How to Survive in the Wild

The Real High

How to Survive in the Wild

Illustration: Juergen Dsouza


landed in Guwahati just as the sun was rising. The horizon was  dramatically clearer than my pollution-ridden home town (Delhi), and the air was so fresh that my lungs thanked me over and over again for getting myself there. I’d visited Arunachal Pradesh before, but it was a  short trip. This time, I was going to be there for an entire week to participate in an adventure show along with five other people I’d never met before, and live in a jungle, something I’d never done before. The show was called The Real High, and as I travelled into Arunachal Pradesh, I wondered what the real high was going to be.

The crew had arranged for three shiny new Nissan Terranos to take us to Ziro Valley. As a driving enthusiast, I was absolutely smitten by the cars. I was to share the car with Neha Chugh, my co-contestant on the show. It didn’t take us very long to get comfortable with each other. We spoke about our journeys so far, and our reasons for participating in the show. What we didn’t really talk about was the shock of new experiences that waited for us in the wild. On my part, I was just hoping I hadn’t signed up for a less deadly version of The Hunger Games, but now, looking back at my time in Arunachal, I can see that my learnings are equivalent to what Katniss learned by living in the wild.