Ep 18: Jungle training in Vairengte, and Rocky’s close encounter with a snake
In this episode of Highway On My Podcast, Rocky, Mayur, Abhinandan and Prashant take us to Mizoram to talk about warfare training and jungle foods, before setting off for the abode of the clouds, Meghalaya.
After a backbreaking bus ride and a trip in a small aircraft that Abhinandan was scared to board, the gang reaches the Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare Training School in Vairengte, Mizoram. This is where the army is trained to survive harsh jungle conditions, and the team gets straight to shooting after a tiring journey.
As Abhinandan opens his box of memories, he lists food they tried that people might not believe can be eaten. Rocky talks about being bitten by a snake while eating a snake-eating snake — and that’s the most he’ll disclose. Mayur remembers the wild and abundant growth of bamboo in the area, and how the training schools make everything, from ladles to pipes to cups, out of bamboo. Abhinandan says it was one of the most special shoots he’s been a part of.
Driving to Meghalaya, the gang discusses how they’ve seen the state transform over their multiple visits. While driving from Guwahati to Shillong, they habitually stop at a certain point to eat fresh pineapples with red chillies. As they enter Shillong, they talk about how much the people in Meghalaya love their pork and their experience of eating Jadoh, which is red rice made with pig’s blood and various organ meats.
The conversation also cartwheels across trying Khasi cuisine, the friends they’ve made in the state, and celebrating Christmas with locals. Before leaving for Cherrapunji, Abhinandan recalls visiting the Matter Of Taste cafe, with its slick interiors and thriving local music scene.
In Cherrapunji, the group remembers a beautiful night where they cooked food in the darkness atop a rock that overlooked a lit-up town in Bangladesh. It was a special moment, Abhinandan adds.
They also talk about some really stinky food, how Rocky is the first man in history to be bested by a dummy at the training school, dodging traps, and what it’s like to live off the land.
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