Has the coronavirus pandemic disrupted your plan to take that long trip? Is the ongoing lockdown making you crave going off-road? Fret not. If you can’t go to the highway, Rocky, Mayur, Prashant, and Abhinandan — the team behind shows like Highway On My Plate, Vital Stats of India, Jai Hind, and Rocky and Mayur's Food Xpress — will bring the highway to you!
So, here goes the newest offering from Newslaundry: Highway On My Podcast. The creators of the much loved TV travel show revisit their travels across India, sharing stories, anecdotes, trivia, and — for when the roads are open and inviting again — recommendations on food, culture, people, and much more.
In the light of the loss of 20 Indian soldiers killed in action in the Galwan Valley, Highway On My Podcast decided to dedicate this episode to our men and women who survive extreme conditions for our safety and well-being.
So, Rocky, Mayur, Abhinandan and Prashant take you to various defence campuses across the country, which they had the fortune to visit during their 24-episode stint of Jai Hind. They travel from the freezing cold of -25° Celsius locations to excruciatingly hot terrains where army personnel train in 49° Celsius heat.
The conversation begins with the group discussing their reactions to the Galwan Valley deaths. Rocky corrects Abhinandan when he uses the term “martyred”, explaining that he prefers the army terminology of “KIA”, or “killed in action”. Prashant remembers how cold, dark and harsh it gets in Galwan, and says, “I can’t imagine what they went through.”
Skipping his usual cheeky approach to life, Rocky, who lost his father in action during the 1971 war, passionately speaks about the futility of war. He describes the loss of reality that looms over talking heads calling for war from television studios, and the sheer respect he has for the forces. At any point of time, an army man is ready to fight for his country. But, he adds, “If you need to go to war, have a very good reason for it.”
On a visit to the Eastern Air Command in Shillong, the group reminisces about a funny story involving Rocky’s broken leg, made worse by Abhinandan’s miscalculated bravado. While talking about shooting somewhere in the desert, Prashant describes the minimalism of the fauji lifestyle and why army men stand apart from a crowd. Speaking of the desert, Abhinandan remembers being around one of the world’s only mounted cavalry, and also how a platoon erected a kitchen and a dining area in the middle of the desert in no time.
Another memorable experience was a formal dinner with the para commandos, made special by the tradition and discipline enforced. According to protocol, Abhinandan explains, the main seat is taken by the senior-most officer, and nobody starts eating until food is served to the last person in the room. Once the food is served, the senior officer raises a toast to the president, who is the head of the army, along with the others in the room. Only once the officer picks up his spoon do the others begin eating. The coordination runs like clockwork, with everyone functioning in tandem.
Towards the end of the podcast, Rocky and Mayur recollect the various times they underwent training during their travels, and Rocky’s experience of firing a medium machine gun while shooting with the Garud Commandos. They also talk about sitting around a bonfire with jawans and swapping stories and singing songs, and the glorious time they spent with men and women around the country who make up the most efficient institution this country has ever had.
All this and more, only on Highway On My Podcast.
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