here, we know about an author and feel connected to him, know him and then read his stories… it makes a lot of difference.

  • Vipin says:

    Congratulations, Amitava da. It’s a great way to be learning about fellow ghumakkars a bit more…you are lucky to have the company of your better half and your son on your ghumakkaris….May you always keep relishing the flavours of ghumakkari and sharing your experiences with us!

    Thanks Nanadan for this tete-e-tete with dada and bringing out the different aspects of his life for us to know him better…

    • I would love to be in your shoes, Vipin. I also feel good when I receive your mail.
      Just saw your cycle and it’s my dream too to ride and explore in the same fashion.
      Thank you for your wishes. Stay in touch

  • Dear Amitava & Nandan,

    Knowing more and more about our friends is a basic desire of us and you have gratified me with a lot of insightful information about you which you have offered to us. Nandan, as always, is a joy to be with, talk with and even gtalk with.

    Yes, it is very true that writing about our travel experiences and reading others’ travelogues is like deriving the same pleasure vicariously. For me, writing is much more pleasurable than travelling.

    I have been away from Ghumakkar since early March. Missing my friends terribly but work pressure is causing this physical separation.

    • Thank you Sushant.
      Everyone was missing you (including DL) badly. I think March was the busiest month for some people for some different reasons. Whenever you are free, we will have you back and waiting for ‘Lighting’ part.

    • Nirdesh Singh says:

      Sushantji, year ending exercise should be over by now at your bank.

      Please come back!

  • Ritesh Gupta says:

    Hello Amitava ji…

    Heartily Congratulations for being Ghumakkar Featured Author of April 2013. Nice to know more about you and your family through this great interview. Picture are very good…

    Nandan Ji…..

    Thanks for nice & great interview with Mr. Amitava….

    Thankssssssss…..

  • My heartiest congratulations for becoming the feature Authors for the month.

  • Congratulations Amitava.
    It is nice to know more about you and that enriches the friendship and fraternity.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ SS – Thank you. Great to see your comment. Long time. Hope Iceland is keeping you warm enough.

    @ Vipin- A humble attempt. Thank you.

    @ Sushant – No worries. Please be done with your work and just look around when you are done, we are all around you.

    • SilentSoul says:

      he he he… i thought it is a ritual of ghumakkar that GOYs have to vanish after declaration of names :)
      Iceland keeping warm ?? just had a 6 hours long snow fall today

      WAITING FOR YOUR KAZIRANGA STORY..

  • Abheeruchi says:

    Hello Amitava,

    A very happy and prosperous new year to you and your family.

    Congratulations for becoming Featured Author of the month.It was really great knowing about you and your family.I really liked all the pictures.You are fortunate that your parents are travelling with you and exploring all beautiful places.
    I really liked the CR park picture because of one main personal reason.The saree wore by your mom is the same type of saree I got for myself for the first time in my life that too from my salary :).
    Kolkata is very close to my heart.I just Love Kolkata and had spend wonderful 2.5 years at Kolkata and with your interview my memories also got refreshed.
    Thanks again.
    NJ- As usual, great interview.Thanks

    • Wishing you and everyone in your family a very happy new year.
      I was in fear that it would be termed as as a family portfolio by someone. Some of the photos were taken through mobile camera as well.
      Yeah, except few places, most of the places we go together till now. It is really good.

      Regarding the saree, my home is very near to a place called ‘Dhaniakhali’ (5-6 km) which is famous for tant (handloom) sari. It could be one of them, though I am not an expert on this (‘0’ knowledge). It’s a nice city and I am sure you have some lovely memories of the place.

  • venkatt says:

    Nandan, nice job. Thanks for a detailed profile of Amitava. Nice to know of another member of the Steffi Graf Fanclub. Agassi is one lucky fellow…

    • ‘Steffi, Steffi…yes, I was one of them, thousands miles away from the Center Court, Ronald Garros, Flashing Meadows, Australian Open or wherever she played…used to go home early from office only to see her match from my regular schedule during those bachelor days…it is a pleasure for me to see her play with such a grace.

  • Rakesh Bawa says:

    Nandan Ji and Amitava ji, Namaskar.
    Truly comrades in arms. Thorougly enjoyed this chit chat . Amitava seems to me as a die hard optimist fellow. Good luck.

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  • Saurabh Gupta says:

    Heartly Congrats Amitava Ji.

    It’s really nice to read about you and felt great that your parents also travel with you.Would definitely try to taste sweets suggested by you but it’s very difficult to remember the name. Thanks Amitava Ji for sharing your life with us.

    Thanks to Nandan Ji for the exclusive interview.

  • Surinder Sharma says:

    Congratulations Amitava. From my childhood I have a mindset that people from Bengal are intellegent. Now I have desire to visit Kolkata after reading comments, hope next year I will there.

  • Nirdesh Singh says:

    Hi Amitava,

    Congratulations and nice to know you at the personal level.

    But then Steffi confessed she loves me. With Agassi its just an arrangement.

    Nandan, as always you are giving Larry King a run for his money.

  • Amitava Chatterjee says:

    Thank you Nirdesh.
    ….and there were so many heartbreaks…I guess…or still there is a chance
    Rest (regarding Larry King), Nandan to reply to you, most probably

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    Amitava,

    Please receive my heartiest congratulations on being chosen as Featured Author of the month which is one of the prestigious award of ghumakkar.com. The interview was quite interesting and it enabled us know some untouched aspects of your life, thanks to Nandan for the same.

    Thanks.

    • Amitava Chatterjee says:

      Thank you Makesh.
      It is really nice to come across so many people through this site and you are one of them.

  • Congratulations Amitava Ji,
    we are glad to know more about you through this chat with Nandan.
    Thanks Nandan Ji for this interview.

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Welcome to the Ghumakkar Hall of FAMe, Amitava. (FAM also is an acronym for Featured Author of the Month)

    Although we know you well through your semi-autobiographical travelogues, it was a real pleasure to read about you once again and thank you for sharing with us your thoughts. You are an immensely popular member of the family and I have thoroughly enjoyed the many interactions I have had with you. Your innate honesty and goodness shines through in this interview and I wish all the best for you and your family in the Nobo Borsho.

    Its been New Year celebrations for a lot of us. On the 10th, it was New Year for Andhra and Karnataka (we call it Ugadi, a corruption of Yugaadi) and for Maharashtra too, who call it Gudi padva. On this day, the Nandan year ended and the Vijaya year began (Satavahana era) On the 14th, it was Vishu,the new year’s day for Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Season’s greetings to all my fellow ghumakkars and their families. May the new year usher in an era of peace and prosperity.

    @ Nandan” One cannot but admire your consummate interviewing skills. The prologue to the interview set the tone for the things to come and I loved the way a blank service receipt got filled upwith words till they overflowed and spread all over the “the bright jaipur-block-printed-bed-sheet with no effort to trap them”. Arundhati Roy would have been proud had she penned such an exquisite line. Anyway, you write so effortlessly that it is difficult to think of you putting in a lot of effort to come up with the right word or phrase.

    Its been quite a while and I should go and read your interview with Mr. Venkat…I am sure that will be awesome too.

    • Amitava Chatterjee says:

      Thank you DL.

      Wishing you too a very Happy New Year and may the new year bring peace & happiness to you and to your near & dear ones.

      On last Wednesday (10-Apr), we did celebrate Ugadi in our office. One of my colleagues brought delicious ‘Vabatu’ & ‘Kattu’ for everyone (Hope I remember it correctly).

      It’s my pleasure to receive review from you and you too are very generous.
      Personally, I always wait for this.

      I agree with you completely on his skills. I have no words to express about the way he started and presented this so nicely.

      Stay in touch,

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi Amitava,

    Firstly, CONGRATS – once again.

    Secondly, sorry that I am late here. Well, to think of it, feeling of being late is not so much in terms of time, but the laa….arge number of comments already posted here in just one day. Does one need to say anything more about your Ghumakkari ? Superb showing……..

    It has been very interesting reading the interview. Khejur rosh, joinogorer moa… so tasteful !!!

    Kasauli adventure is engrossing as much as fateful. About your mention of sense of justice on Kasauli post – yes, Ghumakkar accepts exaggeration unlimited :-)

    And Shubho Noboborsho (sorry again for not replying on that), to all three of you.

    Enjoyed the interview thoroughly.

    Keep travelling, keep sharing,

    Thanks.

    @ Nandan,

    Nice, engrossing presentation once again. IR should be thankful to you for turning their good for nothing air-conditioner-service-receipt into a Ghumakkar masterpiece :-)

    Enjoyed.

    Auro.

    • Amitava Chatterjee says:

      Hi, Auro,
      Thank you so much.
      Missing them too…will need to go during winter, it’s been a long since we last visited home during winter, but every winter we are fortunate enough to taste Joynagarer Moa from Joynagar.

      Overall, the trip to Kasauli was a memorable one for us, even after 10 years and without those three incidents. We would love to go there again and may visit there this year.

      Subho Naba Barsha once again.

      from a bong friend.

  • Stone says:

    Wow, what a fantastic interview it turned out to be.

    @Amitava – Pleasure to know more about you sir!

    @Nandan – And what to say about you sir, you interview taking skills are getting better and better, now all we need here is a stage, live band in background , just like settings of old ‘Movers and Shakers’ kind :-)

  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ Abhee – Thank you. I look forward to Canada logs. I guess the weather would be Ok these days.

    @ Venkat – Thank you. Keep coloring the lives.

    @ Prof Bawa – Yeah, true comrades. Towards a peaceful world. Traveling builds tolerance and tolerance builds peace. One trip at a time. :-)

    @ Saurabh, @Mukesh, @Naresh – Thank you. It means a lot.

    @ Nirdesh @Stone – Someday for sure. We tried doing a video interview over Google Hangout with SS but it didn’t work well. I am sure it is possible, if only I can work a bit more. :-)

    • Abheeruchi says:

      Hello Nandan ji,

      Yes I am trying to explore Toronto as Ghumakkar and hope to write good Canada posts. Here weather in the first week of April was said to be spring but we are fortunate to see Freezing rain, snowfall , minus degree and winter storm in the same week.
      Now it is improving, temperature is now sunny 5 degree.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ DL – Extremely happy to see your comment. The comparison is exaggerated from my angle, from hers she wont even notice the note. :-) Thank you.

    @ Auro – The a/c receipt was of a local repair shop. Agree that IR has many good-for-nothing candidates. Hopefully they would listen and improve.

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