Ghumakkar Digest – October and November

Dear Friends,

Hope you are in high spirits and with the New Year around the corner preparing your list of resolutions. Though I am not a great fan of New Year Resolutions, there’s going to be at least one item on my list this time. A Healthy Lifestyle. Over the past six months, my lifestyle has changed considerably and professionally I often find myself alone in stressful situations. Add to that a desk job and unlimited access to coffee. So just putting two and two together, I seem to be headed towards a very unhealthy future.

Health is an inconvenient topic, even to those of us who are physically in top shape. So when a doctor (especially if the said doctor also happens to be a family member) starts suggesting yearly health checkups, we run for cover. “अरे यार, जितना इन सब चीज़ों के चक्कर में पड़ो उतना ही ज़्यादा बीमार पड़ते हैं.” is often our exasperated response. Or even better “My friend XYZ’s  uncle’s cousin was absolutely fine and then one day he got a medical checkup done. Now he is on lifelong medicine for high BP,” we respond shaking our head dismissively. And that is why we declare it is better to stay away from doctors and hospitals as much as possible. Health, which should be our top priority, unfortunately often slides down to the bottom of our to-to list. I have been guilty of this almost throughout my life.

Good health is even more important for people who love travelling. And there are several reasons for that. First of all, many travelers like to visit a variety of terrain. Some climb the highest mountains, while others go scuba diving, some cross deserts, while others walk through jungles. And none of these activities are easy. So we need to be in good health to be able to make the most of the travelling opportunities that may come our way. Travelers often travel to remote places, to villages that may not have the best medical facilities, and to forests in the middle of nowhere. If we are in top shape and conscious about our health, we are less likely to land ourself in a medical emergency.

healthAnd then it comes to the unspeakable – when a traveler needs to cancel a travel plan because of being unwell. Can there be anything worse than this? Of course there can be. There can be several things far worse than this but I am not going to get into all that.

True, my friend XYZ’s Uncle’s Cousin was put on lifelong medication after he got a medical checkup done, but it wasn’t the medical checkup that gave him hypertension. He was perhaps living with this risky disease for several years before it was diagnosed and God know what could have happened had the person not gone for a medical checkup. But ignoring a doctor’s advise is as common to us as ignoring that scary label on a cigarette packet or the common sense that too much alcohol is bad for our health.

So we go on living in a denial of the fact that at any points in our adult life, our body isn’t getting any younger. And that we need to take care of it. If we have missed the bus to preventive care, we absolutely need to take curative measures, to make sure that we are able to live a life we want to and travel to all those exotic places on our must-visit lists.

I hope I haven’t brought down your spirits with this long sermon on health, and I hope you haven’t already tuned out. I do sincerely hope that you are still with me in welcoming our new authors, and the many more exciting things that follow:

In his first travelogue on Ghumakkar, Dr Prabhat Tandon took along on a mesmerizing trip to Sravasti. After the fluid, well-researched, and well-narrated part I of this trip, we are waiting eagerly for the part II. But in the meanwhile, here is a bit about the author, from his blog:

जन्म भूंमि और कर्म भूमि लखनऊ !! वर्ष १९८६ में नेशनल होम्योपैथिक कालेज , लखनऊ से G.H.M.S. किया , और सन १९८६ से ही इन्टर्नशिप के दौरान से ही प्रैक्टिस मे संलग्न .. वर्ष १९९४ मे P.H.M.S. join करते-२ मन बदला और तब से प्राइवेट प्रैक्टिस मे …।

मैं डां प्रभात टन्डन” “होम्योपैथी नई सोच/ नई दिशायें  का संस्थापक/प्रशासक  हूँ । “होम्योपैथी नई सोच/ नई दिशायें ” इंटरनेट पर अपनी तरह का सबसे ज्यादा पढ़ा जानेवाला होम्योपैथिक का हिंदी ब्लॉग है । इस ब्लाग का  उद्देशय होम्योपैथिक चिकित्सा क्षेत्र मे निरंतर हो रहे शोध कार्यों और गतिविधियों को आपके सामने रखना है ।

Click here to read his story.

16-year-old Sarthak, with his debut travelogue on Ghumakkar, takes us on an exploratory trip to Kalakund, the place that, as you can perhaps guess from the name, has contributed a lot to the Indian mithai industry. Here is a bit about Sarthak in his own words:

I’m a 16 year old guy, an aspiring writer, nature-lover and a keen traveler. Though I don’t have many travel experiences, as my age suggests, but every travel teaches me a lesson and revamps my thoughts. I have keen interest in exploring new places and culture. I would try my best to make you live my travel experiences through my travel tales. Hope you enjoy it.

Click here to read his story.


And as our new Authors begin to settle down among constantly moving people, here is a post commentary of Oct and Nov from Nandan. Naturebuff took us to avian ride of Himalayas with non-stop travel to Spiti, Lahaul and finally very close to Leh. Apart from the travel log, the ornithology comes free, make use of it. And as Naturebuff inches close to Leh, another veteran traveller, Anupam who is now headed to Hornbill Festival, Nagaland, as per my trusted sources, started his steady drive to Leh. And we had more of Hills via Mukesh’s log on ‘Bijli Mahadev’ and SilentSoul’s log on Jalori. Hills has been a favourite among Ghumakkars and there was more on it including this FOG (First on Ghumakkar) by Shefali on Morni Hills in Haryana. Not to be left out, Pradeep’s family tour to Nainital closes the hill hike. Steering a bit east, we had a detailed log on Chilka by Sumit. You would have already heard about Kalakund when we introduced Sarthak but to keep our taste-buds occupied, do read this story from Pam on the delicacies of Ahmedabad. To cite from the story”

“We had lots of Gujarati specialties include Dhokla, Khandvi, Fapda, Gathia, Bhajiya, PuramPuli,Panipoori… & the taste was amazing, with sweet added in every food. Ahmedabad is a foodie city alright – Gujaratis love their farsaan, dhokla, theplas and thalis.”

And if you had enough of Khakras and Fafdas, then head to Royal Mewar with Vijay. Experience the sights and sounds of Udaipur, Kumbhalgarh, Ranakpur and more in this three part series. We cross a few borders and go further west to Jeddah with Dr Taher. Getting back and going further south, Naresh landed in Mumbai and has promised himself to write at least one story every week and he is going great. Moving past Mumbali, Mala took us on a holy trip to Rameshwaram, Madurai and Kanyakumari. Read it if you have been planning that mother-of-all-pilgrimage tour. From down south, we go to far east and visit Shillong with Sucheta and again come back to our poet and philosopher Avtar. His four part series on Philosophy, Hindi writing conventions, spirituality (and a bit of sight seeing as a detour) is a treat to read. Do not forget to read the lively comments. Hope my post commentary would keep you busy for many more weeks.

Thank you Nandan and now is the time for ‘Featured Story for the month of Oct and Nov’ and it is none other than Naturebuff’s inspiring tale of his drive from Goa to Leh.

On his incredible journey, which isn’t over yet, Naturebuff educated us on flaura and fauna with his wonderful commentary and brilliant pics. We would also like to mention that this ride was for AIDS awareness and to be able to do that every single day on this long marathon trip, it needs a lot of perseverance. We salute the attitude and the spirit that makes this mammoth task possible.

Here is an excerpt from his story:

“Moving ahead we come to the famed Morey Plains. A vast area of flat land surrounded by mountains… with Kiang (Wild Asses) grazing lazily in small probably family groups and loads of little birds foraging around the roadsides as well as the small clumps of grasses around. These plains are high altitude semi-desert plains at just under 4800 mtrs and part of the Tibetan plateau kind of habitat. The flora and fauna here also exemplifies this fact. Tibetan Larks, Horned Larks, Twite, Great Rosefinch, Tibetan Snowfinch…”

And now, for a bit of inside news, meant only for your eyes and ears. No, we’re kidding. Go on and spread the word, for National Geographic has done the honour and published Silent Soul’s picture on its website. Click here to see the picture and read the delightful story behind it that makes this shot so special. 

And now on this happy note, I would like to take your leave for the time being. Hope to catch you soon and in the meanwhile do travel a lot and also take lots of care of yourself and your family. Let’s gear up for a hail and hearty new year ahead.




  • Nice sum up of Oct. and Nov. blogs. Thanks Vibha for sharing it with us.
    Congrats to Naturebuff for his story of the month.

    • Vibha says:

      Thanks Naresh for reading the entire Newsletter. I was worried that all that talk about health is going to put people off, but felt that it needed to be done.

  • Naturebuff says:

    A lot has happened over these two months. Thanks Vibha for the overview. Thank you Naresh for the compliment!

  • SilentSoul says:

    Thanks vibha for this post. You are right that by not getting ourselves checked leads to future complications… like I never believed I can have diabetes, but when it was diagnosed, it had done lot of harm to my bodies.

    Congrats Naturebuff for the selection… truly deserving post

    And thanks for mentioning selection of my foto by NG, a matter of pride for me and a share goes to Ghumakkar also, as it was here that I was bitten by ?????????? ?? ?????

    • Vibha says:

      Thanks SS. Diabetes is another story altogether. I have a lot of trouble convincing loved ones who are on medication for diabetes that the medicine will continue lifelong. They feel that the doctors are over-treating them, whereas the truth is that they have ignored diabetes for so long that now there is no other option.

      Good that you got your checkup done and are now managing your diabetes. Take loads of care.

  • Pamela says:

    Thank you Vibha for this refreshing post. Feeling glad to see my name there ;)..Keep traveling with sound health :)

  • Sudip says:

    Nice Post, Vibha!

  • Nandan Jha says:

    You talk of health and I read as if you are taking a jibe at me. During the weekend, I was at Rishikesh with a bunch of young (and never-ever-getting-fatigued) souls. From the main road the camp was at least 500 meter down via a make-shift kuccha road. It was HARD. Then comes the walking on the sand. Next day when we had to return, I was to do that hike of 500 meters and by the time I was back to main road, I carried a good enough cramp in my right thigh. For last two days, I am moving around with this theatrical gait and then you read this log on health. Good, please write more of such things so that more of us begin to adopt a healthy life style.

    Coming back to Ghumakkar, a warm welcome to Dr. Tandon and Sarthak.

    A big Himalayan shout for Naturebuff and a hot (though the photo was in iceland) hug for SS, for wining us the laurels.

    May you all continue to do bigger and better. Amen

    • Vibha says:

      Of course I was taking a jibe at you, Nandan. On a serious note, there are a few lifestyle changes I wish you would make. Will talk offline sometime. :)

  • I was travelling so I am late here. But this health topic is much needed to talk about. So thanks to you for talking about the health here. Now I will set my example and perhaps my friend will get it right. I was a smoker for 22 years with minimum 10 numbers in each day, I gave that up for last 2 and 1/2 years. Now I save Rs.10 x 10 Nos x 30 days x 12 months= Rs.36,000/-. Out of that saving I spend around Rs.6000/- for yearly health check up and with the balance I go on a trip.

    Thanks once again

    • Vibha says:

      That is one very valuable piece of information. Thanks for sharing, Anupam. Staying healthy is actually profitable for you even in tangible monetary terms. :)

  • @Naturebuff- Many Many Congratulations to You.

  • No doubt that regular health check up is very much important for early diagnosis which is very much helpful for treatment.

    Some of the diseases are not treatable in later stage.

    Great Job Vibha !

    Congratulations Naturebuff !

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