DESIGN CREDITS: RAJESH NANDGOPAL
Journalist | Evolutionist | Conservationist
Author | Sue The Messenger
Co-author | Gas Wars
Author | Frontier Travails
Subir Ghosh is a Bengaluru-based independent journalist and researcher. He has worked with reputed news establishments during a career spanning 25 years, and also handled communications/publications for various organisations. Subir specialises in environmental politics and corporate corruption, besides writing about issues related to sustainable fashion and sustainable tourism. He has also authored/co-authored four books.
Coffee With Stayzilla: A Conversation With Subir Ghosh
1. As a writer, what fascinates your pen more: your personal experience at the destination, stories of the visited place, or something else?
Quite often, there is an overlap between the first two. Your personal experience becomes enriched because of the stories that the place has to tell you. Quite often like I said, but not always. Broadly, it needs to be the first. If you feel like writing about something, there needs to be a personal connect. It has to be your story of a place. Or else, it is only an extension of the second. The stories of a place are exclusive of you i.e. they exist without you ever going there. You can Google up all the stories without even leaving your home.
2. You have resided and worked in many Indian cities. If you were asked to write about your hometown, which place would that be, and why?
It would always be a place that you haven’t visited since you moved out of that city/town. If you re-visit a place say 20 years later, it is quite likely to be a let-down, a cruel assault on your memories. The old world charm would have faded away, and it would probably be just another mindless urban agglomeration. I’d rather not visit a place again because the happy memories that linger on your mind turn painful when you realise that the place is no more the same. I have no sense of roots; so, if it is a question of a hometown, it would always be the place where I currently live: Bengaluru, for now.
3. Your articles about sustainable, responsible tourism are thought-provoking. Which is your source of education?
It’s a question of a world view, one that evolves inside of you on its own, over the years: through education (read, reading) and first-hand knowledge (through travel). I have both worked in the tourism industry and been closely associated with environmental issues through by reportage/journalism. It’s very easy for me to see the interface and interplay between tourism and nature/wildlife/forests. And for the same reason it’s also very easy for me to conclude that there cannot be a niche called “sustainable tourism”; tourism itself needs to be sustainable. There’s no other way out.
4. Which one would you choose and why?
Treehouse | Jungle House | Boat House | Hill to House | Beach House | Tent | Skyscraper
A jungle house, any day. A beach house too, by definition, can be in the midst of nature, but the jungle has its own way of growing on you. The jungle can be serene and eerie at the same time; it can just suck you in. There’s something romantic, esoteric about the jungle. (He smiles)
5. Have you experienced a Homestay? If yes, describe your experience.
Yes, just that once in Sakleshpur. The family was quite hospitable and warm, but had little clue about how to run such a set-up. Maybe because they were new in the business, at that time. The food was good, homely and varied. It would have been a memorable stay in that serene place had it not been for the thoughtlessness of the man who was running the show there. To me, a Homestay needs to be about that personal touch. So, if there is even an iota of pettiness, it spoils the fun and ruins the experience.