Anand is our featured author for Aug, 2011 and we caught up with him, discussing things from riding to travel to writing to life in general a while back. Anand is an old warhorse at Ghumakkar and his first account, 2 years back, about Renukaji generated a lot of interest. It was an unusual bike riding destination but more than 5500 people have visited this page so far. One other thing which could not escape anyone’s notice was Paaji, his co-rider and inspiration. For almost every time we experienced his riding, Paaji was there, ala Jai Veeru.
In his most recent trip, an adventurous and brave ride to Chansal Pass, Anand met with an unfortunate accident and is on a speedy road to recovery. While the Editor did most of the interaction over email, when I spoke to him over phone he was as active and ready as any biker worth his machine is. It was a delightful conversation and a frank one.
So without further ado, please welcome Anand, Featured Ghumakkar Author for August, 2011.
Ghum – How long you have been riding ? Tell us more about your your first ride.
Anand – 4 years. Vishal (Paaji) has been riding since 1995 and he inspired me to buy one. We have not been doing much of riding before 2007, when I bought my Bullet. Our first ride was to Rishikesh and we were one good bunch of super amateur trying to find our mark.
Ghum – We know you as the daredevil and your biography confirms it. Who is Anand apart from what we already know through your profile and what made him push his boundaries in the first place?
Anand – Well, I won’t call myself a daredevil. I am just a moderately adventurous individual. Being the elder son of a professor of English literature, I was almost destined to follow in my father’s footsteps. Destiny brought me to Delhi and made me do my masters in English literature. But then my indiscretion took charge as I made my share of mistakes and in the process discovered a new me that was as alien to me as to anybody else. I rose from the ashes of my earlier meek, ailing self and decided to challenge my limits. Today, whatever I am is the new me. Apart from the deep-rooted values, nothing else carried forward from my old self. But the transformation was a happy one for all. Today, I am a decently successful professional whose greatest asset is an emotionally bonded family.
Ghum – Your passion about bikes is apparent from your profile and your stories. What is it about riding a bike that thrills you the most? Is there something that you would like to tell our readers about traveling on a bike?
Anand – My passion for the bullet is a manifestation of my individuality. I’ve always identified with the bullet’s personality, presence and understated class. And riding has always been a way of expressing myself. I am the most proud of myself when I am riding my bullet.
Riding thrills me in entirety, be it the preparation, build-up, journey, challenges, or destinations. I am far from my usual laid back self when I am on the road. Passion is the key to riding as it is to anything else in life. Passion makes you bond with the bike and understand it well. Everything else follows. And also there is a saying, “Four wheels carry the body, two wheels carry the soul.”
Ghum – Tell me more about ‘riding’. What is it which makes it different than driving a bike ?
Ghum – And how it become a passion for you.
Anand – I got a great feeling of bonding, right from day 1. We were born to ride a bullet. Initially, we prepared a list of 25 great rides which we would want to do and all through we keep working on it. All the time, we are improving our homework for the next ride. It remains in our sub-conscious all the time. We are done with 9 – 10 and many more are pending. The passion just keeps us up all the time.
Its a process, a mental process which you go through all the time. Passion, I believe can be a mild word at times to explain it.
Ghum – We know that it is kind of raw but you recently met with an accident while traveling. Has that changed you as a person?
Anand – Not at all. I may ride again or I may not, but I’ll find a way of expressing myself.
Ghum – Some of your stories remind the readers about Raj Malhotra in Dilwale Dulahniya Le Jayenge. Would you like to throw some light on this aspect of your personality?
Anand – Ha ha, where did that come from? Talk about comparing chalk with cheese. I don’t think any aspect of my personality resembles Raj Malhotra. Wonder what made people think so. Thanks for the complement any way.
Ghum – When do you plan to resume traveling? And what are the must see places on your list?
Anand – I’ll be medically fit for riding in six months or so. But I want to plan a relaxed holiday with my family in the winters.
As for must see places, I really want to ride to Ladakh. It’s almost embarrassing not to have that on my CV. And I want to visit the Andaman and Nicobar islands with my family.
Anand and Ghumakkar.
Ghum – You published your first story on ghumakkar more than two years ago. How do you think Ghumakkar has changed since then?
Anand – Ghumakkar has got bigger and better over the years. What ghumakkar does best is putting all the focus on the travel experiences. There is very little distraction. Traveling is a very strong and uncomplicated theme and it always generates a loyal following. I wish Ghumakkar.com all the success.
Ghum – We are glad that you found ghumakkar. What motivated you to write your first story?
Anand – I always wanted to write but struggled to find anything that gave me sustained motivation. During my first ride I realized traveling was going to be my subject. It complemented my passion for riding. Right at planning phase of a ride, I start thinking about the travelogue.
Ghum – You are the Featured Author for the month of August. How does it feel?
Anand – It feels wonderful. Everybody likes appreciation and I am no different. I’ve proudly told all my friends about it. That’s how excited I was.
Ghum – You took some long breaks from Ghumakkar after 2009. And though you did publish a story in 2010, you were absent for most part of the year. How does it feel to be back in 2011? And what motivated you to write again?
Anand – 2010 was a tough year professionally. And I had a few family commitments as well. Naturally, I didn’t ride at all that year. 2011 brought about a happy change and I got on the road again. If I am riding, I’ll surely be writing too.
Ghum – Any favorites at Ghumakkar ?
Anand – I like your (Nandan) stuff. Manish Chachra for good reasons, have read the wishful riding series. You two are outright fav. Vibha’s writing, it has the discipline and the control which I admire. Mannish Khamesra has been the pillar of strength though I do not see him much these days and of course, Mr. Ram dhall, a through writer.
Ghum – Any parting words for fellow Ghumakkars?
Anand – I’ll take this opportunity to thank all ghumakkars for boosting my knowledge in such entertaining ways. Every ghumakkar teaches me something new. Every ghumakkar motivates me to keep going. As I spent a month out of action recovering from my injuries, fellow ghumakkars kept my spirit up through their wonderful travel experiences. Keep traveling guys!
Thank you Anand and our heartfelt wishes for your speedy recovery. May you keep riding ever.
On to comments and feedback as we close this month’s Interview with Anand.