There is no greater delight than preparing for and presenting the top Ghumakkars of 2011; to be able to spend endless hours debating with the jury and the editor and debating the criteria every few hours. Each time one gets into a new round of discussion, promising not to sound opinionated, biased and passionate about someone in particular and in the end is found doing precisely the same. Pitching lone battles and often losing, giving a twist to the data with a difference in visualization and feeling good (rather high). And although this sound glamorous enough, it does involve a lot of work, re-work and un-work. So before I turn this post into my sermon of the day, let me share the broad framework we exercised to choose the ‘Ghumakkar of the Year 2011’.
Ghumakkar of the year is the greatest and biggest recognition that you can ever get, at least that is the way I have been motivating myself (for my own stories, and failing each of last two years) when we announced it. For this year, the list is yet to go out. So first things first. Here is the link of the ‘Ghumakkar of the Year 2009’ and ‘Ghumakkar of the Year 2010’. I am not giving you the names, so please go ahead and read those stories.
Coming back to 2011, the ‘Editorial Team’ selected top 16 contenders for ‘Ghumakkar of the Year 2011’ and circulated the list in November. They were, in reverse alphabetical order (and you tell me that I am not opinionated):
These 16 represented, in our most humble opinion, the top 16 Ghumakkars. Congratulations to each one!
At the next level, we looked at some of the data around the number of destinations that each of these took us to, number of comments and their overall contribution and agreed on Top 10 and they were, in alphabetical order (I change my mind often):
These were all the great Ghumakkars and if it was unto me, I would have loved to have each one of you as ‘Ghumakkar of the Year 2011’. But controlling our over-enthusiasm, we formed a jury who were given thick reams of details of above authors.
The jury comprised of:
These are our well-known and popular names and once they agreed (actually they agreed very readily) , we requested them to give us their Top 5. There were not set rules (for example total number of posts) but the overall guideline was around story writing (creativity, language, flow, narration), destination covered (variety, novelty, utility), presentation (photos, information, experience) and most importantly the ‘appeal’ they brought to our jury.
Thank you Ram, Nisha, Manish and Jaishree for readily agreeing and for your detailed write-up on your selections. Thank you.
Yet, as expected, we did not get the same names so we did a little bit of union and intersection and arrived at top 6 Ghumakkars. Each of these 6 had at least one vote on each parameter and most of them had more than one vote while one person had all three. I will hold the excitement here.
So we did some slice-n-dice of data, looked at relative rankings from the jury and in the end fell back on our own judgment to arrive at the final 3. So far so good. After we arrived on final 3, we incubated the decision for some more time. This was to ensure that we are indeed fully convinced or not and once that went past, it was time to raise the curtain.
So with much ado, I take pride in announcing the winners of ‘Ghumakkar of the Year 2011’ award and the names are (in no particular order)
Devasmita Chakraverty , Aditya Khandelwal And Sandeep Panwar
(Clap! Clap!! Clap!!!) – Applause track please.
Devasmita makes the appearance for two consecutive years and was a natural choice. She was there in 2010 as well and it is a great feat to consistently be the ‘Ghumakkar of the Year’ for two consecutive years. As someone said, “she is Ghumakkar’s international face”. She took us to brilliant landscapes in 2011 and has written in excess of 25 stories, that is more than 2 stories every month! Her story on Portugal, went viral , attracted more than 500 Facebook shares. She was the ‘Featured Author’ for December 2011 and what better way to consummate the year than to being christened the ‘Ghumakkar of the Year 2011’. Congratulations DC! A throughly deserved recognition for your excellent work!
Astro Aditya is an uninterrupted Ghumakkar. Starting the year with his visit to Khirsu right on the very first day of the year, he then took us to the ever-inspiring bike ride to Yamunotri. And if that was not enough, he polished the year with a visit to Kinnaur. He started with Ghumakkar in the mid of 2010 and has written 20 stories in 2011 alone. Though enough good words & drools have been expressed on the quality his photography, I would still want to mention. Aditya was the ‘Featured Author’ for March 2011. Congratulations Aditya! We look forward to read and see more of your stuff. Enjoy!
Sandeep ‘Jatdevta’ Panwar. बस नाम ही काफी है! (Just the name is enough!) Sandeep’s tales read like urban legends. Someone commented that his logs are honest, how true! Sandeep is one Ghumakkar who leads the pack with utmost simplicity and extreme focus – a ghumakkar with minimum ‘baggage’ indeed. His series on Leh, Gomukh and the most recent on Har Ki Doon are the ones that call for ‘fan following’, almost close to creating a cult of its own. He represents a new genre of travelers who are brave, unfailing and can surpass any barrier. Sandeep was the ‘Featured Author‘ for November 2011. Congratulations Jatdevta!
So, how does it feel to be on this ride of the last one year? (sigh!) Let me jump on the train of comments…