New Delhi, Nov.1 (ANI): A Punjabi by origin and a foodie by heart, Ashish Chopra has travelled extensively in the north-east and has documented its culture, cuisines and traditions.
Forty four -year-old Chopra has been travelling to the north-east along with his father since the age of three. A food critic and a writer, Ashish is the author of "NE Belly" - a book on the cuisines of the eight Northeastern states with his latest book being "A travel guide to North-East India".
To Chopra North-East India is an obsession that has taught and given him much.
"I thought the best way to reciprocate the love that I received from north-east was to write on people of Northeast and write positively. Because when you go to any place across India, the people of northeast are very sadly branded as chinkis, little realizing their diversity and versatility in their culture. So very few people know what northeast is all about," says Ashish Chopra.
He has made documentaries on Chins of Mizoram, the Nocte tribe of Arunachal and Konyaks of Nagaland.
Having travelled extensively through northeast, Ashish speaks many tribal languages.
He tells that he has studied the culture, food, language and the people of the region. Sharing his travelling experience to interior areas of the north- east region, Ashish says it was simply a great experience.
He says the real North-East is not In Guwahati, it is in the small villages like Jorhat, Mokokchung, Ukhrul, and others. "And being a natural traveller, I loved my adventure so I kept on traveling to newer areas at the grassroots levels, which helped me meet a lot of people," he tells.
Chopra's house in New Delhi reflects the kind of influence the northeast had on him all these years, as inside his house one notices the sofa covers made of fabric from Nagaland and wooden antiques from Manipur.
Talking about his obsession with the North East, Chopra says, "My whole designs are tribal designs from Northeast, they are primarily Naga to a large extent and they are quite colourful. My house is very much designed in Northeast style for a simple reason that at first I liked northeast, and then I started loving it, then became passionate about it and finally obsessed with it."
A former advisor to the Governor of Mizoram, Ashish is presently the Executive Director of the Institute for Environmental Management and Social Development.
He says that the Northeast is so much culturally rich and a vibrant region that there is always so much that remains to be explored. By Devesh Gupta / Sanjay Kumar (ANI)