On September 11, 2023, Discovery+ launched a new show, “I Should Have Stayed Home.” The series follows Siddhant Mewara and Shashank Jayakumar, known for their food and travel platform The Big Forkers, as they embark on the journey of a lifetime. After a daring move, the brothers embark on a volunteer adventure that promises to test their limits, push boundaries, and possibly reshape their self-perceptions. As they navigate the challenging terrain and high altitudes of the Himalayas, they must gather clues to chart their path. Without phones, GPS or money, they will rely on the kindness of strangers, their instincts, each other and their trusty cars to navigate this extraordinary journey to complete. We talk to Mewara and Jayakumar to hear their first-hand experiences
1) Did you undertake any training and preparation before undertaking this trip?
Sid: We were advised to practice and train. And work hard at it. Neither of us did anything.
Shashank: Not exactly, we’re not really the epitome of healthy living, so we don’t generally live a healthy lifestyle. But since we had a month head start, we’ve probably gone up a little bit in terms of, you know, catching up on the swim, which has been a while since we’ve done that. So I personally did a bit of swimming and that’s about it.
2) How did the concept of this show come about?
Sid: This was made entirely by Discovery. They contacted us, presented the idea and we agreed.
Shashank: So I think that was more on Discovery’s side. We were talking to Discovery for a food show and it just so happened that this gentleman who was talking to the head of Discovery fictional non-branded content, Mr. Sai Abishek. We used to talk about food a lot and one day he mentioned that there is a team member of mine, Mr. Addy, who lives in Delhi, who came up with this concept and is looking for people to be the hosts. It. He had some very strange demands. He didn’t want a movie star. He didn’t want fit people like Bear Grylls so we just sat there in the whole thing where we’re not known for our fitness but more for our wits and banter and that’s what he wanted.
3) You will be very different as personalities; How did you navigate through the difficulties?
Sid: Well, it’s just that we tolerated each other, and we’re also cousins. So ultimately it is our brotherly stubbornness that made us do this. Yes, we are very different, but we had a common goal to get out of there alive and complete the mission, and that’s what we did.
Shashank: It’s always an interesting experience when he and I are together because we have a lot of common interests, but our approach to those interests is very different and I think that makes for interesting television too. Someone just said the crap you’re telling is interesting to other people, so put a camera on it and it’s a show, so that’s kind of the approach.
4) Please share your most favorite moments from the trip
Sid: Well, there were a lot of memorable moments, but one that stands out was when we were at Phuktal Monastery. One of my missions was to cook food for the monks, including the little ones. I was told that monks don’t eat anything spicy, so I prepared a simple dish. However, when I saw that everyone was serving themselves, I noticed that the little monks had their masala packets with them. They secretly added a little masala, pickle, chutney or chili to their food and hid it from the older monks. It was a very nice moment, and when I asked them about it, they simply said: ‘The eldest monk does not know; this is what we eat.”
Shashank: One of my most memorable moments is climbing the Drang-Drung Glacier. I find it a surreal experience. One because the location and the majesty of that glacier is something that I have witnessed in the past about 2-3 years ago when I went cycling in those regions, I never really thought that I would be able to climb while doing it. It’s a privilege that we were able to do that with Discovery Channel. They were the ones who helped and made this possible for us.
5) What was the most challenging aspect of the show?
Sid: Well, all that climbing and walking. To be honest, neither of us were built for walking. We weren’t exactly excited about the idea of hiking, and there was just so much of it: lots of walking and climbing. It was pretty miserable.
Shashank: Walking, I mean, I jokingly called this show at the end: man versus walking. Every day we walked more than 8-10 kilometers uphill and that was very tiring. I go cycling in those regions and there’s a reason I go cycling where I sit on the bike and accelerate, I don’t really bump into it, so that was the most challenging part for me.
6) You are producers on ‘The Big Forkers’ and on this show you had to be supervised by a director, how different was that?
Sid: It was very, very different. We had to constantly remind ourselves that we were the talent, not the director or executive producer. There were times when we got too involved and had to remind ourselves to step back and let the director take the lead. Yes, almost every day I had to remind myself not to try to direct.
Shashank: It’s a very different experience because here we heard the term talent and that’s something we’ve never concerned ourselves with, even on our own show. I think it was more challenging for Sid because he’s a bit of a control freak on our own show. Also with us I am the more relaxed man, who lets things happen as they happen. Sid likes to be in control, so I had to remind him every few hours during the shoot, while we were filming here, that we’re not the producers, so let them do what they want. He would go into things like why this takes so much time. We shouldn’t be doing this for so long, and I would say, yeah, relax, it’s not our show.
7) Would you choose such an adventure again? Possibly in a new season?
Sid: Absolutely, we are eagerly waiting for the new season to get the green light.
Shashank: Absolutely, like I said, the experience was great overall. It was a privilege to do the things we did in those regions. What’s also going to be exciting for the viewers is that they’re going to live vicariously through us because there are a lot of these things where, I mean, these regions that we go to anyway, very few people make it to these regions. And even if they do, they don’t do the things we did on the show. I’m happy to be that person that people can live vicariously through.
8) Your advice/suggestion to the audience before watching the show?
Sid: Get a drink, sit down, relax and just watch. It’s a lot of fun and a bold new show. It’s something Discovery hasn’t done before, something as daring as this because of the kind of people and the kind of content we create. And oh, make sure there are no small children in the room.
Shashank: Grab a drink and watch the show for fun. It will be very nice. I think you can prepare for a lot of banter between the two of us, best enjoyed over a beer.
‘I Should Have Stayed Home’ releases issue 11e September 2023 on Discovery+ and Discovery Channel (9 p.m. on Discovery Channel)