I have read most of his posts and they have mostly been about places surrounding my hometown. He is one of those few authors who has contributed articles about South Indian destinations predominantly. His choice of places might look typically touristy, but his style of writing is what differentiates his posts from the others! He is a Software Engineer by profession, a writer by choice and a traveler by passion. He is a family man and an extremely warm and cordial person to talk to.
He hails from Ghaziabad, the city sometimes referred to as the Gateway of UP but dwells down south in the uber crowded city of Bangalore. “I am almost a Bangalorean”, he says since he has lived there for about 6.5 yerars now! Wow, that in deed makes him an “almost Bangalorean” : )
We froze a mid week day 8:30 pm slot for our telephonic conversation. After a tiring day at work, would the person have mood to give an interview? Well, I was really skeptical about it. To add to my apprehensions, the phone rang for longer than expected time. I cut it and redialed again. Now, the network provider shot an automated message “The person you have called has redirected calls to another number. Please hold on as we connect to the other number” and some “melodious” tune followed to keep me happy waiting :) Well, I thought I would try once last time before sending a mail to reschedule the interview. But, there is always light at the end of the dark tunnel! A friendly voice answered the call. What happened next is spread over the table for you readers to enjoy!
Ladies and gentlemen, before we go over to the interview, please put your hands together for our December month’s Featured Author, Upanshu Singhal! Let us together celebrate his featuredness through this post and beyond!
Ghumakkar: Congratulations Upanshu! You are our Featured Author of this month!
Upanshu: Thank you Ghumakkar and team. I am extremely happy for this win : )
Ghumakkar: What was your first reaction when you learnt about this win?
Upanshu: I was thrilled! I immediately shared the news with my wife and kids!
Ghumakkar: Excellent! So, how did they react?
Upanshu: My wife was genuinely happy and the best reaction came from my kids. They first asked me what this meant and when I explained, they asked “Papa, is the Press ( as in media) going to come home for the interview?”. I laughed my heart out!
Ghumakkar: Oh wonderful! If only I knew this, would come home with a big camera and some “reporters”!
Upanshu: Oh sure, why not. You are always welcome, with or without the camera
Ghumakkar: Thank you Upanshu. Since we live in the same city, we surely can meet!
Upanshu: Yes, at least for coffee to start of with!
Ghumakkar: Sure. So, tell us how Ghumakkar happened to you!
Upanshu: I have known Ghumakkar almost since its incubation days. Nandan and I were colleagues then when I got introduced to his travel blog at ‘Blogger’ and I began posting a couple of articles there. He gave it a more meaningful and apt name and rechristened it to “Ghumakkar”! I have continued contributing here too! Well, this is Ghumakkar’s journey and mine, along with it :)
Ghumakkar: Oh this is probably a lesser known fact to many, like me!
Upanshu: yeah? Am glad I shared it with you then.
Ghumakkar: You kind of briefed us about your family. Would you like to tell us more about them?
Upanshu: Yes. Why not. My wife’s name is Dimpi, we are married for more than 13 years. She is also very passionate about travelling but more than that about cooking. She likes to cook and cook lots of food. I have 2 kids, Ujjwal is my son who is 12 years old and Navya is my daughter who is 8 years old. They also love travelling and loves to visit any place be it an amusement park, or religious place or nature. They all love trekking as well.
Ghumakkar: So travel is the family theme? Heehee..
Upanshu: Haha. Yes. We all love to travel, a lot!
Ghumakkar: Since Dimpi is keen on travel too, can we expect her to be our next newbie at Ghumakkar?
Upanshu: That you may have to check with her. She is travel crazy but more crazy about cooking. She , in fact, does a small scale catering business too! So, if her time permits, well, maybe she would write here
Ghumakkar: Oh, that is an excellent thing to do. Compels me to visit your home soon.
Upanshu: Like I told you, you are most welcome!
Ghumakkar: What are your passions Upanshu, other than travel, of course!
Upanshu: It might sound obvious but my other passion is an associated and integral part of travel – Photography. I think they go hand in hand, isn’t it? That apart, I love to visit Jungles and I will try to cover as many as Jungles I can. Watching movies are the next thing and you can sense that reading my older blogs!
Ghumakkar: Interesting. I must say that is quite some variety!
Upanshu: Ha ha.. Thanks!
Ghumakkar:Like many in our community, you owe your introduction to Ghumakkar to Nandan. Tell us about your association with him.
Upanshu: Nandan and I were colleagues in the same company and we have known each other for now about 15 years. We have been friends since then! I later relocated to the US for sometime and then came back to India and moved to Bangalore. But distance has not hampered our equation. We are still in touch and connected! We visit each other when we get a chance and am glad things are only getting better with time between the two families.
Ghumakkar: That is really nice to know.
Upanshu: Indeed! Whenever I go to Ghaziabad, I try and catch up with him. He lives not too far away from there.
Ghumakkar: Excellent! Does your work compel you to travel too?
Upanshu: Not much. But when I have to, it is to US or Canada.
Ghumakkar: Nothing within India?
Upanshu: Yes. Since I am associated with the academics and training unit in my company, I sometimes go to Chennai, Mumbai and other places to give lectures and for campus hiring. While my abroad trips are very business like, these local ones are interactive and entertaining.
Ghumakkar: I see!! Yeah, visit the colleges is always a pleasure. You can breathe light air there, full of life and vibrance. Isn’t it?
Upanshu: Yeah. I totally agree with you on that!
Ghumakkar: From 2011 until September 2013, we saw very few or no posts from you on Ghumakkar. Any reason to stay away?
Upanshu: Yes, a very strong reason. Laziness! Haha.. While I did do a lot of travel then, I somehow could not sit up and write here. I was too lazy, maybe. But then, this year, my wife came to me and said “well, you haven’t been writing much these days, on your blog (http://upanshu.blogspot.com) and on Ghumakkar. Why don’t you start it again?” I guess, her motivation got me back on track!
Ghumakkar: We should thank her for getting you back! Thank you Dimpi :)
Upanshu: Heehee.. would pass it on to her.
Ghumakkar: At Ghumakkar, Who do you derive inspiration from?
Upanshu: I use to write some humor, movie reviews and travel updates on my blog. I would say certainly Nandan for the inspiration for writing more on Ghumakkar. He asked me to write more about my travel during my 5 years of stay in United States.
Ghumakkar: Do you have any personal favorites?
Upanshu: My personal favorites are Nandan, Karthik, Devsmita – she also lived in Seattle and posted about many places which I also visited and made me nostalgic about those places. Everyone on Ghumakkar write beautifully with very beautiful pictures. Recently I have read few posts of Avtar Singh, Ajay Sharma and Mr. Ram Dhall, they all write beautifully with very minute details of everything.
Ghumakkar: Your list has most of my favourites! I guess we have many things in common apart from the city we live and Ghumakkar
Upanshu: Yes.. Looks like!
Ghumakkar: Your posts on our website are mostly about South Indian tourist places. Have you also traveled to places in the North?
Upanshu: I have not travelled much in North. Nainital is one place which I have visited most as my mother’s home Bilaspur was just 85 KMs from Nainital and my brother used to study in Nainital. We used to visit almost every year there and once I went alone for a day trip when I was in Class 9th. Other places I visited in North are Mussorie, Shimla, Ajmer, Dharamshala, Alwar. But in the South, I have traveled to many places like Rameshwaram, Madurai, Alleppy, Coachin, Hyderabad, Munnar, Thekkady, Kanyakumari, Yercaud, few jungles like Bandipur, Nagarhole, Massinagudi etc.
Ghumakkar: And your next destination planned?
Upanshu: To be frank, I can travel to any place anywhere, because I love to travel. But specifically if you ask me, I would say to Hampi or to Mangalore. I have a cousin who lives in Mangalore, so might as well go there.
Ghumakkar: I have been to Hampi and to Mangalore. They are both very different and very interesting places to visit. And if it is with family, then you have loads of things to do in Mangalore. I love that place!
Upanshu: Oh is it? Then, I must go there!
Ghumakkar: You have had a very long journey with Ghumakkar. How do you think Ghumakkar has evolved?
Upanshu: It has grown up like anything, we were very few authors initially. And, WordPress used to allow only English, for pictures you have to share the link etc. Now Ghumakkar team has worked very hard on it to make it very user friendly for the authors. You can find your posts on Google while you are searching some destination. People reach you out for suggestions on the places you have visited.
Ghumakkar: Yes. Many authors have opined the same. Either they stumble upon Ghumakkar through search engine result or they are delighted to find themselves listed against Ghumakkar in a search!
Upanshu: That is correct. Ghumakkar is definitely growing!
Ghumakkar: Last question to you before we wind up. Do you have any message to our enthusiastic readers?
Upanshu: Keep Travelling and keep updating your experience. For all who drive, for safe driving, do not allow kids to sit in the front of your car and use car seats if possible for the smaller kids.
Ghumakkar: Thank you Upanshu. That is definitely a wise message for all our readers.
Upanshu: I am happy I could share my thoughts and experience here. Thank you for providing me this opportunity.
Well, that was our dear author Upanshu, for you all. The two of us did have a wonderful time conversing about the many things in common between us. It was indeed a pleasant experience talking to a man, so composed, so relaxed and so friendly even at the end of a tiring work day! Well, I hope to converse with him again when both time and leisure are with us. Good luck to you Upanshu for a bright and wonderful future. We hope nothing comes in your way in your journey at Ghumakkar and that one day, Dimpi also gets some time off for writing for us.
Until next time, I bid adieu to all my dear readers, and shall promise to be back soon with many more interesting people across the interview table in the coming months!