I don’t know about what other kids dreamt of when they were little; but apart from going to the moon, being on TV has always been one of mine.  But when I got into writing sometime back, the thought of TV switched into hardcore writing. But every time I interviewed a celebrity, their charm, glamour and aura always fascinated me. And my childhood dream was just a dream until one day a dear friend called me up and told me about this amazing thing.  It was a call for fresh faces for a TV show meant for kids. I re-read the email and without a second though, I looked for my CV, updated it and emailed it as an application for the TV Host.


It was not weeks until I got a phone call asking for a walk-in interview along with a video of me interacting with kids. Don’t ask me how but I managed to get the video ready, but somehow I did with the help of a dear friend who then acted as a director! I was expecting a round table meeting but it was a very nice and cozy chat with Srijana Singh Yonjan, the show producer and one of her colleagues. The selection process was a long one so skipping that part and going to one of the big days- the day to meet my co-host. I was nervous, he was the one who would be seen with me and we would be cousins on the show. Would I like him? Would he be annoying like the neighbor next door- or even worse?
As I was sipping Coke in the scorching heat at Srijana Yonjan’s porch, a young chap, in school uniform, came up to the entrance looking for her. His eyes never left the reflection that he got on the window glass. Thinking that he was one of her daughters’ friend, I paid no attention and enjoyed my drink. Just after a split second, Srijana walked out with this boy with a smile on her face and told me that he was my co-host. I gave him a warm welcome and introduced myself and he told me his name was Ninad but I could call him Nins. I laughed to myself and thought, he is a typical teen!


Moving on to the show, it is a Children’s show called Maya & Max (Where I am Maya and Ninad is Max) are cousins who are set out on an expedition to fulfill their childhood wish list of travelling into diverse places and out to explore different parts of Nepal and meet children from various areas and backgrounds. Nins told everybody to call him Max starting that very moment! I didn’t have to ask everybody to do the same with me because the moment I met the whole team, I was introduced as Maya and no one asked me for my real name either.


The whole team was set out to travel to the places that Maya and Max had set out to visit as a child in their wish list. We went to Chitwan, Pokhara, Lumbini, Sauraha and shot at the villages in it. The shoot for 12 episodes took almost a month. The whole unit was like a family. But what hit me was the fact that we just see two people on screen and think they were the heroes. The real heroes or the reel heroes are always behind camera. From the spot boy to the cook- they all had their piece of important work that had to be done at all times. The idea of being a TV host was amazing and the whole experience was really good. The worst part of it was make-up. No matter how light or nude it was, the make- up still took almost half an hour everyday with a bit of touch-ups throughout the day. My favorite part was being looked after all the time. If anyone spotted me standing, they would run over and grab me a chair and request me to sit down. As soon as I uttered the sentence, “Its so sunny,” someone would stand next to me with an umbrella and a bottle of water.


Max got homesick a couple of times and Srijana and I got together and teased him and asked him questions about the girls in his class and he would flee away from the spot. She was more like a mother to us looking after us and taking care of us like her own babies!


We usually started the day really early so that the scorching heat in the Terai wouldn’t eat us all up. But no matter how early we started, the day would always come to an end late with no time to sit around and have fun. There were times when I thought to myself “Woah! It is difficult to be on TV.” Working incessantly in the broad daylight right under the sun in peak summer was a difficult job and by the time the last episode was shot, I was two shades darker. Amidst all the fun and the joy we shared, we have so many memories to cherish and so many things to learn. The biggest lesson we learnt was what the show was really meant for. Children in Kathmandu seem to be happy with the toys and all the comfort they are given around but children outside Kathmandu, all over Nepal are as much happier. The only difference is that their toys are replaced by natural sources like swimming in the river, playing with stones and looking out for fun in everything.


All in all, the whole process was an exciting, thrilling and amazing experience. The fun we had putting it up for you will surely keep you entertained and informed at the same time.

Maya & Max is produced by Creative Statements in partnership with the Danish Centre for Culture Development (DCCD) with the support of the Embassy of Denmark in Kathmandu. The collaborators are WCN, Danish Forestry project and Nepal Prakriti Pathshala.

 

The title song of the series Akash Ganga Pari, Akha ko nauma aau timilai lanchu sathi merai Nepali Gau ma was penned down and composed by Gopal Yonjan 30 years back. This can be downloaded on U-Tube. CRBT - NT - 0170009113, NCELL-6039192, UTL-7244319.