When you put in ‘memorable Himalaya Roadies moments’ into Google, most of the results show videos of Animesh Shahi’s funny moments. The runner up of the series says he has seen them too and enjoyed it. As was the case in the show, he can come across as a bit of a quiet character. But he reckons he opened up around the time the Roadies journey took them to his hometown, Pokhara.
Even though he says it was his girlfriend’s idea that he joined the show, Shahi clearly took on the challenge with much enthusiasm. He shares he isn’t quite sure about his future plans yet but at the moment he is in Kathmandu for an acting workshop. It isn’t necessarily only for films though. According to Shahi, he just wants to work on his confidence and inter personal skills. We start off by asking how he got ready for the reality show.
I’m not sure how you can prepare for a show like this. I bought some extra socks before going on the journey though.
I wasn’t nervous before the filming. But I had planned to work out a little more outdoors. I wanted to work out with ropes, perhaps out in the wilderness but then I came down with a nasty cold. I ended up resting a lot. As for packing your bags, the production team does give you a list of the type of clothes you ought to have with you. I remember shopping a little as well. I think I bought some shaving blades, extra socks, and spent hours looking for shoes with proper grip.
During the show, I think I had a fair idea about who was trying to get whom.
I knew I could deal with the mind games. I made it a point to listen a lot. It was important to try and find out as well as understand the motives of as many contestants as possible. When you put people in this kind of circumstance, there is bound to be drama and personal agendas. I didn’t believe in being a part of any group though. I largely focused on doing my best and what I thought would help me.
I actually got emotional all over again when I watched myself cry after the loss.
It is obviously impossible to show all that went down. Some tasks took an entire day to setup and complete and the interviews used to be an hour long. You can’t put it all in one episode. I remember all the waiting hours, sitting in our rooms with no phone and no money, waiting for the crew to come call us. The tasks were always kept a secret. There was a kitchen crew as well.
We were all well fed throughout the filming. While on the road, we could see the kitchen crew set up camp and start cooking away before we had even reached the destinations. Watching it now brings a lot of flashbacks like these.
And, at the end, I did feel sorry for myself. When they make you return the helmet and tell you that you are not a roadie anymore, you can’t help but feel sad.
SAMAN SHRESTHA, 27 YEARS
You wouldn’t have been able to congratulate the winner of Himalaya Roadies after the finale of the show. For one, he was travelling through the Everest region and, while up there, he reveals he lost his phone as well. “Though I did remember the date of the episode’s telecast. I thought they must have found out by then,” says Shrestha.
As it turns out, though they had filmed the last task of Himalaya Roadies before Dashain, he hadn’t yet shared the news of his win. He thought it would be better to keep the suspense. And while it would be difficult for many of us to contain that kind of secret, in reality, Shrestha does appear to be calm and collected enough to pull it off. He shares a few more things we didn’t know.
I had almost given up on the idea of joining the show.
I actually was up in Manang, climbing and working as usual, when I saw the Roadies form on Facebook. Since I had watched the MTV series’s notorious interviews, I wanted to experience those, at least. So I just went for it. But when I got the call, turned out I had accidentally submitted my name under Dharan and they were asking me to come to the city for the auditions. I obviously couldn’t do that. I thought that would be that. But somehow it worked out. Later, they had switched the audition location. The Dharan participants were being asked to come to Kathmandu instead.
I think I was pretty bad at strategizing and politics.
There would be days when discussions about the vote out would start from early morning. It was irritating. I used to wonder why we could deal with it later on in the day. But I guess that was a part of the game. At times, I trusted people who were backbiting about me and playing against me as well. Needless to say, the vote outs brought about a fair share of surprises. I mainly based my decisions on whether they deserved to stay in the game.
I was always confident about my physical fitness. So I knew the most challenging bits would be the mental, emotional aspects of the game. My game plan was to keep calm and not lose control.
In the last task, I was trying very hard not to throw up.
Though I was feeling the pressure then, this wasn’t necessarily all from the nerves. We had eaten just an hour or so before the task. We had Maithali food. It was really good and I had asked for extra helpings as well. That turned out to be a terrible idea when we set about the task. At one point, I could feel the food rise up in my throat and I was desperately trying not to throw up.
I’m hoping to use the exposure to promote climbing as a sport.
The kind of buzz around the show is still surprising. Just recently I was going to scold some school kids who had thrown a bottle from their bus and they instantly recognized me. Initially I was pointing a finger at them but I had to turn it into a thumbs-up and politely ask them not to do so again. That was funny. I was even recognized in the Namche region while on my way back. So the reach of the show seems to be incredible. I’m still a rock climber, athlete and guide though. I’m already back working the same grind. Those interested in my work can check out sumanshrestha.com.
SUDIT SHRESTHA, 26 YEARS
People had come to know of Shrestha because of his foray in media and modeling. But after the Himalaya Roadies series, many more remember him for the memorable Roadie audition. He too remembers running around the audition grounds, shirtless in a wig, makeup and fairy wings trying to complete a task set by the judges. He still considers it to be embarrassing but apparently is relieved more viewers have considered it to be daring. It was apparent that he was a strong contender of the series, until he was eliminated very early on the show. We start from there.
After my vote out, I found myself spending three to four hours in the gym everyday working out the anger.
When I joined the show, I was simply focusing on the tasks. The others too didn’t seem interested in the politics of it all. So I was completely blindsided by my elimination that early in the show. I was shocked and shattered.
When you are voted out, they put you in a separate room. I didn’t interact with anybody. There was so much going on in my head. I got a wakeup call at 5am the next morning for breakfast, and then I headed back home from Jomsom. I was definitely angry and desperately hoping for a wild card entry like in the MTV series. And when it did come by after 10 days, I was looking for vengeance.
The task where we had to pull the chain had us fighting for about an hour. I remember the crew getting increasingly exasperated as they watched us.
I ended up more focused and determined upon my return. I wanted to perform to my ultimate best but when it came down to the last four boys, it did get really challenging. I remember the chain task. You could smell the desperation on all of us. We were tied together and had to pull the chain and we were all like oxen. Each stood their ground. It seemed like the battle wouldn’t end. As a last resort, the crew ended up setting a last 20-minute deadline. That was difficult.
When I returned, the game had completely changed. I think it would have been different if I weren’t ousted.
I actually haven’t watched all the episodes. I also had to fast forward through the couple that I did watch. You obviously can’t fit everything that happened in a broadcast. But as somebody who went through it, you know all that is missing. Be it the good times where we just chilled and hung out, exercising, talking, telling ghost stories and what not or the crucial small discussions between the different pairs of us that decided the vote outs, there is a lot that’s not shown on TV.
I also think the viewers were already attached to the contestants who were present from the beginning, and those of us who joined later on find it difficult to sway their support.
RANJANA BHATTARAI, 23 YEARS
Like most college students, Bhattarai too is struggling with morning classes this winter. “I’m seriously considering getting a scooter now,” she says talking about her 5am routine and 7am classes. Fans of the Himalaya Roadies series know her as one of the last four finalists. Not all who followed the series might be on her side but she continues to be just as outspoken and frank in person and unapologetically so. This is what she had to say about the experience so far.
I’m a spontaneous person. I also hate it when people ask me about my future plans.
Getting into Roadies too was something similar. It isn’t like I had grand plans. I just considered it to be an exciting prospect. It was about travelling and an opportunity to prove and surprise myself. For example, the spoken word/rap battle, I’m so proud of that but I genuinely wasn’t expecting to do well.
There was a moment in the show when I knew I wouldn’t win.
I didn’t feel the need to prove anything. I was just doing it for myself. What I like about Roadies is that you are expected to complete the task in front of you. There are no exceptions. That applies to a 5’2” petite woman like me as well. You just get with it.
But there was one point when I felt defeated. Later, when the last four of us were pitted against one another in a sumo style match, my heart sank. Still, even then, the team, our director in particular, gave me a lot of encouragement.
Initially there was so much negativity directed at me. I couldn’t believe it.
I’m used to getting backlash for my outspoken personality but I was taken aback by the intensity of some of the hate comments. As the show went on, I gained more support but still there were complete strangers who seemed to absolutely hate me. If I have learned anything from the experience, it’s that you have no control. All you can do is be true to yourself. You can’t help the rest.