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, Oktober 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.
Back at the editorial desk of Ghumakkar, gives me a great delight to share with you our new Authors. Welcome aboard Sumit, Arun and Rohan.
A few words about our newbies from their profile pages.
Sumit kalawat, M 26, Engineer by profession & a traveler by passion. Love to trek or bike to unexplored places and try new cuisines.
Sumit wrote about his wonderful drive to Digha, a weekend destination from Kolkata. We never heard back from him so our best guess is that he on some long ride. We look forward to hear about you and your new experiences.
Arun,By profession I am a Clerk in Govt. Sector. I have not seen many places, but after connecting with Ghumakkar, I hope I will explore the famous Indian regions and also the other tourist places. in fact, Ghumakkar has added one more hobby in my resume that is Travel & Enjoy.
Arun went to the holy city of Vrindavan, 3 hour away from Delhi, on the swanky new Yamuna Expressway.
Rohan,Travel enthusiast though do not get chances to travel much due to studies but had travelled a lot of places. Prefer travelling to mountains and love peace. With a very big appetite I love eating too.
Rohan took ever, almost feeling like ‘Waiting for Godot’, to reach Ooty, a weekend destination for Bangalore.
Welcome again Rohan, Arun and Sumit. I hope you guys are enjoying your time here.
So apart from Digha, Vrindavan and Ooty, where else did we travel during October. We began the month with a long drive to Amarnath and didn’t stay there long and quickly headed to Leh and didn’t stop there as well and came all the way back to Delhi. While Ajay’s brilliant log on his real long drive in his Maruti Swift kept us hooked, Naresh Sehgal took us via trains and buses to Omkareshwar, Ujjain and other religious place. We cooked chicken, right amid the hills, on the roadside in Chail, with Rakesh , only to discover a far away city , Puerto Rico, pictures of which look unbelievable and I still feel that it is DC’s (Clap Clap, our outgoing featured Author of the month) revenge for publishing all the secrets she told us. If you haven’t had a chance to read her interview, then here is an excerpt.
Ghum: That is wonderful. Apart from this, I have also seen your Facebook Page on your Project – Knowing Nebraska. Tell us about that.
DC: Yes. With pleasure :)
I knew nothing about Nebraska when I moved here. Knowing Nebraska involves visiting places in Nebraska, taking pictures, and compiling them into a collection, supported by short stories or descriptions around them. I am simultaneously building a journal of my experience and learning doing this project. This is my effort to showcase where I live thorough my lens.
Ghum: This is really a great one. I have been seeing the updates on this page often!
DC: Oh thanks.. That is really nice of you :)
Ghum: You have been with Ghumakkar for about 3 years now. And in your perspective, we would like to know how Ghumakkar has changed over time.
DC: Yes. Ghumakkar has changed has evolved as a travel writing forum, with many new features introduced in the past to make the writers feel more included. I love reading the editorials, featured authors, and featured stories. The interviews give more insight about a person. Overall, Ghumakkar is a very interactive community, and your Facebook page has an impressive number of supporters as well.
And you are interested in reading more, then do read it here after you finish reading this digest.
Moving on, Avtar Singh almost blowed our minds off with his spiritual and philosophical take on his travel to Pushkar. The story got a lot of attention (hint hint) from all quarters. Pradeep and his friends are everywhere in October (Agra, Udaipur, Mehandiour Balaji, Masoori), Nirdesh got lost in Chanderi, Mukesh is determined to cover all 12 Jyotirlings and finally Rakesh takes us to Gandhi’s place, Sabarmati. It is all a big cycle. If you have not read some of them and I would suggest that you should start with Nirdesh’s Chanderi, Ajay’s Drive Drive, DC’s Puerto Rico.
Hopefully the summary above gives you a good peek on what happened at Ghumakar last month. But what else is happening else where. Recently I learn about this Scottish festival called T in the park. “T in the Park’ is an annual festival featuring some of the best music talent in the country and abroad for ‘T in the Park Tickets‘ one can buy online. The T is for Tennents, the main sponsor. And here is the link for planning your travel, T in the Park Tickets .
Time to talk about this month’s ‘Featured Story’ and it is none other than ‘Pushkar – Kabira Man Nirmal Bhaya’ (पुष्कर की यात्रा : कबीरा मन निरमल भया….) penned by Avtar Singh with a lot of soul all around. This is not a regular travel log so read with an open mind and I am sure you are gonna come back wiser (with or without an extra year). Congratulations Avtar, very well deserved.
Here’s a short excerpt from the story
मथुरा के बाद ये दूसरा शहर है, जिसमे घूमने का एक अलग ही मज़ा है, हिंदुस्तान के सारे रंग, अपने सदाबहार भिखारियों और मदारियों से लेकर, औघड़ सन्यासियों तक, सब इस सरोवर के अलग-अलग घाटों पर आप पा जायेंगे, कहीं कोई टोकरी में साँप रखे घूम रहा है, कहीं कोई सर पर बड़ा सा थाल सजाये, और उसमे बेहद करीने और नफ़ासत से मिट्टी के छोटे-छोटे कुल्हड़ लगाये, चलता फिरता चाय वाला मिल जायेगा, तो कहीं, केवल अपनी गर्दन भर हिला कर, हामी भर देने भर से, आपकी सभी लौकिक और परालौकिक इच्छाएं पूरी कर देने वाली गाय माता, कोई ऐसा पुरोहित, जो केवल आपके ललाट पर तिलक ही लगाने भर से अर्जित अपनी आजीविका में पूर्ण आनंद कमा लेता है, तो पास ही बैठा कोई सन्यासी आपकी पूरी जन्मपत्री ही मिनटों में बना कर बाँच भी देगा | जीवन और मोक्ष के वो सिद्दांत, मौत के वो रहस्य, जिसे नचिकेता ने, पिता की आज्ञा समझ अपने जीवन त्याग को ही तत्पर हो, स्वयं यम से सीखा, आप उसे यूँ ही राह किनारे खड़े किसी सन्यासी से दस मिनट की चर्चा से जान सकते हो ! किसी पिनक में कोई साधू घूमता बीच सडक पर पकड़ लेता है आपको, और फिर जो आप पर उसके ज्ञान की घटा घनघोर वर्षा होती है कि आप तपते सूरज की तपिश में भी यूँ भीग जाते हो जैसे सावन की झड़ी से सामना हुआ हो | क्या बात है भाई ! आप क्या सोचते हैं, ऐसे थोड़े ही इतने अँगरेज़ पुष्कर में डेरा डाले बैठे रहते हैं, ये बाबा लोग, उनके आश्रम, और फिर ऊपर से चिलम का सुट्टा !
So, I told you all about travel stories but let me share a bit about a change we did in the backend. As you know that at Ghumakkar, each story can be independently opened via a link. If you remember, this link was following a structure. We have made some tweaks to this structure. We hope that this tweak would help us to re-publish old stories with out any link-breaks. Also now the link doesn’t give away the age of the story and which is sort of helpful since not a lot changes about a place in a matter of few years. While the advantages were favouring the move, we did lost the social-share counters since now there is a new URL. But this link change has not resulted in any traffic loss because we are now redirecting the older links to the current path. It would take a while for ‘Google Search’ to flush old links and index new ones but that would happen soon. This should help us to re-publish your old stories and hopefully you would re-live that holiday one more time.
Finally, it is time to share our ‘Featured Author for November 2013’. This time, we have someone who has been associated with Ghumakkar for a long time. He wrote this first story in Jan, 2008 and have been cheering us via his valuable comments as well as research laden stories. Please join me in congratulating Ram Dhall for Ghumakkar Featured Author for November 2013. We look forward to know more about him via the interview and we would also be re-publishing his first story as well a story of his choice in November.
And before I sign-off, I promise that I would write better digests over time. Welcome abroad Rohan, Arun and Sumit. Congratulations Avtar and Ram and remember Travel, Tolerance and Peace, all go together. Amen.