Vibha, our editor at Ghumakkar, was visiting India and the selfish me wanted to utilize this to a great advantage for Ghumakkar. As some of you might know, after participating in the corporate rat race for many many years, she has moved to UK for some writing inspirations. Spending her time in the beautiful city of Newcastle, studying at University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, she has taken a great diversion from what she has been doing in recent past. Ghumakkar is blessed to have someone like her running the editorial department. So coming back to my selfish motives, I tried arranging a few in-person, face to face interactions with fellow Ghumakkars and we got lucky, since Mahesh not only readily agreed but also offered to drive all the way to Noida to meet us.
So there we were, three of us, chatting over soda-pops at Haldiram’s. It was delightful and I at least didn’t feel any strangeness while chatting with Mahesh. To me, it seemed as if I have known him for ever. His warmth won us over before we could beging to talk.
Q – How did you find out about Ghumakkar ? Tell us about life after Ghumakkar.
A – I make an annual pilgrimage to Doon during my kid’s summer vacations, since my in-laws are there. Every time, we try to plan for a quick excursion to a place which is not too far from Dehradoon. It was about two years back, i.e. 2009 and I was looking for some info about Lansdowne. I could find lot of sites which had basic information and mostly mentored by travel agents and tour operators. And while searching, I came across Ghumakkar and probably read this beautiful piece by Kumkum.
I tremendously liked the idea and after my trip, I wrote my first story at Ghumakkar which was on Lansdowne. You can read that story by clicking here – http://www.ghumakkar.com/2009/06/21/dehradun-lansdowne-gurgaon/
After that, there was no looking back. I think Ghumakkar greatly helps one to understand and know so much of the world around. Its fascinating to read about so many of these personal travel experiences. At my workplace, people call me a ‘Ghumakkar’. Off late I have got some health issues to take care of and that driving/walking long distances has not been easy but the urge to travel has only increased. I am now referred as ‘walking Ghumakkar encyclopedia’ in the matters of travel by my co-workers. That seems like a great compliment to carry.
Q - Thoughts about our monthly Newsletters. As you know, we do two newsletter every month. One on 15th of every month which goes far and wide and another at the end of month, just for the closely-knit community of Ghumakkar Authors. Has these been helpful to you ? What we can report/cover in these newsletters to make them useful ?
A – It is a great idea. The most notable is the ‘Featured Story’ since I may not had time to read everything and getting a quick reference helps a lot. I guess it should cover more of , what I call as, ‘Highlights of the Month’ ala Sapthakiki program of yesteryear Doordarshan days. If one can get a good concise glimpse of everything then there is this 2nd chance to not miss what just happened over last 30 days.
I know that these newsletters are getting archived as well and one can access older editions to catchup.
Q – Thoughts around Photo-blogs.
A – I think just having a photo blog is not very useful for the community. Unless there is enough text to explain the context, where exactly this place is, what season, which year and so on, a photo by itself doesn’t give much. There are many sites where one can find photos but then you can not make a travel decision just by looking at the photo. We should find a way to support these photos-blogs with real experiences.
In between we also talked about on what Mahesh has been doing in his work life, how it feels to be involved in super high end Medical diagnostics tools world where a single microscope may cost in excess of INR 1 Crore. His love for Gurgaon where he now lives and his annual travel to Doon and then further.
It was a very enriching and extremely rewarding experience for me (and I am guessing for Vibha as well) and we parted on the note that next meet needs to be with more people. We decided to make our first attempt at Ghumakkar living in Noida/GZB/Indirapuram/Delhi part of NCR so if you stay at one of the places and would want to sign-up, leave a comment.
Thank you Mahesh.