Rendezvous with our dear Ram Dhall – Ghumakkar Featured Author Interview, November ’13

I had a difficult assignment this time. Whenever I sat to prepare myself for it , I would start biting my nails , think about how to strike a conversation with a man who is senior to me by a generation and who has experience more than my age! But from my little understanding about this author, I was sure that his simplicity was just inimitable and that talking to him would be an experience in itself!

I began my first leg of the interview process by writing to him. His replies were straight forward and had absolutely no airs! It put me instantaneously at ease and then I made the next move and got a convenient slot for a telephonic conversation. I made little preparations here and there amidst my busy schedule. The curiosity to know him simply got mounted on my mind by each minute. Finally, the day had come and the call was just a few minutes away. I felt unusually nervous. I kept my cool and made up my mind to talk to him like how I usually talk to my dad. There my fear ended and I made the call.

My call was received by a mature and responsible voice. His humbleness was shown in his very first greeting and then we began an elaborate talk! As we spoke, my apprehensions and prejudices just faded without my knowledge and the conversation got smoother and more involving. I started off as an eager listener and his knack of putting me at ease helped me strike a great conversation. It was about everything under the sun. From family to friends, from leisure to work, from the north till the south – just everything you can think of!
Dear friends, it gives me great joy to present to you my conversation with Ram, whom with great respect and reverence, I would like to address as Sir. Sir, I hope that you enjoyed the conversation as much as I did. And for you, my dear readers, here is a summary of our very detailed talk!

Ghumakkar: Congratulations Sir. You are our Featured Author of this Month.
Ram: Thank you and your team for choosing me. I am really humbled by this title.

Ghumakkar: We all want to know, how did you stumble upon Ghumakkar?
Ram: All thanks to Nandan. Immediately after Ghumakkar was started, Nandan mentioned about one of the posts on Shekhawati by Manish Khamesra and another brilliant post on Tawang by Backpakker (Lakshmi). The site impressed me immensely and I immediately subscribed to it. Thereafter I was almost hooked to the site.

Ram and Nandan on Saat Taal Lake

Ram and Nandan on Saat Taal Lake



Ghumakkar: Well, it is overwhelming for us to have you on board! You are one of the few senior writers we have and we feel proud to have you with us!
Ram: Thanks. I feel elated to be a part of this family.

Ghumakkar: You are a motivated person by nature we all know. But am just curious to know, what motivated you to write your first post here?
Ram: The participation of some highly talented authors and encouragement by Nandan motivated me to write my first post on Switzerland. Fortunately, it was well received and encouraged by the fellow writers on the site, I submitted a few more posts.

Ghumakkar: I remember reading your first post on one of those early days of my association with Ghumakkar. I had loved it then and I love it even to this day. It happened during your visit to meet your daughter isn’t it?
Ram: Yes. Our daughter, Shaguna, who was doing a project along with three of her colleagues at Geneva, called my wife and asked if it would be convenient for her and me to visit Switzerland for a couple of weeks. We were eager to see our daughter more than a visit to Europe. The trip however was a brilliant and memorable one. No regrets :)

Ghumakkar: As part of ‘Featured Author Celebration’, we re-posted your Swiss post early this week
Ram: I saw that. Thank you very much!

Ghumakkar:It is our pleasure!

Ghumakkar: Would you like to tell us more about yourself and your family?
Ram: I am from a conservative Punju family. My father, grandfather and uncle were timber merchants. I grew up under the shadow of my elder brother, Prof. G D Dhall, a mathematician (whose name is familiar to the high school and higher secondary students, as the mathematics books prescribed by NCERT were authored by him). Brilliant as he was, he became an academician and I landed in the lap of a foreign Bank. My wife retired as a teacher while I am a retired banker.
I have two daughters who are married and well settled. Well, that is about my dear ones.

Dhall Family. From Left to Right : Rajni Dhall, my younger brother Rajeev's wife. Myself My wife, Madhu My younger brother, Rajeev Saroj Dhall, my elder brother's wife Prof G D Dhall, my elder brother

Dhall Family.
From Left to Right : Rajni Dhall, my younger brother Rajeev’s wife.
Myself
My wife, Madhu
My younger brother, Rajeev
Saroj Dhall, my elder brother’s wife
Prof G D Dhall, my elder brother

Ram Papa's Passport Photo from his youth

From my younger days

Ram with Smita and Shaguna in Zoo

Ram with Smita and Shaguna in Zoo

With my younger brother and family in Kumaon

With my younger brother and family in Kumaon

With Family on a trip to NorthEast in 2013

With Family on a trip to NorthEast in 2013

With family at Mukteshwar

With family at Mukteshwar


Ghumakkar: Thank you for introducing them to us. It is a delight to know them. Are they your travel companions mostly?
Ram: Well, we do travel together as a family atleast once or twice a year. But my usual company is my wife. I travel with her. While she is the front wheel of our two wheeler, I am the rear one :)
Ram and Madhu in Saat Taal Camp

Ram and Madhu in Saat Taal Camp

At Bank Guest House in Nainital

At Bank Guest House in Nainital

With Grand Daughter Pihu

With Grand Daughter Pihu


Ghumakkar: That makes the journey a balanced and comfortable one, for sure!
Ram: Yes. I admire her for everything she has done. Be it raising kids or managing a large family. She has done a great job!

Ghumakkar: I am happy to see a happy family and only wish all husbands got as generous as you while complimenting their wives : )
Ram: Ha ha.. Yes. It works well only when you shower all compliments on the lady! Just joking :)

Ghumakkar: Sir, I see from your posts that your choice of places has mostly been to historic and classy places. Is that your choice or do you also travel to other kinds of places?
Ram: Well, initially, travel with family was mostly to religious places like Amritsar or Vaishno Devi. Also, due to limited infrastructure which supported travel in those days, we mostly went to nearby and historical places. But you can also see, I love to travel to a variety of places.

Ghumakkar: Yes. We see that. The places and the posts are all very classy!
Ram: Oh thank you so much for the appreciation!

Ghumakkar: Sir, you said you were a banker. Which bank were you associated with and how was your job like?
Ram: Yes. I was associated with the Standard Chartered Bank. I was in the credit and marketing division. Post my job in Standard Chartered, I worked for NCR( of ATM machine fame) and then retired to have a peaceful life with family :)

My job was engaging and interesting. It gave me sufficient chance to travel to places on the pretext of meeting clients. It took me to a lot of unseen places. Some of my posts are of those times!

Ghumakkar: I am sure you loved your job which gave you ample opportunities to fulfill your passion for travel!
Ram: Yes, I loved it and I have no qualms about it.

Ghumakkar: Talking about your passions, from your Ghumakkar profile, we learnt that you are an avid book lover and an admirer of Indian and Western classical music. Please tell us more on this.
Ram: As mentioned in my post on Sunday Book Bazaar, I was introduced to the world of letters by my elder brother when I was very young. He was a topper in his school and used to get a lot of books as “prize”. He shared those books with me and inculcated love for reading. Music was always there in the family. My mother, aunt and my brother – all sang on family functions. Something rubbed into me too and I started sharing the stage from my school days.

Ghumakkar: Any anecdotes to share while you remember the past and about your passions?
Ram: There are many of them but the one I share with you here will perhaps remain in my memory always.
The sitar maestro, Pandit Ravi Shanker ji used to come to India on his annual visit. He had many disciples including Pandit Satya Dev Pawar (violonist) and Pandit Gopal Krishan ji (vichitra veena vadak) and he used to sit with them and spend an evening in the “Guru- Shishya Parmpara”.

On a chilly evening in December 1975, my brother told me that his close friend Dr. Verma (who was a disciple of Pandit Gopal Krishan ji) was going with Pandit ji to meet the Maestro and had agreed to take the two of us along. The meeting was to take place at the residence of Dr. Bharat Ram (Of DCM)’s residence at Malcha Marg.
It was a private gathrering of around 25 persons. Guru ji (Pandit Ravi Shanker, as he was called) heard the disciples for a couple of hours. Even Birju Maharaj the greatest Kathak exponent was there and sang two difficult ” bandish”. There was a small break after which Guruji asked Birju Maharaj to accompany him on Tabla (this was a big surprise to me as Maharaj ji was a Kathak dancer). They started at around 11 in the night and the two masters played continuosly till 4.00 a. m. in the morning.
That evening will always remain etched in my memory.

Ghumakkar: Brilliant! I consider you blessed to have had the opportunity to share the evening with the Maestro!
Ram: Well, I think of it that way too and hence that evening is etched on my mind!

Ghumakkar: You are retired now. What keeps you busy now-a-days?
Ram: I love reading books. I read as much as I can in my free time. Apart from that, the daily chores, visiting my daughters who live nearby and some involvement with an NGO by name Lodge Elysium Masonic Charitable keeps me busy.

Ghumakkar: Tell us more about the NGO activities, Sir.
Ram: It is a charitable trust which involves in a lot of infrastructure providing activities to the poor people in the villages. In the past we have worked towards getting electricity supply for a village near Sariska, we have built toilets for another village and also a school near Bikaner which caters to the underprivileged children of that village.
This school has a strength of 250 students. It imparts education to students upto high school (class X).

Ghumakkar: Who supports this NGO and where does the funding come from? Am just curious since the tasks they have taken up definitely needs a funding source!
Ram: Yes. You are right. We need funding.This NGO is supported by many well known faces like Kapil Dev ( the world famous cricketer) and the like. Most of the funding of the trust came from the Golf Tournaments held. Indian Oil, Cinergy, Suzlon and few other large corporates also support us. Individual contributions from Freemasons also help the running of the trust. Mr. Venkat Sundram, Chairman is a well connected person.
Overall, the joy I get from doing this towards our society is something that exhilarates me.

Solar panels on hut tops

The village children


Ghumakkar: It is a very noble thought. I hope we have many more people who involve in such activities and make this society a better place to live!
Ram: That is exactly my thought too. I hope that through organizations like these and many others, we are able to contribute towards our society and help the needy. We have to spread awareness and get more people to join hands with us. That is all.

Ghumakkar: Very true. I am sure that the awareness will begin to spread right from this article :)
Ram: It should and sure it will. Ghumakkar is a fantastic forum for exchanging our thoughts.

Ghumakkar: Sir, you published your first story on Ghumakkar in 2008. How do you think Ghumakkar has changed since then?
Ram: “Ghumakkar” is a lovable site and has slowly changed a lot over the years. I have seen a gradual change in its travel writing format and content with some new features included. Some of the Hindi writing authors have contributed immensely too. I see a wide variety of authors. It is really exciting to read their posts here.

Ghumakkar: Yes. We have a great spectrum. However, we have a few senior authors onboard and mostly youngsters. Do you see a difference in their writing style and in their choice of places?
Ram: The difference in style of writing of the senior and young writers will always be there. I think persons like me, Sushant, D L Narayan and Silentsoul (pardon me if you don’t agree with me), who are conservative by nature and training would not find it easy to change their styles largely. However, some of the young writers like Nirdesh Singh, Vishal Rathod, Devsmita, Mahesh Semwal are simply brilliant. Anybody would love their styles of writing..

Ghumakkar: As a featured author and a senior Ghumakkar, what would you like to say to your fellow Ghumakkars?
Ram: In simple words, all I have to tell them is “Keep travelling, keep exploring and keep sharing your experiences”.

Ghumakkar: That sums up the motto of Ghumakkar in entirety! I must say that was a meaningful one-liner :)
Ram: Heeheeh.. Thank you for the compliments.

Ghumakkar: We at Ghumakkar always want to know from our authors and readers about what they think and feel about us. On similar lines, am curious to know ,how you envision Ghumakkar 5 years down the line?
Ram: I see Ghumakkar as a self-sufficient Travel Website with information catering to almost every traveler. Eventually, I would like to see Ghumakkar coming up with a Travel book of its own which can be a guide sort of thing. It might sound too much to expect but am sure it can reach there with our talented writers and able Editorial team. No kidding!

Ghumakkar: Oh wow. That is a great expectation. But we promise to work towards that. We are infact working towards coming up with Ghumakkar guide articles on various popular destinations. We shall soon bring out one of those posts live!
Ram: Excellent! My best wishes for you and your team for that project!

Ghumakkar: One last question. Where do you plan to travel in your next trip?
Ram: Down South. I have been there though but my wife is very keen to visit some of the religious places of the South. Like Rameshwaram, Tirupati and the like. We are planning it. Will surely post an article about how the trip was!

Ghumakkar: We wish you a great trip and yes, we look forward to more of your posts!

Thank you Sir for your time and for the fabulous interview. I really look forward to more such talks with you.

Well friends, that was a gist of my conversation with our senior and versatile author Ram. I am sure many of you know him personally by now because he is one of those committed authors who always makes time to leave a comment on most of the posts on our website. If you dont know him, I hope I helped you know a little about him.

Let us together congratulate this brilliant author and hope that many of us join his league in proficiency and expertise.

We will be back with another exciting interview of our next month’s Featured author.
Until then..

Adios!

47 Comments

  • Surinder Sharma says:

    Congratulations Mr. Ram Dhall Featured Author of this Month. Will wait for your next post.

    Regards

  • Congratulations ‘Sir’ for Featured Author of Month. It’s good to know your other side of life apart from Ghumakkari.

    Congratulations to Archana as well for this this brilliant and ‘difficult’ interview. You have cleared this assignment with A+.

  • Avtar Singh says:

    Congratulations Mr Ram for being the featured author of the month and Archna for doing the most difficult job with so ease.
    Its always feel great to know something more and personal about the life of good writers, so on this account, this interview is entirely satisfactory. Thanks to both of you.

  • Dear Ram Sir,

    Congratulation! You are not only a great writer but a great motivator also.

    You are Inspiration for Young Writers.

  • Dear Mr. Dhall and Archana,

    Today, thanks to Muharram and therefore a bank holiday, I fulfilled my desire to visit ghumakkar and also thoroughly enjoyed the great conversation between the two of you. I have enjoyed various posts of Mr. Dhall, specially Sunday Book Bazar and am already a fan of him. It is humbling and delightful to find my name appearing in the conversation.

    The mention of D.L. Narayan has again made me quite uncomfortable. Has anyone heard anything from him during the past 6-8 months? He is not even responding to the emails which is extremely unlike him. Where is he? :(

    Sushant Singhal

  • Sanjay Gupta says:

    Ram Sir ,

    Congratulations for being the Featured Author of this Month. Have known you for so many years , but this interview has opened and brought fore many more facets of an enigmatic and wonderful person like you . Its has always been a privilege and pleasure knowing you .

    Warm Regards

    • Ram Dhall says:

      Dear Sanjay ji,

      Good to hear from you.

      Needless to say that you are always on our mind. I keep on getting news about you from Vinod.

      Let’s meet some day.

      May God be with you and the family.

  • Sudip says:

    Congratulations Sir!
    Great reading about you!
    Regards,

  • Smita says:

    Superb interview, Archana! Congratulations for a brilliant piece!

    Good to know more about you, Dhall sa’ab! :)

  • Nisha says:

    Congratulations for this wonderful interview.

    Its good to know the other side of life of a senior author like Mr Ram Dhall. You inspire the young generation a lot. :)

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Congratulations Ram for being the ‘Featured Author’, It is an honour for Ghumakkar and all of us.

    Thank you Archana for the brilliant interview, very elegantly told and beautifully captured varied aspects of Ram. Wishes.

  • Ritesh Gupta says:

    Congratulation to Shri Ram Dhall for being featured Author.

    Thanks for nice Interview….

    Thanks

  • Naturebuff says:

    Hi Archana,

    A beautifully done interview giving an insight into the life of the extremely gifted writer and traveler Mr Dhall. Your editorials are really interesting reading. Thank you!

    @ Mr Dhall, Congratulations on being the featured author for this month and inspiring a whole lot of fellow Ghumakkars to undertake more such compelling and exhilarating journeys…

  • venkatt says:

    Congrats, Ram sir, for being the featured author of the month.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    My grateful thanks to each one of you for the very kind and generous words.

    I would also like to express my gratitude to Archana and the editorial team for choosing me the featured author. I am humbled by this kind gesture.

    Thanks Nandan for fishing out some of the rare pictures.

    May God bless you all and be with you and your families, always.

  • Stone says:

    Pleasure to know more about you sir and thanks for all wonderful posts and insightful comments here.

    @Archana – To be honest at first I thought Nandan is the interviewer but realized later he is not :-) . Nevertheless, a great interview, thank you.

    Regards

  • Rakesh Bawa says:

    Ram ji Namaskar. I thoroughly enjoyed the chitchat of a great blogger with Archana ji. Carry on the spirit of helping humanity.

  • Nirdesh Singh says:

    Hi Archana,

    Good job with the interview! We finally got to know the Awesome Ram Sir.

    Ram Sir Congratulations on being the Featured Author. Your presence here on Ghumakkar is much appreciated.

    Please resume your Mystic Alleys of Delhi series it is much loved by people like us who want to discover more of our city.

    And thanks for calling a middle aged guy ‘young’!

    We all hope DL is well.

    • Ram Dhall says:

      Thanks Nirdesh for your kind and touching words.

      I think, being young is only a state of mind. In my personal view, one is either young or old and there is nothing like middle age. One could be young at 70 and the other an old even in the thirties. It all depends on one’s perspective.

      Incidentally, I would like to give a standing ovation to the energy you generate by your powerful and creative writings and your crisp and vivid comments.

      May God bless you and your family.

    • Nirdesh,

      Being young is a state of mind :) So age has little effect on youth.. heehee..
      Thank you for liking the interview.

      Cheers.

  • Ram Sir ,
    Congratulations for being the Featured Author of this Month. Thoroughly enjoyed the conversation with great blogger.
    Thanks Archana ji for this wonderful interview.

  • Gyana Geetha says:

    Dear Ram Uncle,

    It was a pleasure to read your interview as much as it is to read your posts. I am truly blessed to know you and to have met you in person.

    Gyana Geetha

  • SilentSoul says:

    Good to know about a senior writer here. congrats Ram Dhall ji

  • Subhash Gupta says:

    Dear Ram Bhai,

    Now I know more about you in spite of our four decades of association. Thank you Archana for knowing me of my brother a lot more. Excellent interview.

  • @ Archna: ????? ????? ?????? ?? ?? ???????? ?? ??? ?? ???? ?? ???? ??? ???? ?? ???? ?? ????????? ???? ?????? ???????? ??? ?? ??????: ??.?? ?? ?? ??????????? ??? ????????? ??? ??. ?????? ?? ???? ?? ??? ??????????? ?? ???? ????? ???? ?? ??. ?? ?? ?? ???? ??? ???? ?? ?????????? ?????????? ?? ?? ??? ?? ?????? ????? ??, ??? ??? ???? ?? ????? ???.

    @ Dr. Ram Dhall ???? ?????? ??.??? ?? ???? ?? ???? ????? ???? ???? ??? ???? ??????????? ?? ???? ?????? ????, ??? ????????. ?? ???? ???? ????????? ???? ????????? ???? ????? ???? ?? ??? ?? ????? ??.???????? ?? ???? ???? ????? ???? ???? ?? ????? ??, ??? ?? ?????? ?? ????????,????? ????? ?? ???, ??????? ?? ????? ?? ????? ??? ?????? ?? ??????????? ???? ?? ???? ??? ????????,??? ??? ??? ?? ???? ??????? ??,????? ??? ?? ?????? ?????? ??,???????, ???? ????? ???? ?? ?????? ???????? ???? ?? ???, ????? ?? ??? ???? ??. ???????? ?? ?? ?? ???? ?? ???????? ???? ?? ??? ???????? ??. ???? ?? ??? ??? ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?? ??? ???????.

  • abheeruchi says:

    Congratulations Sir.It was really nice to know about you.Thanks Archana for such a nice i nterview.
    Regards,
    Abhee

  • AJAY SHARMA says:

    Respected Ram Sir,
    A very very hearty congratulations for the honored felicitation. It was so nice to know a man with stature with so much humility. I am a follower of the site since long but lately happened to share a few posts here & just feel honored to join the family. Wish you a brilliant life ahead and hope to read a lot from you and learn more.

    @ Archana kudos….. great job, impressed with the kind of vocabulary used. So nice of you. Congratulations buddy.

    Regards

    Ajay

    • Ram Dhall says:

      Dear Ajay,

      Dawn is breaking, amidst thinning smog. I can hear the sweet chirping of birds, though very few are left in this concrete jungle. What could be a better way of starting the day than seeing your very touching words.

      Please remain in touch.

      God’s blessings.

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