Aheady combination of sensualist and gourmand adventurism, Rocky Singh is a veritable bundle of good cheer and he believes in living life immensely well. Cohosting the NDTV Good Times food travel show, “Highway On My Plate”, with his partner, Mayur Sharma, the foodie anchor is already burning the midnight oil with his third book on the greatest passion of all Indians: Food. The show, meanwhile, has completed a record 230 episodes shot during travels of over 200,000 km on the highways of India.
Chatting with The Daily Guardian on his favourite topic — food and street side sustenance — Rocky answers some questions for our readers.
Q. How did you discover new places where you could go eat? Did this depend on long queues and crowds, as in how popular are they and the food turnover?
A. Initially we would plan a route, let’s say Delhi to Manali and break it up into 200 km of driving per day. On that stretch we would get all the journalists writing about food to send us a list of the best eating joints that have been written about for decades. And this was mainly street and regional food, not 5-stars as those were unaffordable to the common man. As time went on, we started gathering data from bloggers and locals. Like enroute to Chandigarh, Gulshan Dhaba in Murthal is the best for breakfast with their freshly cooked paranthas and garam garam chai. The whole mission was about the journey of bringing the glory of Indian food to our viewers.
Q. In the dining out experience, would you consider desi ghee as a secret ingredient to enhance the taste of food?
A. Desi ghee has been a very active Indian ingredient for centuries, highly healthy and is used to intensify the flavour of the food, provided you know how to use it correctly. Making a dosa with ghee can completely alter the taste, or even dousing idlis with gunpowder and ghee, as opposed to using regular cooking oil. Add a dollop of smoking hot ghee with garam masala tadka to the cooked mutton curry and trust me, this will make your mutton finger-licking good. Desi ghee is a very powerful ingredient and is a superfood.
Q. Have you ever had any encounter with a world famous personality?
A. We keep meeting people from different walks of life. We were shooting at Raan of Kutch for the Raan Utsav, a carnival of music and dance. It was a full-moon night and with a full-lunar eclipse to follow. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was then the Chief Minister of Gujarat, had come to inaugurate the festival. He recognised us as he had watched the show and it was a pleasure interacting with him. We have had several actors on our show. Few of the most memorable ones are Ajay Devgn, Alia Bhatt, Arshad Warsi. Ajay has a very pleasant personality. We have shot with him, eaten with him, shared many jokes; he has a fabulous sense of humour and is very jocular. This was just before his film Golmaal got released.
Q. What got you and Mayur to conceptualise “Highway On My Plate” and its title?
A. The show was started by NDTV Good Times. They were looking for actors to anchor it. The director, Abhinandan Sekhri, called us and as we were very familiar with most of the food pit stops in India’s trucking routes, we got the deal of anchoring a food and travel show that went on to become the country’s most popular cult show on food. The title was apt and described the show very well. We have had at least seven shows, on food and travel, across India now, on four different channels. One particular show is on the rarest foods, smelliest foods, most expensive foods, spiciest foods.
Q. Have you been road tripping to any secret hidden away spots?
A. On our show, we target spots that not many people might know about. My list of secret spots:
1. Khayam Chowk, Srinagar: Best Kebabs, Boti and Seekh
2. Das Surti Khaman Wala, Ahmedabad: Best Khaman Dokhla and Farsaan
3. Mylai Karpagambal Mess, Chennai: Traditional Tamil foods like pongal, podi dosa and snacks.
4. Spicy Venue Hyderabad: MLA PotlAM Biryani that is eaten with Uluvacharu and pickles. Gongura Mamsam-mutton, Royala Iguru-prawns, Chapala Pulusu-fish curry.
5. Niglat, Near Bhimtal: Best filo pastry and incredible Western food.
Q. Which are your favourite eating-places and your favourite dishes?
A. My choicest of food in the whole of India is Tundey Kabab at the world famous Tundey Kababi at Chowk, in Lucknow The kababs are juicy and made traditional style. I also love Kerala cuisine, and my favourite eating joint is in Hotel Grand, in Kochi, Karimeen Pollichathu, and my chosen dish is Pearl Spot fish with many spices wrapped and cooked in a banana leaf. Just outside Bhubaneswar, Odisha, is a place called Chilika Dhaba and the best thing to eat there is the masala prawn; for Rs 70, you can get 10 large prawns, fresh out of Chilika lake right next door.
Q. Your five travel and eatingrelated tips for your fans.
A. 1. Carry your own drinking water, avoid drinking water anywhere outside.
2. Never make your travel about the destination only, as the journey itself is important. Stop on the way to take in sights of historic monuments, sunsets, landscapes. These all go down as memories to treasure.
3. When you are in a particular region, you must sample the fare of that place. Eating pizzas in let’s say Rajasthan is blasphemy. The authenticity of regional fare is supreme.
4. If you are looking to eat well, then ask around from your local cabbie, concierge, travel desk, and of course the locals. You cannot really go wrong. These guys always know which are the best eateries to go to. There are also bloggers covering cities and towns and a quick search will yield great results.
5. Our channel rockyandmayur on YouTube will give you all the information on nine cities in India for the best restaurants, diners and shacks you could visit. Rest of the food-related data you can get in our books, which highlight every restaurant we have eaten at, like a food wiki giving the phone numbers, directions, what you should eat, etc.
Q. Do you enjoy cooking?
A. In the mid-1990s, I opened my own restaurant called Café Spice, specialising in Punjabi and Mughlai food. This was in Dilshad Garden, East Delhi. I had a passion for great cooking and I ran the restaurant for seven months, indulging in my ongoing interest. I enjoy cooking street-style Thai food as I trained in Thailand with street vendors, mastering the art of making great Thai food from scratch, using fresh ingredients.
The Daily Guardian is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@thedailyguardian) and stay updated with the latest headlines.
For the latest news Download The Daily Guardian App.
DISHA PATANI GROOVES TO‘YEH KAALI KAALI ANKHEIN’ SONG
MUMBAI : Actor Disha Patani seems to be enthralled by Netflix’s latest offering ‘Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein’. On Saturday, Disha took to Instagram and shared a video of her grooving to the show’s title track.
For the unversed, the Netflix series has derived its title from Shah Rukh Khan’s hit song ‘Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein’ from the film ‘Baazigar’. With her video, Disha has started #YKKAGroove Instagram Reels Challenge.
Talking about the same, Disha said, “I’m a fan of 90s thrillers – the pulp, the catchy music, the drama and the action – they are complete entertainers that keep you hooked. Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein takes inspiration from these! When I heard that Netflix is also coming out with a new rendition of the iconic song, I was super thrilled to listen to it. It was a lot of fun performing this reimagined version! We are all very excited to kickstart the #YKKAGroove Instagram Reels Challenge and I cannot wait to see what the fans are going to do with the challenge to make it their own!” ‘Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein’ features Tahir Raj Bhasin, Shweta Tripathi, and Anchal Singh in the lead roles.
VICKY KAUSHAL, SARA WRAP UP LAXMAN UTEKAR’S UNTITLED FILM
NEW DELHI : Months after working for filmmaker Laxman Utekar’s untitled film, actors Vicky Kaushal and Sara Ali Khan have wrapped the shooting in Indore.
Actor Sharib Hashmi, who is playing a pivotal role in the movie, took to his Instagram handle and shared two pictures from the wrap party on the film set. The post that was shared on Saturday night features the whole cast and crew of the yet to be titled film.
Sharing the pictures, Hashmi wrote a heartfelt note that read, “Made beautiful memories on the sets of this beautiful (yet untitled) film with a dream team. Produced by the awesommme @maddockfilms @pvijan”
The ‘Filmistaan’ actor also praised Utekar, Sara and Vicky in the caption. “Director Saaab @laxman.utekar sirrr matlab aapne dil jeet liya ekdum ich @raghav_dop mere bhaii you’re a sweetheart [?] @vickykaushal09 ab main aur bvada wala fan ho gaya hoon yaarrr tumhara @saraalikhan95 aap staron jaisa behave .. kyun nahin karti yaarr. you’re such a sweetheart really,” Hashmi wrote.
SHAH RUKH SENDS HANDWRITTEN NOTE TO ‘GOOD SOUL’ EGYPTIAN FAN
UMBAI : Shah Rukh Khan has once again proved that he’s the king of hearts by his touching gesture of sending an autographed picture and handwritten note for an Egyptian travel agent fan.
On December 31, 2021, a Twitter user, Ashwini Deshpande, had shared that an Egyptian travel agent trusted her during a money transfer issue because she is from the country of Shah Rukh Khan. She tweeted, “Needed to transfer money to a travel agent in Egypt. Was having problems with the transfer. He said: you are from the country of @iamsrk. I trust you. I will make the booking, you pay me later. For anywhere else, I wouldn’t do this. But anything for @iamsrk. & he did!”
The tweet went viral and after meeting SRK’s fan, Deshpande requested Red Chillies Entertainment for an autographed photo of SRK for the Egyptian fan’s daughter.
She tweeted, “My husband & I finally met the man in this story today! I told him about the tsunami of good cheer his story generated. @RedChilliesEnt: he would be delighted with a photo of @iamsrk, autographed in his daughter’s name if possible. Please DM me if this can be arranged, thanks!” Their wish was fulfilled, as on Saturday, Deshpande updated that they have received three signed pictures of SRK along with a personalised message. She shared, “A very happy ending to this story. 3 photos signed by SRK arrived today, one with the nicest message for the Egyptian travel agent, one for his daughter & one for mine @Ketaki_Varma. Thanks @pooja_dadlani for getting in touch & of course to @iamsrk for the gracious gesture.”
In the handwritten note for his fan from Egypt, Shah Rukh wrote, “Thank you for being kind to my fellow Indian. Very gracious and generous of you. May your kind of good souls multiply.”
DEEPIKA REACTS TO HER CHEMISTRY WITH HRITHIK IN ‘FIGHTER’
NEW DELHI: Siddharth Anand’s highly-anticipated film ‘Fighter’ starring Deepika Padukone and Hrithik Roshan has already created a buzz on social media.
While ‘Fighter’ marks the first collaboration between Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone on screen. In a recent interaction with a news agency, the Chhapaak’ actress opened up on her chemistry with Hrithik Roshan in ‘Fighter’. The actress explained that she always wanted to work with him.
According to her, sometimes it’s not just about wanting to work with someone, she just feel like there are so many things, it has to be the right script, it has to be the right director, it has to be the right time in your life.
Elaborating further, Deepika added that there are so many things that decide. The actress feels that it’s the right time for us to come together.
Meanwhile, the actress is gearing up for the upcoming Shakun Batra directorial romantic movie that have been going on in full swing since the makers dropped the film›s trailer on January 20. It also stars Siddhant Chaturvedi, Ananya Panday, Dhairya Karwa, Naseeruddin Shah and Rajat Kapur in pivotal roles. The movie will have its OTT world premiere across more than 240 countries and territories on February 11, 2022.
CLASSICAL MUSIC CAN BE YOUR SAFE SPACE
I had an interesting session today with a student of music. This session was one that had to combine therapy with music, since the student in question had approached me with a specific purpose. She wanted to see how learning and engaging in classical music could help her through some life challenges she was facing. The first five or six sessions with her, over the past few weeks, were simply about trying to understand her life and difficulties. Through these sessions, I had taken her through some breathing and singing exercises that involved stabilizing her voice, breath and mind. I had also begun doing some music exercises with her. In today’s session, I began by asking her how she was feeling. This was just a general question I had posed, since I did not expect our sessions to have started influencing her mental state just yet. But what she said took me by pleasant surprise.
She said that she was already feeling very deeply helped because she felt ‘safe’ in the presence of music. She felt like she was in the presence of something pristine and beautiful, and that that itself was immensely healing. She had, in addition, been listening to links to my classical music concerts, and said that the sound of classical music made her feel safe and happy already. I responded by saying that I had not even begun doing the meatier stuff with her, and that this may actually be a placebo. She said with gratitude and conviction that, as a scientist herself, she was sure that what she felt was genuine and real. This was one of the most gratifying moments for me.
I have been advocating, for a while now, the use of classical music to develop mindfulness and awareness, and harness its immensely healing attributes. But I did not expect that I would see such profound effects even before beginning work that I thought was substantial enough to start helping someone. Today’s session made me realize that classical music, when served with compassion and kindness to the learner, has an almost instant healing impact. Music intrinsically has the ability to disarm and make people engage. If we can couple that with an environment that is understanding, forgiving and loving, we can create the perfect setting for emotional healing and catharsis. The learner can become aware, still and totally committed to the present.
Another attribute of classical music which can help us connect emotionally to the learner are Raagas. Due to their versatile mood content and emotive powers, Raagas can give us the ability to connect with the learner’s mood and bring them out of his or her shell. This may have happened in my session with the lady today. As I embarked on teaching her a ‘bandish’ in Sarang, a bright and soothing afternoon Raaga, she felt energized, happy and peaceful, a state far removed from the worries and concerns that had been plaguing her.
I have observed many a time that there is often a dearth of compassion and love in the way music is taught. Musical teaching sometimes lacks the handholding approach that a learner really needs. The reason this is the case is because, so far, classical music has been reserved for the few who are ‘deserving’, musically ‘gifted’ ones. My argument is that if music is meant to soothe and heal the spirit and is indeed a conduit to the divine, why should only some partake of this privilege? People may derive immense pleasure from listening to music. But they derive even more validation and pleasure when they can be taught to produce music, even if it is not perfect. It is beautiful and healing because it bears the student’s unique signature and comes straight from his or her soul. There is a reason we use the phrase ‘singing one’s heart out’.
Today’s session with my student taught me to have conviction in my belief that classical music has to break barriers and reach every soul. Because it is the birthright of every soul on this planet to have access to happiness and healing. It is right of every human being to ask for tools to be happy, and it is the duty of every classical musician to share the healing power of music with those who seek it. Classical music is not a property to be kept or preserved. It is a life force that needs to set free for people to thrive in.
So why should we wait any longer? Let us find our own safe space in music and allow others to find it too. A space to experience timelessness and bliss.
HOW TO SET REALISTIC FITNESS GOALS FOR 2022
Come January, the topmost things on everyone’s mind are their health and fitness goals for the year. However, crash diets and barely-used gym memberships are not the correct way to approach one’s fitness journey, if the idea is to stay on track long term. This was the lesson that Sahil Bansal and Mehakdeep (Mac) Singh learnt the hard way, before joining hands to simplify the fitness journeys of others through their unique fitness app – Fitelo.
In his fat-to-fit journey, Bansal’s biggest learning was that fitness is about building habits and changing one’s lifestyle. Singh was overweight since childhood and tried every possible weight loss solution but his weight would always come back. Finally, he lost 60 kgs when he made the switch to natural foods.
Their own weight loss journeys taught them valuable lessons, and together they launched Fitelo in 2019 to offer assistance to people in achieving their fitness goals. They do this by designing wellness plans customized and personalized as per individual needs on the basis of the person’s age, their body’s needs, their goals, lifestyle, diseases, family history, stress and activity levels, and other factors.
“We have experience of working with corporates and startups, and we understand human psychology as well as technology. We are also passionate about fitness. With more than 10 years of industry experience each, we have built a high-performance team that understands health, psychology, and customer service,” declare the founders.
Fitelo offers a subscription based model. Once a customer purchases a plan, a health coach is assigned to them, and throughout the journey, they are managed by the AI-enabled platform. The plans vary from ₹3000 monthly for weight management cases to 50,000 annual plan for disease management cases. With over 50 expert coaches on board, Fitelo has facilitated a number of amazing transformations.
The founders say, “Exercise has a 20 percent role in weight loss and diet is 80 percent. Therefore we mainly focus on the diet. We encourage you to do a 20 minute walk every day or get involved in household chores or take part in a home workout session to supplement the diet goals.”
Since the pandemic, fitness apps have gained tremendous momentum. According to a World Economic Forum study, India recorded a 156 percent increase in the download of health and fitness apps in the first two quarters of 2021. Hence, Fitelo is poised for success.
“Every fitness journey is different. So are each individual’s goals. As such, the length of the program could vary from 6-12 months. Habit building takes time. We request our users to enrol in our programs for a long-term period to see permanent changes in their bodies and lifestyle,” say the founders.
In the next five years, Fitelo plans to be a one-stop shop for sustainable and natural weight loss and fitness. The team is looking to make Fitelo into a platform where an unhealthy or unfit person can search for awareness on the subject, consult experts, and purchase products or services that can help them achieve their long-term fitness goals.
“Fitelo is the easiest way to get seriously fit. We work on modifying the lifestyle of an individual step by step. So, our clients get fit and are able to stay fit in the easiest possible way. Our methodology is completely natural. Our program doesn’t require having access to any gym, any fitness equipment. In fact, we don’t even recommend any fad diets or the use of any supplements or medicines. We help our clients gain better understanding of their behavioural habits and improve their nutrition and lifestyles on the basis of that,” share the founders.
The bedrock of being fit is to make a lifelong habit of it. One can only build a habit when they take small steps repeatedly over a period of time. Every weight loss product or service on the market, promises people instant results. As a result of this, unfortunately, people lose weight but regain it after a few months – and enter a vicious cycle in the process. For true fitness, one must inculcate healthy habits into their daily life. This is the only sustainable and long-lasting way to lose weight, stay fit and avoid diseases.
The writer pens lifestyle articles for various publications and her blog www.nooranandchawla.com. She can be reached on email@example.com.
Opinion1 year ago
South Block’s mistakes will now be corrected by Army
Sports2 years ago
When a bodybuilder breaks Shoaib’s record
News2 years ago
PM Modi must take governance back from babus
Spiritually Speaking1 year ago
Spiritual beings having a human experience
News2 years ago
Chinese general ordered attack on Indian troops: US intel report
Legally Speaking2 years ago
Law relating to grant, rejection and cancellation of bail
Sports2 years ago
West Indies avoid follow-on, England increase lead to 219
Royally Speaking1 year ago
The young royal dedicated to the heritage of Jaipur