Manish started blogging almost 5 years back and in this short time, he has contributed significantly to Hindi Blogging on internet and is counted among the top Hindi bloggers. I reached out to Manish about 3 years back and he started writing his travel tales at Ghumakkar exactly two years back, i.e. July 4, 2009 with a brilliant piece on Kolkata. It was in hindi and here is the link of the story – http://www.ghumakkar.com/2009/04/07/कोलकाता-तोमार-कौतो-रुप/ . Please read it once you are done reading the interview.
Our editor, Vibha caught up with him over email and then I had a hearty chat with him on a long distance phone. I could sense that Manish loves good conversations. I was reluctant to not eat his entire night but we did end up spending enough time talking about traveling, how our views about travel is changing as a larger society, how what you write makes a difference to the bigger issue of self well-being and so on.
The below interview may not do complete justice to what we discussed but this is my best attempt at capturing our conversation in words.
Ghumakkar: Tell us about yourself. Who is Manish?
Manish : As a netizen I am a blogger who wants to express his passion for music & travel through blogging. In professional life I am a technocrat doing consultancy for Steel Authority of India Ltd in the area of thermal & energy engineering. I am based out of Ranchi, the beautiful capital city of Jharkhand.
Ghumakkar: All of your writing at Ghumakkar is in Hindi. What inspires you?
Manish : Hindi is my mother tongue & I feel I can best express myself in this language. Moreover 5 years ago when I started blogging in Hindi & English simultaneously it was Hindi which gave me instant recognition on the net. Its love of my readers & passion for my hobbies which keeps me going.
Ghumakkar – What about Hindi blogging and travel logs.
Manish – I am glad you asked this question. I have been very active in Hindi blogging and I read a lot of them. Since I have a deep interest in Music, Literature and Travel, I also read a lot of English blogs. You would be surprised to know that in case of travel, there are so many, simply so many, of English blogs where as it is not the case with Hindi. There are not many Hindi blogs of repute on travel. Travel writing is still not considered a prime ticket item in hindi blogsphere. There are thousands of blogs in Hindi where as a very few of them are on travel.
Ghumakkar – Traveling is gradually beginning to a part of lifestyle. The acceptance of travel amid larger section is growing. Your thoughts.
Manish : I would answer this question from two angles.
The first one is about understanding the social structure. I think, traveling has been there all the while. Our parents were traveling, if not more than what we travel but they were traveling. For Middle class or lower middle class, travel is a luxury. They can not afford this luxury multiple times a year so the travel becomes rare and when it happens, it is for a focused reason, most likely a pilgrimage. Almost very little of it happens on leisure. But if you look at upper middle class (say you and me), they considers this as a necessity. For them its a tool of education, something they would want to experience and plan for. When they budget things, they would keep aside some money for this activity. You would be surprised to know that even a non-metro like Ranchi sees a lot of international travel.
The other way is to look at from the angle of community. Bengalis and Gujaratis alway travel, whatever strata they are in. For them, it has to happen whereas if you look at MP/Bihar/UP belt, it is not as common. I think tourism Deptt needs to make things accessible in terms of money. It needs to happen at a wider level so that more travel can happen.
Ghumakkar: How long have you been travelling now? And what keeps you motivated?
Manish : Pardon !
Traveling do not need any motivation . Motivation is required when something becomes a chore or burden. On the contrary just planning for a new journey I get so excited. And to answer to the first part of your question right from the childhood days due to my father who also has similar passion.
Ghumakkar : What kind of places do you like to travel to?
Manish : I am not religiously inclined. So apart from religious places I love to go to any place which is naturally beautiful or has a great history. Some of my favourite locations are Havelock Island at Andamaan, Munnar Hills in Kerala, Gurudongmar in North Sikkim & Old Havelis of Jaisalmer.
Ghumakkar : What are your travel plans for the rest of 2011?
Frankly speaking nothing is final yet but North East, Uttarakhand, & Lahoul spiti are on my radar.
Section 2 – Ghumakkar and You
Ghumakkar: How did you come across Ghumakkar?
Manish : Because of Nandan ! His repeated comments on my travel post compelled me to join Ghumakkar . To tell you more, I have been reading Ghumakkar once in a while and decided to write some of my travel tales here, but it was not possible to write it in Hindi so I kept away. This did not deter Nandan and as soon as Hindi support was added, he pulled me there.
Ghumakkar: You have been with Ghumakkar for more than 2 years now. How has your experience been with Ghumakkar so far?
Manish : Well it is becoming more diverse more active community day by day. The spectrum of writing is really really wide. On one hand we have authors like Ram Dhall, who is simple a great delight to read. At times, I read his story with so much focus that I almost remember them word-by-word for many months. We have a lot of bikers, lot of young enthusiasts. It has been fun.
Ghumakkar: You have already published 12 stories at Ghumakkar. What keeps you with Ghumakkar?
Manish : Ghumakkar is a nice platform to reach out to other travel enthusiast. Initially I was not sure on writing in Hindi on a predominantly English web site. But gradually I found out that a sizable chunk of Ghumakkar readers are also interested in travelogue written in Hindi also. Infact Ghumakkar has shown the way to other web sites by starting bilingual travel platform,
Ghumakkar : Any personal favorites at Ghumakkar, the ones you do not miss to read.
Manish – That is a tricky one. Everyone really writes well at Ghumakkar but since you asked my personal favorite is Ram Dhall Sahib. He is simply superb. Manish Khamesra, Aurojit, Arvind Padmanabhan and Devasmita come to my mind and then there are few more which I am not able to recollect but in general the quality of writing at Ghumakkar is really high.
Ghumakkar: Do you have something to say to your fellow Ghumakkars?
I love reading a story when I can really get into the journey and feel like being with the writer. The interesting details of what someone did, why someone did that is much more enjoyable then reading plain data which one can find at so many travel websites. When I write a story, I do not focus much on information part. While information is definitely going to very helpful but frankly that is not what would make my story unique or difference. My suggestion to fellow Ghumakkars would be to take us on ride and not give too much of general information which any traveler can get from anywhere. If you share those little nuggest, those sweet nothing, I can tell you that your story would be much more appreciated.
Ghumakkar : Finally, what is one thing Ghumakkar should do ?
Manish : You are already doing a fab job but one thing which we should do as a community is having ‘meetups’. Do ‘Ghumakkar Meets’, ‘Ghumakkar Meets’ and ‘Ghumakkar Meets’. . There are few other things which we can do like having a thematic photo contest and someone can put a post including the best ten shots.
Thank you Manish for your time and responses which you sent via email and talking to Nandan. I would remember this conversation for a long time and I hope to do something for having at least one Ghumakkar meet sometime soon.
Readers – If you liked reading, leave a comment and I would update Manish. Also feel free to tell me on who you would want to read and know more in coming months.