5 Steps to create a series of posts at Ghumakkar

Often, we are in a situation where we have visited a number of places as part of some long vacation and when it comes to writing a trvelogue at Ghumakkar, we do not want to write all of it in one single story. In fact the vacation may not be long and you may want to break your short vacation story in few parts. Breaking not only helps you to better focus on each location/place in the right detail but it also helps the reader since not everyone would want to do the same vacation with the same itinerary.

In all these cases, wont it be nice if a reader who reaches any of your stories through a ‘Google Search’ or while browsing the site, is presented with a small ‘Table of Content’ with links of the all the stories of that particular vacation.

Well, you can do this at Ghumakkar and here’s a small tutorial to achieve this. At the end of this post, I would also give you some links where this is being used at Ghumakkar.

5 Steps to create a series of posts at Ghumakkar

1. Write first post and Save it. Once saved, Edit the post and go to the bottom of the page. You would find two boxes like this

In the left box, choose “New Series” , click ‘Start’ and input a name. Click Save at the top right to save this.

What you have just done is that you have created a new Series and attached your first story with the series. Lets say that you create a new series called “Delhi – Sangla – Kaza – Manali – Delhi”

2. Now go ahead and publish the post.

3. Assuming that you would want to write another post for the same series, write another post/story and after saving again go to bottom.

This time, instead of choosing ‘New Series’, pick the name which you have created last time. See the snapshot below. And select ‘End’.

4. Now suppose you want to add another story, simple repeat the 2nd step. What the software does in the background is that it would make the current ‘End’ as ‘2nd Last’ and the latest one as ‘Last’. It all works on the dates so the latest becomes the newest. ‘Start’ is the oldest in the series but in ‘Table of Content’ it appears first.

5. Nothing and enjoy your series of posts and send the link to your best friends. This is what a reader of your story would see if he finds any of your stories.

hope this is useful.If you have any questions please write a small comment below and I would promptly get back to you.

Till then, happy Ghumakkari and happy writing !!

Writing a Story at Ghumakkar

Time to summarize few things so that its more accessible and makes it easy for me to redirect new Ghumakkars here than writing again, lazy me.

How you can keep contributing.

1. Try to write the story at the site itself or in a notepad and not MS-Word. Microsoft puts a lot of formatting information in its documents which are not well understood by web browsers, so simple text works fine.

2. Pick all your pics and then resize them using any image editing program. A smaller pics makes the story load faster, especially on bandwidth challenged places in India. I use http://webresizer.com/resizer/ to resize my pics. A width of 550 pixels works great in current layout. It might look like a pain but all good works involve some pain.

3. Insert pics. Here’s a short tutorial http://jhaji.blogspot.com/2008/08/how-to-insert-photos-in-wordpress-25.html . Skip the part which talks about resizing since you have already done it using 2.

4. When done, after first para and a pic, click this [more] button.

When you click this button, it inserts a break-point in the story which ensures that the home page only shows a fraction of the story and one has to click on the title or on ‘Click here to read full story” link. When someone does that then the real story page opens, e.g. http://www.ghumakkar.com/2009/08/23/walking-tour-of-isle-of-arran-scotland/ and ‘views’ gets recorded. If you look at the left corner, you would see ‘Recent Most Viewed’ so if your story gets enough views, it reaches there hence any new visitor would have a greater chance to find your story and read further.

and finally, never ever hesitate to write to me for any and everything. If all of the above sound like a big hassle then just write your story, collect your pics and send both to me over e-mail and I would get it done.

Happy Ghumakkari and Happy writing.

Website Links for Indian Railways

I am an old user of http://irctc.co.in, the revolutionary Indian Railways website through which you can book rail tickets, get PNR information etc. I remember that there was this website called Indianrail.gov.in which would give you the latest ‘Time Table’ and all that. Recently I learned about a new website which is really a high speed functional side, though the user-interface is a little geeky, its called erail.in. With these thoughts, I think
it might be a good idea to pick the important ones and put them in this post so that it can act as a a quick reference.

Top Websites for Indian Railways
1. http://www.indianrail.gov.in/index.html – This is the official website and is a decent site but overtime other sites are offering better features. But its still the offical site, so you want to check ‘Ticket Cancellation Rules’ or ‘Break Journey Rules’ or want to know the websites of Easter, Western or other zone then visit this site.

2. http://irctc.co.in/ – This is the ticketing site and is being managed by ‘Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited’. Beyond ticket booking, probably I wont recommend this site for anything else. I heard that now you can book tickets at some of the private websites (likes of make my trip, Yatra etc) as well but this is still the so called ‘official’ one. Its excruciatingly slow at times but still functional.

3. http://erail.in/ – This is my pick these days and I keep folks referring to this one. Its a no frill but very complex website which is meant to give you the information you need in no time. Its a feature-rich site and it may take few visits to really understand the user-interface but once you have a good hang of it, just visit this. You can get train time table, seats availability, trains between two stations etc in a jiffy.

4. http://www.trainenquiry.com – This is one website which seemed to me ahead of time when I discovered it. This site gives you the running information of any train in real time. If enough awareness is spread, it can save lots of calls which people frenetically make to Railways to find out the running information. This is maintained by CRIS. I think they should get into with some kind of deal with telecom providers so that I can get SMS for any train, if I register. It could be a simple alert service where I can ask myself to be notified everytime it has a new information for a train. For a 18 hour journey, usually the status is not updated more than 5-6 times, so if I need to go to station to pick someone, i would have the latest info.

5. http://irfca.org/ – Finally the website of rail fans. If you are one then you dont need to know what is Rail fan. If you are a Rail lover then you must visit this site.

I would close my list here but I know that I must have missed some so let me know (post a comment) and I would add them here.

Pre-Paid Booth at IGI Airport-Delhi and our readiness for interanational tourists

We were coming back after a short holiday at Dubai. As we touched down, we called three Radio Taxis. Routes, the first one didn’t pick up. Then we called Megacab and they refused to give one for Noida/Indirapuram. Then we called Easycab and we were told to ask for the Taxi at the airport since they have a counter there. One of our friends has already tried Quickcabs (or somthing like that) and they also do not cover Noida/Indirpuram. So we waited for the counter.

After our share of immigration, where strangely the guy who was manning the desk asked me that why I came back early, he was bluffing to make me say something odd, dont know why. It was a 3 day simple trip and probably I spent less time to really make good value of the all the expenses, but it was none of his business. Anway, I told him that the plan was to come back so I didn’t really come early and I looked sorry to disappoint him.

We finally got out of Customes and headed for EasyCabs counter. We were told that we would need to wait for 15 minutes. Being alert and frequent travelers, we guessed it that the guy doesn’t really know, when a Taxi would be available. If its indeed available in 15 minutes then they would say that its waiting at the gate. So I went to Pre-Paid booth which is run by ‘Delhi Traffic Police’. I was non-politely refused when I asked for a cab for Noida. After thinking for another 40 seconds or so, we decided to take one till Delhi-UP border and request my brother-in-law to fetch us from there.

So much for so called NCR, where one even can not get a TAXI.

I paid , it was to be Rs 405 till Ghazipur. We exited, went to another counter. A guy there wrote a Taxi no. Located that Taxi. It was the old classic Amby which has lived its good times. The driver, Ashok Kumar, was courteous enough to open the boot but stayed away from my luggage, such show of respect of privacy was not observed when you are dealing with Radio Taxi, they would rather snatch your valuable heavy luggage. Anway, we got in. It was a non-Air conditioned vehicle with unclean seat-covers. But getting Delhi air after Dubai was still great fun. He dropped us at Ghazipur in 45 minutes, that was very quick. We got out, took our luggage out ourseves, this time he gave me the opportunity of opening the boot. As you would have guessed, I took the luggage out, gave him the pre-paid slip, thanked him and headed towards my bro-in-law’s car.

This was a experience of a localite, imagine what can happen to a new person. Incredible India. I hope someone reads this and may be takes some action.

Fill Passport form online

My passport is expiring, been 10 years and I needed to renew it. About 2 year back, I had really harrowing time dealing with things at Ghaziabad Regional Passport Office, getting things done. So I was expecting something similar but it seems that I had my share of passport office pains. So, while talking to a colleague, I came to know that one can now fill the passport form online. Wow. I still could not believe it but it worked for me, at least so far. So I thought that I would share this so that it might be helpful for other people.

The process is simple. Go to http://passport.nic.in. Not all passport offices have this facility so find out whether your passport office is covered or not. As of now 36 office are covered under this. Click here to see the complete list.

Fill the form. Choose ‘Cash’ as the option for fees. After you are done filling, you would be asked to choose a time for appointment. They do not give me many choices but its still much better then the past when you need to be in queue. After you are done, you would notice that a PDF filled form is opened in the browser. Take a print. Check it again to see if there are un-filled sections. Take supporting documents.

Go to passport office on the day/time as per your appointment and ask for the queue of ‘online’. Submit and you are done.