Amit is our featured author for September, 2011 and in continuing with the tradition, we caught up with him over email and phone. I had a frank and rich conversation with Amit over issues from traveling alone to neglect of historical monuments to Shiva trilogy and what not. While I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation I had and came out pretty satiated, it still needed to be logged and logged well. Our Editor, Vibha, with her insightful questions ensured that our readers do get the truthful and real treat and not something which I cook up.
So without any further ado, please welcome our featured author for September, 2011, Mr. Amit Sinha.
Ghum: Tell us more about yourself apart from what we know through your profile and stories.
Amit: In one word I would like to describe myself as wanderer. In my initial days of study when I was preparing for engineering entrance, I always used to spend more time with railway time-table than books. Because the main idea was the excitement of going to a new place than cracking the examination itself. So, after 12th I traveled most of the part of our country like Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai etc to give examination, thanks to the lack of centralized form those days.
Finally as the result was expected, I compelled to take admission in Delhi-University. I did graduation and Post-Graduation in Mass-Communication and working in media till date. Again the idea was to become a journalist so that, I could travel a lot, but ended up in office job as Producer.
Ghum: Some people have wheels instead of feet and you are obviously one of them. What pushes you to pack your bags and head out?
Amit: It may sound bookish, but traveling is like a meditation for me. I connect well to myself, to God and to world while traveling. Getting away from usual and finding something new, something unknown is probably pushes me to go out.
Ghum: We know that you are a foodie. What is your favorite cuisine? And how far do you like to go with trying new food while travelling? Are there any precautions to be taken?
Amit: I am very fond of eating non-vegetarian food. Spending money and eating veg food is not a great spend for a person like me. I love all kind of Mughlai and Kabab preparation.
As I had written in one of my post, once I went to Lucknow, to just have the “Kababs” and authentic Awadhi food. And other happens last Sunday evening, I went to ‘Murthal’ with my friends, but we were not aware that no dhaba in ‘Murthal’ offers non-vegetarian delicacies. So we went further crossed Sonipat, Panipat, paid the toll tax and finally landed in Karnal just to have the non-vegetarian food. Total drive was around 350 km, but I’ll remember this for a long time.
I don’t think any precautionary measure is important while thinking about your appétit, because food is a kind of celebration that we do normally thrice a day. However one should avoid drink and drive which is easy to say but hard to resist.
Ghum: We believe that your job requires you to travel to new places and meet people. Would you like to share more details about your work and some interesting people/incidents you may have come across?
Amit: I work as Promo-Producer and make creative Promos, advertisements, Public service advertisements (PSAs) and marketing innovations and vignettes.
Once I made a documentary on whistleblowers that was quite an experience. We travelled Chennai, Puducherry, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Giridih (Jharkhand) and Patna in a week and made a documentary that was presented on “Videocon India’s Youth Icon Award 2009” and later telecasted on Sahara News Group Channels. Most remembering part was going through deep forest into naxalite belt of Jharkhand, accompanied by two police van throughout our way.
However I would like to share the name of two very important people, who exposed me to the world of Books, Traveling, Movies and Food step-by-step. One is Director of Cinematography of many famous AD and Documentaries “Mr. Bithin Das” who is currently in Mumbai, and “Mr. Rajesh Jha”, a Senior Producer in Sahara News Network, who is a distinct intellectual from JNU, and has vast experience of Indian Media, World of books and World Movies.
Ghum: Travelling can be a very expensive hobby. But you seem to have cracked the code of budget travel. Any tips for the readers?
Amit: There are three aspect of traveling for me, “Tickets/Fuel, Accommodation and Food”. I usually travel in 2nd class when I am alone and that is decided with the weather in mind. Like travel Rajasthan after Monsoon, Go to hills in summer like that. I search for authentic food options on Internet and avoid expensive hotels. For accommodation I usually target PWD houses and area near bus/railway station. I also have “Youth Hostel Life-time Card”, which is good for cheap accommodation.
Ghum : Why do you travel alone which is not at all a common phenomenon ? How do you keep yourself motivated and happy all through the journey?
Amit : Most of the times I travel alone. sometimes traveling is like meditation. You would be surprised to know that I also watch films, alone. I love watching films and I do not want any kind of distraction, same is with travel. Traveling alone gives you the freedom to make your itinerary, own breaks, you can spend as much or as little time as you want and there is no nagging, whatsoever.
The other thing is my colleagues/friends are busy and it is difficult for others to always find time for a frequent traveler like me.
And most importantly, travel time multiplies by manifolds. So yes, I like traveling alone and I am thoroughly motivated and continuously happy through out.
Section 2 – Association with Ghumakkar
Ghum: How did you find Ghumakkar ?
Amit: I think through Google Search. I was looking for a holiday destination, which I do not exactly remember now. When I read a few stores, I thought its a good platform and so many good writer are here. During the same time, I was working on my blog as well. I read more of Ghumakkar and frankly I could not find any other side where one can read such rich experiences. There are sites where you can get a 10 line or 12 line hotel review or personal blogs but having a place where so many of travelers share notes, was something very exciting.
I thought that I would try writing here.
Ghum: You’ve been a member of Ghumakkar for a little more than 5 months and you’ve already published 22 stories. We hope to see you keep the pace. Where are you headed next?
Amit: The greatest epic Mahabharata touches my soul in many ways. So, now I have decided to trace the marks of Mahabharata in our time. I have already published first part of story that was related to Hastinapur in Ghumakkar, and looking forward to trace less traveled paths.
Ghum: We are glad that you found Ghumakkar. What motivated you to write your first story?
Amit: Ghumakkar is a great platform for both real travelers’ as well virtual travelers. There are many places that we aspire to go but the way stories are written on Ghumakkar is felt like we are actually there. So, when I found this site I really liked the content and the story of “Bhangarh” was the first story I had ever written and shared anywhere.
Ghum: You are the Featured Author for the month of September. How does it feel to be awarded with the title just 5 months after you joined Ghumakkar?
Amit: Ghumakkar is more like a family to all of us. I am glad and feeling honored of getting recognition in our family. I also got a beautiful gift from Ghumakkar, and I would like to thank for that too.
Ghum: Does Ghumakkar have an impact on your decisions or plans or on life in general? Do you think you’ve benefitted from becoming a part of this community?
Amit: When I wrote few stories and always get response for that it actually changes the way I used to see the place, or used to click the images. Now it is more like acquiring as much as information as possible so that others could also get benefitted from that like I learn from other stories.
Ghum: Do you have something to say to your fellow Ghumakkars?
Amit: I would like to thank all of them to read my stories and for giving words of appreciation and encouragement. When a person start writing travel stories he surely expect these words and our fellow Ghumakkar never fails to this expectation. This enthusiasm will always keep us going.
Ghum – Your favorites at Ghumakkar ?
Not in any order but I am impressed by a lot of writers. I would take a few names and the one who sits on top for me is Aditya. He is a true blue Ghumakkar, after all who in the world steps out on New Year’s eve to travel. His bike trip was inspiring. Then we have Sahil Sethi, Vinay Rajput and of course who can forget Sandeep Panwar. The list wont be complete without naming , Mahesh Semwal. I am yet to read everything Ghumakkar has but above are my favorites at this point of time.
So that finishes the interview. Congratulations Amit, once more and many more times, for being the featured author for September, 2011 and I wish you good luck for your travels. Keep traveling, keep sharing and keep inspiring.
Remain tuned to find out the Featured Ghumakkar Author for October, 2011.