Rocky and Mayur in conversation with Rachana Sharma.
Foodies and best friends Rocky
Singh and Mayur Sharma brought a healthy appetite and a large serving of irreverence to food journalism in their showHighway on My Plate but their next journey to Bhutan might not just be about a Lit Fest and the food.
- Now that you are in Bhutan how different or similar do you find these two countries?
Rocky: Visually for us it was a lot like Arunachal, when you are going to Arunachal from Assam there is a road that goes up, visually it was lot like that. It is extremely beautiful, extremely pristine wonderful greenery everywhere. That makes it look lot like parts of the northeast of India. And it is just a wonderful place. We don’t really feel like this is a foreign country. We feel like we are home. And the people make feel like that too, I think the people are warmest and most wonderful people I have met anywhere in the world.
- Any Bhutanese you might have heard of before coming to Bhutan?
Mayur: Drukpa Kuenley! It’s a hard one to get away from, and it’s very unusual. I was on trek and I asked why the phalluses have been used on houses then I heard the story of the divine madman. Then I bought a book. A lot of what he [Drukpa Kuenley] writes is actually very sensible, very normal. I heard the story of the four harmonious friends one time but I don’t remember things very well so I forgot about it.
- Since you are foodies, have you tried any street food here [in Bhutan]?
Mayur: Besides the ema datsi since we have only come in a day before and we have been doing all the official dinners and stuffs, the ema datsi is pretty much the only thing we have tried so far.
But we are excited. Rocky wants to dig his teeth into a yak burger. We will be going out and finding some of those. Ara is one the things that we are going to drink.
Rocky: Before I leave Bhutan in three days, I would have eaten 12 different things and drunk 4 things that you only get in Bhutan.
- So Mayur, this is your 3rd time?
Mayur: Yea, I go trekking. I have done the Gaya Lhasa trek, another one from Paro to Thimphu through the lakes and also the Taktshang. Next time I come I want to do the snow man trek.
Rocky: What I would I like to come back to Bhutan for is the birds. I am an ornithologist and have studied birds for a year and I am a bird photographer. I have to come back to Bhutan for birding; I have just realized how beautiful it is for birds.
- What are your thoughts on mountain echoes, what kind of impact does it have?
Rocky: The important thing to know about lit fest is that it gives local people a chance to gain from the experience and exposure from the people in the profession of literary works have, because where else would get a chance to hear people talk. For example, we have a simple approach to food, we had a very simple talk but I could see people really listening and paying attention. You know, because you have to realize that there is nothing that people in Bhutan can’t do. They can do whatever they want. May it is just the lack of confidence somewhere. Things like Mountain Echoes really drive that confidence forward. That is the one reason why it is critical for places like Bhutan to bring more exposure to the people through things like mountain echoes.