Ghumakkar Featured Interview with dynamic and generous Avtar Singh – May 2014

This is a fast-changing world, and this month’s featured author proved it for me beyond any doubts. I was away from Ghumakkar for one year, and within this one year (give or take a few months), this dynamic individual joined Ghumakkar and wrote enough stories to lead the Ghumakkar jury to crown him the Featured Author for the month of May 2014. It is hard to believe that Avtar Singh joined Ghumakkar in July 2013, and that it has only been 10 months since he wrote his first story here. And now 12 stories later, it feels as if he has always been a part of the Ghumakkar family. His large-heartedness and generosity has made him popular with our writers and his poetic prose has won many-a-hearts, earning him a long list of loyal readers at Ghumakkar.

Invites compliments at Optus Sarovar in Gurgaon

Jatinder, Avtar, and Ravi at Optus Sarovar in Gurgaon

For me this interview in particular was a surreal one, with his answers often transporting me into historical times that neither of us have witnessed but nevertheless have heard much about. During this interview I learned that back in time, when the world was much larger compared to the cyber-world today, both our grandparents, Avtar’s and mine, were going through the same struggle, fighting against the same blood-thirsty forces, and making the same journeys across the gash that had been cruelly carved through our nation, splattering it with the blood of millions of innocent people. But life has come a long way since then, and perhaps inheriting the trait from his forefathers, Avtar is perseverant and is above and beyond being restricted by his profession. While speaking to him, I learnt an important lesson. If something doesn’t fall in line with the life you want to live, try your best to mold it as per your choice – just like he has done with his profession. And you don’t need to fear anything, if you try hard enough, things will simply start falling into place.

There was this and many other lessons hidden in the engaging conversation I had with him. Read on to discover them for yourself…

Ghumakkar: Good Morning, Mr. Singh. Are you comfortable talking now?
Avtar: Yes! That is why I requested you for this time. (laughs)

Ghumakkar: Of course! By the way, many congratulations on being crowned the Featured Author for the month of May 2014. More so because you have earned this title in so less a time!
Avtar: Thanks! Yes, though it seems much longer.

Ghumakkar: Yes, it does! Though you wrote your first story just 10 months back.It was a wonderful account of Mathura.
Avtar: Yes! It was the first time I had published a travelogue anywhere.

Ghumakkar: Oh really? We are indeed priviledged in that case. How did you reach Ghumakkar?
Avtar: When I turn my back to re-look at the events, it reminds me, when someone throws a stone in an idle lake, the water which was lethargic a few moments ago, immediately gets agitated and starts producing ripples from the core of the lake to the all possible directions, until it hits the shore. The waves can be lost but the lake does not remain the same; the stone which worked like a catalyst has changed it for forever. I experienced this when on one fine day, I was just surfing net to get some photographic tips on Google. Perhaps God was in a good mood that day and I bumped with the write-ups of Sushant Singhal, read them, and liked the way he narrated. I followed the thread through his posts and reached Ghumakkar, read more articles by him, and then lots of other writers too. Loved the concept and opened my account too!

Ghumakkar: Was this when you wrote your the Mathura story too?
Avtar: Yes, at that time, we just returned from Mathura, so I thought why not pen down my travelling experience. So I just wrote it and sent it to Nandan. I can still remember that I didn’t have adequate photographs for the post and the article too needed a lot of improvements, but thanks to the much required warmth and co-operation from Nandan, somehow it was published on Ghumakkar. The amazing thing was the response I got. Surprisingly, it was Sushant Singhal once again, the man who was responsible for showing me the way to this site, posted the first ever comment on my article and that too at 5 O’ clock in the morning. Later on I got some more encouraging responses for it, and this was the way it all started.

Ghumakkar: Wow! Thank you, Sushant! And Mr. Singh, we are very sure that very soon someone will be the saying the same about your write-ups too.
Avtar: Well, I do hope that I am able to inspire someone as much as Sushant Singhal inspired me.

Ghumakkar: We have no doubts about it. But do tell us more about yourself.
Avtar: I was the youngest in the family of five. My elder brother has done his masters in commerce and works in Maruti Udyog Ltd. My sister has done her Masters in Economics, later on yours truly too did his masters degree in mathematics and ready for exploring the world on his own. When my father retired, he decided to settle in Gurgaon, after that I spent some time in ICWAI at Lodhi road.

Ghumakkar: And which part of the country do your parents belong to?
Avtar: Now that is a tough question. I share the same saga(through my parents), which millions other faced during the partition of 1947. Around half a century prior to that, Bulleh Shah wrote in the land of Multan–

Wah wah maatti di gulzaar,
maatti ghoda, maatti jodha, maatti da aswaar
Maatti maatti nu dorhave, maatti di khadkaar,
maatti maatti nu maaran laggi, maatti de hathiyaar

But, as always happens, no one paid attention on the teachings of such darveshs and many people who lived in that part of the world, which is known as Pakistan today, had to leave. Thus, my father’s family moved from there and at first they landed in the holy city of Amritsar but later on settled in the vicinity of four walls of Delhi. Got a house in the by lanes of Hauz Qazi and a shop at present day’s Azad Market. My mother’s side was also the victim of partition and they got a house in Ambala.

Ghumakkar: Those were turbulent times!
Avtar: Yes, they were. Your last name is “Malhotra”. By any chance, did your forefathers also come from the other side of what is now “the border”?

Ghumakkar: Well, yes! My paternal grand parents, along with my father and bua, used to live in Multan.
Avtar: I thought so!

Ghumakkar: Hmm! Millions of people lost their lives, and countless others, their livelihoods. But they were a brave lot.
Avtar: Yes, and its because of them that we are who we are today.

Ghumakkar: True!
Avtar: Anyways, later on, my father got a job in CPWD, left Delhi, and made Kanpur his new address. But his job was a touring one. Thereafter we lived in Lucknow for a few years, where I spent some tender years of my life and did my primary. During this period, my father had to visit many places of eastern UP. But for the sake of our education, he preferred to keep us in Lucknow itself, and he travelled alone to wherever his department sent him. But around the end of seventies (77, if I remember correctly), when he got posting in Dehradun, he took us along with him and we lived there till 1990. Only his base was in Dehradun, he had to visit Joshimath to Auli and many other places in the hills of present day’s Uttrakhand for months to do his official works. And talking about him reminds me that though he is no more in this fanin (transient) world, I must say he was a true soul and a dedicated human being. He saw two massacres in his life, one in 1947 and another in 1984, but he never lost faith in humanity. I think for such a person someone said:

Na ram ka hua, na rehmaan ka hua
Kuchh kabir si fitrat thi, her insaan ka hua

(belonged to neither Hindus nor Muslims, such was the fate, like Kabir, belonged to the entire humanity)

Ghumakkar: Beautiful! May God bless his soul!
Avtar: Thanks for your kind thoughts!

A family pic but two members from it are not with us any more!

A family pic but two members from it are not with us any more!

Ghumakkar: And what about your mother?
Avtar: My mother chose to be a homemaker and concentrated on bringing us up. Right now, she stays with my brother in Gurgaon. I, my wife, and my son stay close by.

Memory of those days, after buying our car, visited Bangla Sahib with parents.

Memory of those days, after buying our car, visited Bangla Sahib with parents.

Ghumakkar: What about your wife? What route has she chosen?
Avtar: My wife, Jatinder, has done her Masters in Business Administration. And at present, she is a marketing manager in an automobiles firm.

Ghumakkar: And your son Ravi? Does he like travelling as much?
Avtar: All kids like travelling. It gives them exposure, opportunities to try new types of food, and of course shopping. But studies often hold them, and their parents, back from indulging in it as much as they would like to.

Ghumakkar: How old is Ravi?
Avtar: He is in class 10th now. So studies take up most of his time. Moreover, he is an excellent orator and participates in several debates and extempores. His speech on Anna Hazare was telecast on Times Now.

Ghumakkar: Wow, would you have a video?
Avtar: Yes, many of his videos are there on YouTube.

Ravi showcasing his bit of concern over corruption

Ravi showcausing his bit of concern over corruption

aside: We dug out a link to Ravi’s Anna Hazare speech. We love the expressions and expert voice modulations. Here it is:

Avtar: He is also a member of Model United Nations India, and has participated in several inter-school conferences through that.

Ghumakkar: Wow! Kids these days often give us grown-ups a complex.
Avtar: (laughs) yes, they do!

Ravi demonstrating his piano skill at Lebua in Delhi

Ravi demonstrating his piano skill at Lebua in Delhi

Ghumakkar: And what about you? We know your profession is related to education. Would you like to share more details?
Avtar: From the beginning of my life, I was a rebellious kind of a person, and knew very early that

Aashiqi se milega ae zahid
Bandhigi se Khuda nahi milta

Although time changes a lot in one’s life and I was no exception. When you get married, and later on become a father, you find yourself at the receiving end always. But you cannot complain about your present status. After that no misery of life can disturb you much because the seed of spirituality starts germinating in your inner core. As Baba Bulle Shah said

Bullahea rab da ki pauna, aithron putnan te oether launan
(Bullah says, if you want God, just divert your mind from worldly things)

Ravi's hair in his childhood  resembles with Punjabi singer Hans Raj Hans. you can't be disagree on it!

Ravi’s hair in his childhood resembles with Punjabi singer Hans Raj Hans. You can’t disagree with this!

Anyway, right from the beginning I loved reading and love books, so I got involved in the field of education. I taught mathematics for many years from secondary classes to M.Sc. and MCA. But later I realized, it sucks your energy to teach the same thing again and again, year after year. I found it boring. Of course money is there, but there is no job satisfaction because after a stage it doesn’t throws any challenge at you. So at present, I have left most part of it for others and am currently working for something different, which is related to education but with minimum teaching quotient. I have started my own business. We have taken frachises of many Universities and we help prepare their students for exams.

Ghumakkar: Are these part-time or correspondence students?
Avtar: Yes, both.

Ghumakkar: So would that mean busy evenings and weekends?
Avtar: It does. But it gives me flexibility to manage my time as per my wishes. I love Kabir, who said

Hman hai ishq mastaana, hman ko hoshiyaari kya?
Rahein aazad ya jag me, hman duniya se yaari kya?

(I am the inebriated love, why should I be conscious?
Whether free or in the world, why should I be in bound?)

However, due to the nature of my business, I can have some free hours in the morning time but, as you said, I have to compensate for it with long evening sessions, which sometimes become troublesome, especially when your friends and family need you but you cannot entertain them.

Ghumakkar: And how do you de-stress? You have that you love to read. How do you think you developed this hobby?
Avtar: The great Sufi saint Baba Farid said in 12th centuary that

Birha birha aakhiye, birha tu sultaan
Farida jit tan birhu na upjey, so tan jaan massan.

(Birha- desperate, massan- dead body)

The same desperation and the quest to find it, lure you to search books. If I look back at my childhood days, I feel that I was blessed that my father was a living encyclopedia of knowledge and had a great collection of stories to recite to me during the hot and long nights of Lucknow. Television was rare at that time, so were the coolers and ACs. As evenings got darker, after dinner, people went upstairs to the terrace, which eventually became the play ground for the children and gossip field for adults, till they slept. On such nice evenings, my father, who had a remarkably narrative style recited stories for me. I still do not know from where he learnt such amazing stories and lullabies. Later on, I got a book of Arabian Nights and I found it strange that he knew most of the stories written in it. Unlike my father, my mother knew religious stories and she narrated the same for us. Later on, I found that I was a habitual reader; I think it started when my father bought books and magazines such as Nandan, Parag, Chandamama etc for me.

I feel indebted to him for inducing this habit of reading to me. During my school days, I read a story The Bet by Chekhov, in which a lawyer read everything possible in his confinement, and thus arrived at the stage where he rejected and left the materialistic world. I do not know, whether reading helped become a good son, brother, husband, or father or not. It is the prerogative of others to decide, but I continue to read a lot.

From my college days to till now, I enjoy reading. I read Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice in my school days. And later on I found myself teaching Romeo Juliet, Hamlet, and Julius Caesar to others. From most of the English writers and Hindi writers to some popular writers of Urdu, whose translated works are available, I have read them all. I have also read quite a few Punjabi writers too. This love for books has always protected me from evils, and reminds me of a couplet of Galib:

Imaan mujhe roke hai, jo kheenche hai mujhe kufr
Kaba mere peeche hai, kaleesa mere aage
( kufr – impiety, kaleesa – church/cathedral )

Ghumakkar: And what are you reading now?
Avtar: The recent election coverage on Banaras has inspired me to read Kashi Nath Singh’s Banaras Ka Asi. And I am already struggling to start Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. I had also procured books of Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shfaak, which is based on great sufi mystic poet Rumi and his relations with Shams of Tabriz. A book of William Dalrymple is also on my wish list (The Last Mughal), but only God knows, when I would get a chance to start it. Dalrymple has a unique style as a travel writer. Books like his make me want to travel more.

Ghumakkar: That’s true. Was it a book that inspired you to start travelling too?
Avtar: If I am not wrong, everyone here in India starts travelling with trips to the “Naani or Daadi ke ghar”, and I was no exception. Every year we spent quite a few days at our Nani’s home in Ambala. Later on, when I was in Dehradun and was an adolescent, we loved to visit Paunta Sahib in trucks especially in the days of Hola Mohalla (which was celebrated on the next day to Holi). This Gurudwara(associated with Guru Gobind Singh Ji) is situated on the bank of Yamuna river in Himachal Pradesh. However, this adventure ended abruptly, when one day a friend of ours drowned in the Yamuna while bathing in it.

Ghumakkar: Oh! How horrible!
Avtar: Yes, it was a huge shock for all of us. But moving on, while I was in college, it was time for me to emerge out of the shadow of the family, but at that time choices were limited and very often we ended up in Mussoorie, Sahastradhara, Tapkeshwar, and Haridwar etc. Other than that whenever any relative visited us, we got the opportunity to visit Paunta Sahib and Dak Pathar etc, where Hydra power project was installed and the surrounding area was emerging as a picnic spot.

But being a science student, I seldom got enough free time to visit frequently. And after my masters, when I might have got the time, we had to leave Dehradun. During the period of late eighties and early ninties, Gurgaon wasn’t on the tourist’s wish list. Although, sometimes, we friends took our scooters and bikes and went to Sultan Pur lake, Bangla Sahib, Chatterpur, Badkal or Dumdama lake, just for fun and not for any serious kind of Ghumakkari.

On Sundays, whenever I had a long list of books to buy, I took a friend and went to Darya Ganj to search for them. Later we found ourselves roaming in the bylanes of Chandni Chowk. After that we went to Gurudwara Sheesh Ganj for having the Langer, just to save some money so we could enjoy a feast of the Rubbri faluda at Giyani’s in Fatehpuri.

Sometimes, if we got a good bargain on books, we would celebrate it with Biryanis or in Gali Paranthe wali. In nineties there was prohibition in Haryana, so sometimes on a fine evening, when we were in celebration mood, we took our two-wheelers and moved straight towards Rajasthan from Daruheda and spent the night there. At that time, there were lots of road side dhabas for the drivers and we loved to eat with them and dug into our royal feast of dal fry and kale chane ki subzi, sitting on charpaies(cot), putting across a wooden plank(Fatta), which served as a table.

Ghumakkar: Wow! Do you still do these things now?
Avtar: No. After my marriage, eventually, these adventures had to be ended, and the fun quotient was replaced with more organized and safe places. And the same continues today. From 2005, we started travelling with with Mr. Parminder Tyagi’s Family. He is my neighbour and childhood friend. Since then the scale has become wider.

Our extended family at Savoy Suits in Manesar, Gurgaon.

Our extended family at Savoy Suits in Manesar, Gurgaon.

I must confess, being an HR professional, Mr Tyagi is an acute planner and always seals the deal with great discounts and offers. But I still miss those days, when we only had money sufficient for petrol and beer, and we left everything else on our host. I still enjoy the moments when we borrowed some money for our return journeys. I often curse myself that we did not bother with taking pictures on our journeys, but after I bought a digital camera in 2005, things took a turn for better. Initially our travels were so unorganized and unplanned that we finalized it in the eleventh hours but later on, when both the families had children we had to think on this aspect too. The first organized travel plan I made with Tyagi ji was in 2005, when we bought our new car and camera and booked even our hotel room (for the first time!) in advance from Gurgaon. We visited, Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Paunta Sahib etc.

Ghumakkar: And besides these places what else is on your list of “must-go” places?
Avtar: I do not have any such wish list except visiting Banaras. For which Galib wrote

Ibadat khana-e naakusian ast,
Hamana Kabaye Hindustanan ast

[This is a worship place for the players of conch (shell,shankh), Definitely this is a kaba of Hindustan]

With Mr Tyagi’s love to explore new places and having great working relations with various travel planners and resort owners, we get the chances more frequently than expected. But keeping in mind the studies of Tushar (elder son of Mr Tyagi) and Ravi, it is difficult to take up these opportunities every time.

The number of places we visited are far less than the number of plans we abandoned at the last moment for numerous reasons, so I do not believe in advance plannings. Instead I like to grab the opportunity, whenever it comes on my way.

On a dinner date at Heritage in Manesar

Parminder Tyagi and Avtar on a dinner date at Heritage in Manesar

Ghumakkar: Interesting thought! I am sure many readers here would agree with you. Is there anything else that you would like to share with the Ghumakkar community?
Avtar: First of all I sincerely thank team Ghumakkar and all the writers and readers here. Then I would like to say make traveling an experience, and wherever you go love the place, do not pollute it and respect the customs and traditions of natives. I know it is not at all easy to leave your home, but travelling is an addiction. Once someone said –

Ye sard raat ye aawargi, ye neend ka bojh
Hum apne shaher me hote, to ghar gaye hote.

But at the same time, the great Indian Ghumakkar, Rahul Sanskratayan, wrote this couplet in one of his articles –

Sair ker duniya ki gafil, zindgaani fir kahan
Zindgaani ger rahi, to nauzawani fir kahan

And a special request to Nandan, if possible, think about an annual get to gather for all the Ghumakkars. It could be a nice platform to meet and interact with the persons whom we know only through their posts.

Ghumakkar: I am sure Nandan would share his thoughts on this. However, is there any particular Ghumakkar Writer you would love to meet, someone who you enjoy reading the most?
Avtar: I am a passionate reader, so I love most of the stories published here, whether I post my comment or not, I read most of the stories. I bet, after my joining I read 90% of the stories posted on ghumakkar. All are good, and taking lot of pains to pen down their experiences. So everyone’s efforts are commendable and I would love to meet all and any if possible.

Ghumakkar: Still…
Avtar: I knew it would come to this. Well if you insist, in English, I will go for Mr Ram Dhall(for his mystic writing skill), Silent Soul sir(for the sanity and spirituality in his posts), Nirdesh ji (for his way of story telling, in which a reader travels with him and sees the place through his eyes) and Ajay Sharma ( for his marathon sprit of traveling and writing). And amongst Hindi writers Sushant ji (for the humour he adds to his stories) and Mukesh Bhasle (for his true writing). And moreover Mahesh Semwal, Naresh ji, Ritesh, and Tridev Sir for their generous and encouraging comments. In fact sometimes I just visit Ghumakkar to read Tridev ji’s comments on various posts. I strongly recommend, at least for a change, you should take an interview of an eminent reader like Tridev ji, which will definitely be a big hit.

Ghumakkar: And now that you have read most of the stories on Ghumakkar, What keeps you coming back?
Avtar: As I love reading, I have no other option but to read. Whenever I get a notification in my mail box, I immediately go to the site and see the post and then read at the first opportunity. The same was happened with ‘Quora’ and some other blogs too. You will find it interesting that I had read the complete series of Harry Potter books just to narrate its story to Ravi, prior to the movies. Whenever I get know of any new book or writer, I tell Ravi for to arrange an eBook for me and every time he says still you have lots of books pending in your archive, first go through them, only then I will.

Ghumakkar: Ravi’s doing a good job of keeping his father in check.
Avtar: hehe! Yes, but I still have eBooks and pdf versions of many books stored in my lappy. All in all, this addiction is more satisfactory than any other one. I must confess here that Ravi too is an addicted reader of fictions, and has read most of the works of the writers like John Green, Rick Riordan, Suzzane Collins etc. Most of the times, we have to be strict with him to keeping his priorities right.

Ravi too is a bookworm and a games lover, right from the begining

Ravi too is a bookworm and a games lover, right from the begining

Ghumakkar: True! And is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Avtar: Well, I think we have discussed pretty much everything. But I would like to dedicate one stanza from Mirza Galib to all the eminent readers of Ghumakkar

Na tha kuch to khuda tha, kuch na hota to khuda hota
Duboya mujhko hone ne, na main hota to kya hota!
Hui muddat ki ‘Galib’ mer gaya per yaad aata hai
Voh har baat per kehna ki yun hota to kya hota!!


And needless to say, I was rendered speechless. If this isn’t a candid interview, I don’t know what is. Avtar Singh, unintentionally, leaves you feeling inspired. It was an absolute pleasure to talk to him. Thanks Mr Singh for taking out time to talk to us, and congratulations once again.

Till the next time,



  • Anupam Chakraborty says:

    @Avtar- Congratulation again to the dynamic and generous Ghumakkar Avtar! It is nice to read about you in details. You have not a wishlist as such except Banaras. Will you please enlighten us, why Banaras is so special to you as a traveler? To me the best time to go there is during the festival of Ganga Utsav and not to miss at all the festival “Dev Dipawali” and sailing on a boat in that evening right from Ashi Ghat. I hired a boat @Rs.75oo/- for two hours during this peak time.

    @Vibha- It is really nice to read your so well composed interview.

    @Nandan – A referendum (if AAP thinks like a AAP, though I am not a follower of AAP) may be called for on Mr Avtar’s request of Ghumakkar’s get-together .

    • Avtar Singh says:

      Hi Anupam

      Thanx a lot for your generous words.

      Sir, Banaras is in my wish list for various reasons. Apar from the religious and spritiual values, I have heard a lot about its Pandas, its Ghats, its Crooks, its Paan, its Tea, its Gange’s aarti and much more. Banaras is considered as the land of Baba Bhola’s, and Tulsi and Kabir.

      since centuries, this place was known for its scholars and considered as the place for ‘Mokshya”.

      Guru Nanak visited here, and Guru Gobind Singh sent some of his Sikhs for learning Sanskrit Language.

      ” Sham-a- Avadh” and “Subah-a-Banaras” are two wishes, which I like to see before leaving this earth.

      Thanx again.

      • Avtar Singh says:

        To All Ghumakkar Friend

        Sometimes it does not feel pleasure to read Urdu and Hindi Poetry in Roman script, so I would like to post here the transcript of the quotes, which are published in the interview in Devnagri script

        ???-??? ???? ?? ??????? ???? ?????, ???? ????? ???? ?? ?????? ???? ???? ??? ???????, ???? ?? ??????? ???? ???? ??? ???? ????, ???? ?? ??????….?
        ?????? ?? ?????, ?????? ?? ?????, ?????? ?? ?? ????? ?????? ?????? ?? ???????, ?????? ?? ?????? ?????? ?????? ?? ??? ??? ??, ?????? ?? ??????….?

        ? ??? ?? ???, ? ????? ?? ???
        ??? ???? ?? ????? ??
        ?? ????? ?? ???

        ????? ?? ?????? ? ?????
        ?????? ?? ???? ??? ?????

        ???????? ?? ?? ?? ????
        ????? ????? ?? ??? ?????

        ??? ?? ???? ???????, ??? ?? ???????? ???? ?
        ???? ???? ?? ?? ??, ??? ?????? ?? ???? ???? ?

        ????? ????? ????? ????? ?? ??????
        ????? ??? ?? ????? ? ??????, ?? ?? ??? ????

        ???? ???? ???? ?? ?? ????? ?? ???? ?????
        ???? ???? ???? ?? ????? ???? ???

        ????? ????? ????????? ????,
        ????? ????? ????????????? ?????

        ?? ???? ??? ?? ??????, ?? ???? ?? ???
        ?? ???? ??? ??? ???? ?? ?? ?? ????

        ??? ?? ?????? ?? ?????, ???????? ??? ????
        ???????? ?? ???, ?? ??????? ??? ????

        ? ?? ??? ?? ????? ??, ??? ? ???? ?? ????? ????
        ?????? ????? ???? ??, ? ??? ???? ?? ???? ????
        ??? ?????? ?? ‘??????’ ?? ??? ?? ??? ??? ??
        ?? ???? ??? ?? ???? ?? ??? ???? ?? ???? ???? !

  • SilentSoul says:

    Vibha ! thanks for this detailed interview… it was so nicely taken that there was a voice inside “?? ??????? ???? ?? ?? ?? ???????”…LOL.

    Avtar : It was nice to know more about you and your other interests. You have a successful life and a sweet family…. may God bless you.

    The only Ghumakkar get together was a Mini -meet with 2 editors and 3 members during Dec,12…the next such mini meet may happen during July-Aug this year… pls enroll fast as seats are limited.

    I was really happy to know your interest in Bulle Shah who had been my favorite, from the childhood days… I present some lines for you

    ???? ?????? ?? ??? ???….?? ???? ?????? ??

    ???? ??????, ???? ??? ???????, ??? ????? ???
    ??? ??? ????? ?? ?????…?? ???? ???? ??? ???
    ?? ???? ?????? ?? ??? ???..

    • Avtar Singh says:

      Hi SS Sir

      Of course, I echo your thoughts and its actually Vibha, who deserves all the acclaim for her generosity and kind warmth, which makes an ordinary person like me, so special.

      I will eager to be a part of such a meet, if it could be possible in any month of the year.

      Sir, Baba Farid and Bulle Shah are two gems of Sufi literature, and thanx to google, we can find their poetry easily.

      Sir, Shiv Kumar Batalvi was also a marvellous poet of Punjabi Literature. I would like to quote two lines of his for your kind attention

      ???? ?? ???? ??? ?? ????? ??? ?????

      ??? ??? ?? ???? ?? ??? ???? ??????

      ?? ? ??? ???????? ???

  • Arun says:

    Congratulations Avtar Ji for this great achievement. After all its not so easy to become the Featured Author within a very short period of 10 months. And of course your way of narration as well as ability to collect the micro information on past and present of places you have visited along with the stanzas from poems has boosted me to pen down my own travel experience on ghumakkar, which is undoubtedly not as good as yours. Yes, I agree with your suggestion about an annual get-together for all the ghumakkars, since we all are like the family members in this virtual world i.e.

    With best wishes,

    • Avtar Singh says:

      Thanx Arun for your nice words.

      I read your posts and submitted my comments too, dear.
      You write beautifully.
      Keep it the way as you are.
      Wish all the luck!!!

  • It was nice to know you in detail through this interview.

    I am really big fan of your writing, I use to tell many people that I have not seen any Sikh guy who is having such good command on Hindi. Your Hindi post are like the part of literature.

    Keep traveling , keep writing.

    • Avtar Singh says:

      Thanx Mahesh ji

      It is your generosity. I read many of your earlier posts and a big fan of yours.

      I always admire you for your early sweet and short comment on the post, and surprisingly this one is long one, for a change!!!…. just kidding

      Thanx once again and wishing your support in future too!!!

  • AJAY SHARMA says:

    @ Nandan if there is any award of excellence apart of the conventional ones, please bestow the one for this series. ! Despite of more than 20 visits, I have never visited these places as intimately as I did it today while perusing these logs. The showers of brilliant remarks are inevitable. Great job BOSS

    Avtar Ji,
    Hope your remember the comment. I was too excited after reading your skillful narration on Amer. A very deserving & awaited honour indeed. My heartiest felicitation with lots of wishes to our loving Ravi. Thanks for mentioning me, I rather copy you in my narration.

    @ Vibha, a true flawless & irresistible interview, Kudos!

    @ Nandan, its a cool idea of a gathering, may take on note.

    Keep travelling

    • Avtar Singh says:

      Hi Ajay ji

      Nice to hear your encouraging words once again!

      Sir, after reading your interview, I admired so much about you. I salute to your energy for such a marathon traveling trips and long write ups. You are truly an inspiration!

      Most of the credit goes to Vibha for her co-operation and support for this interview.

  • ???? ?????? ??.??? ?? ?? ??? “?? ? ?????? ???? ??? ??????” ??? ???????? ???? ????? ???? ?? ?? ????/???? ??????? ?? ‘????? ???? ????? ??…….’ ???? ????? ???? ??????? ?? ????? ?? ?????????? ???? ????? ??? ?? ??? ??? ?? ??? ??? ???? ????? ???? ???? ??????? ??? ??? ????? ??? ‘??? ??? ???? -???? ??????, ???? ????-???? ??????..’ ??? ?? ?? ??. ??? ???? ??????? ????? ???? ?? ??????? ????? ????? ??? ????? ?? ???? ????? ?? (???? ?? ?? ??????? ??? ??? ???? ???? ????? ??? ??????? ?? ?? ????? ?????? ??? ?? ????? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???? ??). ????? ?? ??????????? ??? ???? ????? ?? ????? ???? ??? ?? ?? ?? ?? ???? ?? ??? ??. ???? ????? ?? ???? ?? ???? ?? ???????? ?????? ???. ?????-????? ??????, ????? ? ???? ???? ??????? ????????? ?? ???????? ?? ?? ???? ????? ?? ??????? ??? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ?????? ???? ????? ???? ?? ???? ????? ???
    @?????: ???? ???? ??? ?? ???? ??? ??? ????, ????? ?? ??? ?? ???? ??? ????? ????? ??-?? ??????? (1947 ??? 1984) ?? ????? (????? ?? ?????? ?? ???? ????? ?? ????? ???? ???? ????) ???? ?? ?????? ???? ????? ?? ???? ????? ??????? ???, ??? ????????? ???? ?? ??? ??? ?? ???????? ?? ?????: ??? ???? ???. ??? ????? ?? ??? ????????.
    @ ????: ???????? ?? ???? ?????? ?? ????./??./?????????? ??? ???? ?? ??? ?????? ??? ???? ???? ??? ?? ???? ??? ???????? ?? ???? ??? ???? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ? ?? ?? ??? ????. ????? ????? – ????: ?? ???? ???????, ?? ???? ???, ???? ?? ??????? ??? ??? ????? ???, ?? : ??????. | ???????? ???? ???? ?????? ??????? ?? ??? ????? ????? ???? ??, ??????????? ??? ?? ??? ??? ?? ??? ???? ??, ????? ?? ????? ????.
    @ ????: ??? ??????? ??? ????? ?? ??, ????? ?? ????.

    • Avtar Singh says:

      ?????? ??????? ??,

      ???? ???? ???? ?? ????? ?? ?? ??? ???? ??????? ?? ?? ???? ?????? ????? ?? |
      3-4 ?????? ?? ?? ??????? ???? ?? ????? ???? ?? –

      One of the best comment I ever got…..

      ?? ??? ?? ????? ?? ???? ??? ???? ?? ??? ??????? ??? ?? ?? ?? ??, ? ???? ????? ????? ??? ? ?? ???? ???? ?? ??? ???? ?? ???? ??? ?? ???? ???? ?

      ??, ??? ???? ?? ????, ????? ????? ??? ! ??? ?????? ??? ?? ?? ?? ???? ??? ?? ????? ?? ?? ?? ??? ??? ????

      ???? ??? ??? ?????? ?? ??? ??? ?? ????!

      ??, ???? ???? ?? ??? ?? ?? ????????? ???? ???????

      ???? ???? ??????? ???? ???? ????
      ? ??? ???? ??? ???? ??? ???? ?? ?? ||

    • ????? ???? ???? ??????? ?? ???? ?????? ????.

  • Anand Bharti says:

    ???? ????? ???? ??, ???? ?????? ???? ?? ??? ????? ????? ????????? ?? ??? ???. ???? ???? ?? ??????? ?? ??? ???? ?? ?? ???? ??? ????? ?? ?? ??? ????? ????? ?? ?? ???? ??????? ?? ???? ?? ??????? ?? ?????? ?? ????? ????? ?? ???? ??. ?? ???? ?? ?????? ????????? ?? ??? ?? ???? ??????????? ?? ???? ???? ??? ???? ??? ??? ???. ???? ??, ??????????? ?? ?????? ?? ????? ???? ?? ?? ?????????? ?? ?????? ?????? ?? ??????? ?? ????? ?? ????? ???? ?? ?? ???? ???? ????????
    ????? ??, ????? ??????? ?? ?????? ?? ???? ????? ????? ???? ???. ?? ???? ?????? ?? ???? ???? ?? ???? ??? ????? ?? ???? ???? ??. ?????? ???? ?? ??? ???? ??
    ” ??????? ?? ??? ????? ?? ??? ?????? ????? ???
    ?? ???? ?? ??????? ?? ??? ??? ??? ????? ???
    ?? ??? ?? ?????? ??? ??? ??? ??
    ???? ?? ???? ??? ????? ?? ??? ???? ????? ???.”

    ??? ?? ??? ?? ????? ?????. ???? ???? ???? ???? ?????? ??????.

    • Avtar Singh says:

      ????? ????? ??

      ???? ????? ?? ??? ???? ????-???? ???? !

      ???? ??? ??? ?? ????? ???????? ?????? ?? ??? ????? ???? ??? |

      ??? ????? ????? ?? ???? ???? ???????? ??????? ?? ???? ??? ??, ???? ?? ??? ???????? quote ??? ??

      What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.

      ?????? ???? ?? ????????? ?? ??? ???? ???????!

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    ????? ??,

    ???? ???? ?? ???? ?? ??????? ?? ???? ??????? ???????? ?? ??????????? ?? ?????? ?? ???? ???? ??? ???? ????? ?????????? ??????? ???? ?? ??? ?? ???? ??? ????? ???? ???? ???, ????? ??? ???? ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?? ?????? ???? ???? ??? ????? ???? ??, ???? ????? ????? ??? ??? ??????? ?????? ??? ???? ?? ??????????? ???? ???? ????


    • Avtar Singh says:

      Thanx Mukesh ji.

      Its good to hear from your side.

      Many thanx for all the good wishes… :)

  • Ritesh Gupta says:

    ????? ???? ??….
    ??????? ???? ?????? ???????? ?? ??? ???? ??????? …… ?? ??? ????? ??? ?? ???? ?? ????? ???? ???? ??? ?? ????? ?? ???? ???? ???? ????? ???? ?? |

    ?? ??????????? ?? ?????? ?? ???? ??????? ?? ???? ?????? ?? ??????? ??? ?? ???? ???? ??? ????? ????? ??? | ??? ?? ?????? ?? ??? ?????????? ……|

    ??????????? ?? ??? ???? ?? ?? ???? ?? ?? ????????……


    • Avtar Singh says:

      Hi Ritesh ji

      Many thanx for your encouraging words.

      ?? ???? ?????? ?? ???? ?? ???? ?? ?? ??? ?? ???? ????? ?? |

      ???? ??? ??????????? ?? ??? ???? ??? ??? ?? ????????…. :)

  • ????? ?? , ?? ??????????? ?? ?????? ?? ???? ???? ??? ??????? ?? ?????? ???? ????? ???? ???????? ????? ??? ??? ?? ??????????? ?? ??? ??? ????? ?? ????? ?????? ?? ????? ??? ???? ??? ????? ???? ????????? ?? ?? ?? ?? ??????????? ?? ??? ???? ????????
    ????? ?? , ???? ????? ?? ??? ?? ????
    ???? ?? ?? ?????? ?? ???? ????…………………
    .?? ????? ?? ?? ……???? ??? ???? ???…….

  • Avtar Singh says:

    Hi Naresh Ji

    ????? ??? ?? ???? ??????? ?? ???

    ??? ???? ??? ?? ???? ???? ?? FB ?? ???? ?????? ?????? (????????-?????????) ?? ?? ????? ???? ??? ???? ??? ??? ?? , ?????? ?? ???? ?? ???? ???? ????? ?? ???? ?? ?????? |

    ManyThanx once again!

  • Vibha says:

    Very sorry for such a late response. Thanks everyone for such kind comments. And thanks Mr Singh for being such a delightful person through the interview (and beyond).

    • Avtar Singh says:

      Hi vibha

      Thanx from my side too for giving me the opportunity to share something of my life with all the fellow Ghumakkars.

      It was indeed a nice experience!

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Mr. Singh – Many thanks for taking time out and talking to us while you were not feeling completely well. Hope you are doing much better now.

    I would keep my comment short so here it is point-wise, apt for someone associated with education. :-)

    1. Reading about Ravi was inspiring. Great name and great parenthood.

    2. Banaras – Go soon and then go again. I have been able to visit only twice and loved it. 2nd time, we were able to explore more of the back-lanes and hopefully by 3rd time we would be true-hippies. A friend runs a hostel (suitable if you are not going with family) else there are always very good deals in big hotels during summer days when foreign tourists are low. I am sure Mr. Tyagi can do some magic here.

    3. Read ‘100 years…’ please. It is a brilliant book. I also tried reading ‘Kashi ka Asi’ but kind of got tuned out. But please read 100 years.

    4. I am leaving a plug for Ram’s story on Darya Ganj book market, just for the nostalgia –

    Thank you again and I apologise for a late comment. I was away and was on a weak internet access.

    • Avtar Singh says:

      Hi Nandan

      Thanx for you too for given me this opportunity and make me feel so important.

      Thanx for all your wishes and suggestions too.

      I had already read the post of Mr Ram, and it is indeed a great post.

      Thanx once again…. :)

  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ All – Ghumakkar meet is something which bubbles up every few months. I shamelessly accept that I have not been able to organise it. I think it is time, that instead of looking for one that grand meet, we organise smaller ones in our areas and see how it goes. If you do get to plan one then let me know and I would try to spread the word. We would also cover it in our monthly digest post. The only condition is that you would need to send me a selfie having everyone who were there in that meet. Insha Allah, very soon we would begin to do bigger meets.

    @ Anupam – Referendum is clear and people want it. It is more of a matter of logistics. I am bought in completely.

    @ SS – I am up for any requests for the mini-meet which might happen at SSs behest in July/Aug.

    @ Ajay – Yes it is. Noted and hopefully the smaller chapter lead to bigger meet soon.

    @ Tridev – ??,?? ??????? ?? ???? ?? ????? ? ??, ?? ???? ??????? ?? ????? ?? ? ??? ?? ??? ?? ??? ?

  • Sudip says:

    Congratulations Avtar!

    Your posts are very interesting!

  • Smita Dhall says:

    Congratulations, Mr. Singh and Vibha for a fantastic interview! It was very interesting and compelling to read in one go till the end.

    For me, personally, it was very relatable since I have people exactly like Mr. Singh’s family in my own blood. The effects of trauma of the partition will probably last a few generations. I am thankful to the God for the whole breed of people who went through it, passed on the values and strength and the spirit to the following generations, whilst containing the angst within them and moved on. It also taught us to question the systems, set-ups and not taking things for granted. It was delightful to see Ravi inheriting those values and shining. I wish him and your family all the best.

    • Avtar Singh says:

      Hi Smita ji

      It feels nice to read such kind and generous words from your side.

      Yeah, it was a great trauma indeed, whose memories are now come to fading away with the passing away of affected generation. Anyway, it is life and one has to move on, and the Panjabies are the best example of it.

      Thanx for all your words of praise towards Ravi. Its really encouraging…. :)

  • Nirdesh Singh says:

    Hi Avtarji,

    It is nice to get you know better.

    We are all fans of your writing here. It was in your posts that I had started reading poetry. I always liked books but have not ventured into reading poetry yet. Maybe one of these days will buy a Ghalib or Rumi. Marquez was an incredible writer and Thousand Years of Solitude figures as Most Favourite Book of a lot of people including me. I did not know that Baba Farid was a poet too.

    It seems people roughly in our age group have had similar childhoods so I can identify with that. Of course, events like what happened in 1947 and 1984 should never happen again. You seem to have a loving family including your son and a great fellow ghumakkar friend in Tyagiji.

    I used to visit Varanasi a lot ten years ago, but never went to the ghats after hearing the horror stories – never went out of the cant area. i still remember the terrible roads, the fumes and the garbage. Now if I get a chance I would definitely go for the arti and taking a walk in the old city. I just hope they clean up the city.

    Keep writing, keep reading, keep travelling and keep reciting your poetry here. We will keep following you here.

    Thanks Vibha for introducing another friend here on Ghumakkar.

    • Avtar Singh says:

      Hi Nirdesh ji

      Many thanks for your comment.

      Its really feels great to know that you are also a vivid book reader.

      Sufi in Islam and advaitvaad in Hinduism are somewhat similar, the only difference one can find that the Sufi loves more like a lover. Anyway, Rumi is great and in more demand nowadays, although we have great Sufis in our own culture and history.

      Sir, Baba Farid was a great soul of 12th centuary and most of his poetry is available only in Guru Granth Sahib, which was collected by Guru Nanak himself through his disciples. Since in olden days, there was no arrangements were available to keep the writings, so nowadays, some times it feels difficult to find out the exact poet of the poetry. I am here providing you two couplets of Farid, which are written in SGGS and you can also hear some more on kwaliz of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

      1. ???? ???? ??? ?? ???? ???? ???,
      ?????, ???? ???? ????? ?? ????? ????

      2. ????? ???? ? ?????? ???? ??? ? ???,
      ??? ???? ???? ??? ???? ???? ???? — (???? ?????? )

      Sir, I find Banaras is liked by people for various reasons, And the most important is love and dedication towards it by its own natives.
      A few days ago, I met an old age person of Banaras in Gurgaon, and he said the following line in the praise of his city, which truly shows his love and affection for it-

      ??? ????? ??? ?? ?? ????? ?????

      ???? ????? ? ?????? ???????? ??????

  • Vipin says:

    It was great learning about you & your interests, Avtarji through this interview! Your way of narrating travel tales is very unique…starts from travelling…but rather takes you on a different journey in between & brings you back to the tale again at the end…pretty impressive! Your values, interests, learnings etc do reflect in your writings…& your command over not only hindi, but urdu too is pretty commendable…enjoy reading it thoroughly! You are really lucky to find a travel loving family & friends like Tyagi ji who are your regular travel companion. Best wishes for your future ventures…keep sharing your wonderful tales with fellows…:)

    Thanks, Vibha for presenting Avtarji so interestingly bringing out the true poet in him! Loved reading the interview!

    Nandan bhai & all other fellow ghumakkars…some of the fellow ghumakkars (like Nirdesh bhai, Harish bhai, Nikhil bhai including me…at times Amitava da) are frequently meeting every month/week (mostly on sundays)…so any other folks too are most welcome to join in (whenever possible) for our weekly/monthly ghumakkar mini meets…we meet & explore some sites related to heritage/nature/birds/photography etc in & around Delhi…this small meet might turn into a bigger ghumakkar meet in future for sure (at least by the time SS Saab comes to pay his annual pilgrimage to India)…:)

    • Avtar Singh says:

      Hi Vipin

      Thanx dear for your comment.

      Its great to hear that you along with Nirdesh ji and some other fellow ghumakkars keep meeting each other on regular intervals.

      Nowadays, Delhi seems too far from my place, otherwise there was a time when I had to go daily as early as six O’ clock in the morning throughout the year to attend my classes at ICWAI Bhavan, near Khan Market. Ab to Delhi jaane se pehle dus baar sochna pdta hai!

      You are absolutely right about Tyagi ji, Ek se Bhle Do…

      Hope to get an opportunity for meeting all of you amazing folks soon….

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