Thursday, May 23, 2024

For Raghav, getting stuck in Uttarakhand is super normal

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SHIKHA DUGGAL

Mist is touching Raghav Juyal’s face; he loves to enjoy that chilled weather in the lap of nature, and through our Travel Tales segment, he has an important message to give to the so-called “Gen Z,” who are busy doing Netflix and chilling. Shall we explore what it is?

“I have my own home in Dehradun; my childhood was pristine there. It’s like all my childhood memories are still untainted! I deliberately take trips to Uttarakhand — just to revive my roots coming from one of the most beautiful states in my country. Now connecting to nature has a really distinct connotation for me because I am a real “pahadi,” so I don’t believe in buying a villa in the middle of natural beauty and calling myself a nature lover. Absolutely not, because I have lived those struggles of being in the midst of nature,” expressed the Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan fame.

The most popular dancer in our country further shared, “I go camping so often that I am used to lighting the firewood, and if we don’t, you know what’s going to happen. The wild animals can attack you! We are so used to living like urban dwellers and ordering food from food delivery apps that we have forgotten how to cook from scratch. So I go back to my village just to relive what I was taught from the beginning of my life. I really feel like a normal human being in my hometown! This is only my wellness retreat; I don’t have to enroll myself anywhere to rejuvenate. We are not meant to live like this. I feel so upset when I see the population sitting at home, ordering food, and binge-watching. Neither does connecting to nature mean putting up stills of a bathtub overlooking the forest. Go for a real trek, and then look at your dopamine levels going so high and keeping you healthy.”

The choreographer has experienced the fiery monsoons too, which led him to say, “Getting stuck in Uttarakhand is super normal — I have got to grips with massive snowfall and landslides very frequently. But when there’s an animal sighting in the middle of all this, I am so thrilled! As we speak, a lot of flooding is happening in and around my home in Harishikesh. By the way, I am designing a new home in Uttarakhand just for the love of artistic aesthetics that we come from. Especially the local stones that are nowhere to be found in the form of olden architecture that’s not followed through in urban cities anymore.”

But there is a deep state of sadness that the television presenter is going through, in which he explained, “With due regards to geographical conditions and the political circumstances to be seen up at the hills, my hometown is still not developed, and I don’t understand why. There are so many villages over there where there is no water or electricity, even now! The connectivity is null. Who do we call out to? I am trying to spread as much awareness as I can, but I still need some more powerful outfits to join hands with us in developing the state even more, apart from beautifying it. I am so scared that my culture is going to go extinct because I was so shocked to see so many villages that are totally abandoned! They are known as “ghost villages” now because nobody lives there. It’s more than a thousand, just for your information. “Pahadis” are grappling for income; there is hardly any employment on the hills. Landslides are causing so much harm to our state, again, as we speak.”

Sharing a word about the culturally rich stuff on the hills he’s been experiencing over the years, he enlightened us, “Our cuisine is very seasonal and blande, blande for a reason. Pahadis have been following sustainable living for ages! And it’s the norm in our community; we are not allowed to waste food at all. You can upset the community by doing so! Because our ancestors have gone through a scarcity of food due to extreme weather conditions in the hills. From grass to cow dung, everything is used to cook food. And most of our culture is dependent on geographical conditions; that’s a fact! There is a reason we avoid spicy food on the hills: our temperature will decrease immediately, and that’s not good for the survival of a person on the hills. Hence, Tibetan and Gujarati cuisine are the most famous there! Another aspect I have been witnessing since I was born is how Italians and Germans frequently visit our pilgrimage places. So I feel so rejuvenated after every shoot of mine when I go back to my hometown. Instantly, I call my gang, and we drive my gypsy to the river shores and barbecue. I can’t do all of this in the city, and that’s something like a drawback, I feel.”

On the work front, known to be the king of slow motion, he announces, “I miss doing television so much; I’m so busy with films. My work on television has made me who I am today. But sometimes, as actors, to grow professionally and reach somewhere else, we have to make some conscious decisions. So I am hardly being spotted by the paparazzi because I don’t want my exclusivity in films and webseries to be taken away by these sightings. So even if I host a dance reality television show, I do it once a year so that I am not branded everywhere. I don’t like it. And all these decisions have started to be taken from the time I am at my peak of the career, I can openly and very freely feel to do so, and that keeps me alive in the industry.”

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