Interview

Rock climbing - Dr Taher loves adventure but his family doesn't like to rough it up too much

Ghumakkar Featured Author Interview with Doctor Taher

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When Nandan informed me that this month’s Featured Author is none other than Dr Taher Kagalwala, I was delighted, because not only is Dr Taher a gifted writer, but is also an extremely inspiring human being, both as a person as well as a professional. I have had the privilege of knowing him for several years now. I “met” him on a writing website, where he was leading “Team India” in a competition. The team did pretty well in the competition, and he came across as an able, thoughtful, and fair leader, settling arguments and misunderstandings, and at times taking hard calls wherever required. I took a break from the writing website, but we stayed in touch through emails and messages.

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Ghumakkar Featured Author Interview with sweet and prudent Reema

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There are so many good and bad memories linked to all these places. In Puri, I tasted one of the best cooking of all the hotels/restaurants I have ever visited! Araku Valley was the first mountainous road I travelled and suffered a lot due to motion sickness. But recently I visited North East India and had no trouble whatsoever! The MTDC resort in Mahabaleshwar is one of the best places I have stayed in. When we were going to Digha, we missed our train even after running like crazy through Howrah station. ☺ We had to catch the next one. There are no words to describe Goa..it’s simply incredible! In Cherapunjee I explored the inside passages and chambers of an ancient cave (Mawsmai Cave) where at some places I had to sit down and cross the gap between the formations. It was something I never thought I would be brave enough to do! I even had the chance to see the Bangladesh border in that area! In Guwahati, I had a bad fall at the Kamakhya temple and my arm got cut badly by my broken bangle. The Nilgiris Mountain Railway ride between Ooty and Coonoor, winding through the tea gardens and hills is a must have experience for any traveler. Similarly the boat ride through the backwaters of Kerala at Poovar proves the tagline of Kerala tourism – God’s own country. Last but not the least, watching the sunrise with the Swami Vivekanand Memorial in foreground and conch shell sounds emanating from the temple at India’s southernmost point is one of the most breathtaking experiences!

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Featured Author Interview with happy and earthy Naresh Sehgal

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Ghumakkar: So who else is there in the family? Tell us about your formative years. Was early education in Nanhera?
Naresh: We are three brothers and I am youngest of them. I got my primary education along with my brothers in village Govt. school. As the school in village was up to fifth only, I took admission for sixth class in Banarsi Das High School Ambala Cantt.

Ghumakkar: I have a feeling that you were very sincere in your studies and must have done well. Right?
Naresh: Yes, ha ha. I was good in studies and till fifth class I was topper of the class.

Ghumakkar: So all three brothers were going to same school? Any memories you would want to share?
Naresh: Yes, mostly. Actually after class V, we moved to a new school and it was not close-by. My eldest brother used to walk up to the school which was 4-5 kilometers away from our home. This went for two years. Then my father bought second cycle (other than my father’s) for my brother. When I took admission in that school in sixth then my elder brothers were in 7th and 9th. We had only one cycle to go school and out parents did not allow my eldest brother to carry both of us so one of us used to walk. I used to walk in the morning and my brother in the afternoon. This may sound very harsh but we were always up for any kind of hard work.

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Ghumakkar Interview : In an insightful chat with Rakesh Bawa

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Ghumakkar: Yes, Spic Macay was very active in ‘University of Delhi’ as well. Infact for one of the ‘North Zone Fests’, back in 1994, a large contingent from DU was in Chandigarh . I was part of the theatre group from Kirori Mal College. I was pretty impressed with the overall infrastructure. So did this continue post college ?
Rakesh : Yes. When I joined H.P. university Shimla, I simply auditioned for the plays to be held during annual function and student organisations functions and did 7-8 plays there during that stint, not more. But I was more a part of their Quiz team and Debate team which I used to enjoy more as i was a good quiz master to be sure, if not perfect and was highly influenced by Siddhart Basu,s programme Quiz Time. During University days I once interacted with Vijay Kashyap jI, theater personality and local theater artists . I remember one name, Deven. Nothing specific or any juicy titbit about those days except for long rehearsals and endless cups of tea in dhabas.  A great influence on me , those days was of Prof. A.R. Khan, who is no more. He was an eminent historian though I was not his student as he taught medieval India whereas I was student of modern India. Simla is famous for Indian institute of Advanced studies and myself and him used to go strolling there from campus discussing intricacies of History.

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Ghumakkar Featured Author Interview with sweet and candid Abhee

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Ghum: That was indeed a short one but I think the spurts of travel, this urge to get out, that travel-rush is probably Ghumakkari. Any other travel during this time, you would want to share.
Abhee: If I wanted to mention any worth Ghumakkar trip, then it was at Aurangabad. When morning 0600 we started with a plan to go Ghrishneshwar Jyotirling, which further got extended, and we went to Daulatabad also on the same day. It was like most enjoyable and memorable trip.

Ghum: My guess is that because you lived at so many places, quite far from each other, you would have visited many more cities? Correct?
Abhee: Oh, that’s a good question. It’s a long list, but I must say. I started from Katni (MP), then Lakheri (Rajasthan, near Kota), then Mumbai, then Konkan, Nagpur, Aurangabad, then Kolkata, Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai, Indore and now Canada. Living at so many places has given me vast opportunity to explore places. So if I want to list out places I had visited it would be Katni, Maihar, Bandhakpur, Jabalpur, Kymore, Ujjain, Dewas, Indore, Udaipur, Eklingji, Nathdwara, Kankroli, Neemach, Jahazpur , Bundi, Kota, Lakheri, Indergadh, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Daulatabad, Ghrishneshwar, Mahismal , Jalgaon, Burhanpur, Ajanta, Ellora, Fatehpur (Maharashtra), Pen, Paali, Alibaug, Murud Janjira, Khopoli , Lonavala, Pune, Khandala, Mayapur, Khadakpur, Mysore, Srirangapatnam, Tirupati, Hyderabad, Bhadrachalam, Munnar, Cochin, Rameswaram , Vrindavan, Mathura, Agra, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Manali , Kullu , Manikaran, Mussorie, Dehradun, Nainital, Mukteshwar , Puri, Bhubaneshwar , Amritsar, Jalandhar, Vaishno Devi (Katra),Rameswaram,Pondicheri,Mahabalipuram,Omkareshwar,Maheshwar etc.

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Ghumakkar Featured Author Interview – With hearty Amitava

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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.

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