Ghumakkar Digest – September 2014

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More than 20 Ghumakkars braved it. Tridev Sir and Silentsoul played the role of Sutradhars and helped us introduce each other. Apart from Sushant who came all the way from Saharanpur, the spirit of whom we salute from the bottom of our hearts, Naresh Sehgal joined us all the way from Ambala. As people started to gather, it was difficult to grasp so much warmth in that little a space. I would let the attendees talk more via ‘Comments’ section of this post. For me, it was an overwhelming experience. We didn’t talk a lot but somehow it feels that the connect and bond has suddenly grown much stronger. The first meet was a beginning and I do hope that it carries on, in smaller or bigger way, in different seasons, in various setups and in various cities and tahsheels and mohallas. It need not be bound by the fact that whether someone is writing on Ghumakkar.com or not, but by the sheer heady spirit of traveling. I would take this opportunity yet again to mention that traveling builds tolerance and tolerance builds peace.

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Ghumakkar Digest – August 2014

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Over the last 7 years of Ghumakkar’s existence, one common and often repeated request was to have some kind of face to face interaction within the community. Many of our community members have met with each other, and have developed long lasting friendships. In fact, at times it is very humbling to know that someone met someone else at Ghumakkar and now both the families not only interact and meet each other but also travel to new places, together. That gives the Ghumakkar crew a feeling of true accomplishment. I, myself, have met many of you and each experience has been a rewarding one. But we never had a so-called ‘Ghumakkar Meet’. What better way to start this monthly digest than to share with all of you that first such organised meeting is finally happening in September 2014 in Delhi. This meet is a brain-child of one of our seasoned trekkers and someone who just moves on with a travel with little to nil planning. Gives me immense pleasure to announce that Vipin Gaur has graciously invited all of us to be together on September 7.

Here are more details, right from the event which Vipin created at Facebook.

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Ghumakkar Digest – April 2014

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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.

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Ghumakkar Monthly Digest – March 2014

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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.

Getting back to time machine travel part of this guide, my pick is to not miss Vijay’s log on Goa in Monsoons, Vishal long ride back home from Leh, and Mala’s hueful Kashmir.

If Holi and a visit to temples excite you then please accompany Munesh on this travel to Barsana and Nand Gaon or with Naresh where he paints a vivid picture of Prem Mandir.

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Ghumakkar Monthly Digest – February 2014

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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.

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Ghumakkar Monthly Digest – January 2014

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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.

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Getting lost in Sambhar Lake

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On the way back, we drove the entire distance over lake only. Trying to absorb more of that dry-dusty frame. We also learned that ‘Jodha Akbar’ was shot here and apparently they created the entire war set here. Another movie, this time of junior Bacchan was shot in the main town. We dropped the Sambhar Salts gentleman back after thanking him for all his help and started back.

As we were driving back, I was thinking that how long the lake would remain like that. Probably 50 years down the line, this story would look like a legend. May be the area would get habituated, the land would be reclaimed to build SEZs and factories or may be the new Jaipur Airport. Who can imagine a 230 sq KM dry lake which is open for driving. You tell that to your grandkid and he would laugh it off. Go and look at it before it vanishes.

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Ghumakkar Monthly Digest – December 2013

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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.

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Ghumakkar Monthly Digest – November 2013

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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.

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Ghumakkar Editorial Monthly Digest – October 2013

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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.

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