” I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever , treacherous adversary, how well I know.” Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Don’t know where to begin from, too much to narrate i guess. Ah ! this could be a good starting point. A few km away from Joshimath, body covered in two layers of plastic clothing and yet drenched to the core, Enfield’s engine thumping in the chilly rain and rain drops on the wind shield. I had resumed my journey in the morning after a 30 km treacherous trek the previous day , empty stomach in the night , few hours of sleep in wet clothes owing to the incessant downpour. Few stones roll down the passing mountains and i just steer my bike through them to yet another turn , yet another adventure , yet another moment of uncertainty probably into the unknown in anticipation of something I am not sure of totally in oblivion.
Why has God placed so much beauty at such difficult places ? In a totally precarious situation when i look down the valley I see a muddy steaming Ganges in full rage. I hope u can envision clouds of smoke , the river is so wild that it resembles the same with the only difference that it is in the ground. On any other day I would have stopped back and would have gazed at the water but this is no ordinary day of my life and later in the day i would make a lot of narrow escapes from landslides , washed away roads , unwanted puddles, flowing streams , thunder and many other natural factors. But I don’t know why at this moment I am not afraid , i am pretty convinced without doubt that i can make it , in fact the true word for my feelings is enchanted , I am happy to be in this beautiful place. This is probably what they meant by the word romantic and this trip this moment is a romance in the rain
This post will go in flashes as it is hard to recollect every incident that happened in the past 10 days. It makes my heart ache to see the news and thankful at the same time when all those names, Gangaghat, Ghangheria , Hemkunt Sahib , Valley of Flowers and Badrinath is mentioned. I was not only lucky enough to visit all these places but at the same time was able to escape from the fury of the nature. How it happened is a different thing but i must confess that this one time the universe conspired to propel me through this danger. Coming down a 40 Km trek in night at 9 p.m. I lost my way twice and you could probably laugh out at the fact that I did not have a torch and my mobile was not working. I remembered a river passing by while climbing up and just went on with the sound of it and at a point the track so narrowed and the height so dipped that i was almost in to the river. I just trembled and turned around to reach to a shop which i had crossed an hour ago. To be in such a situation in a wild life area so unprepared is mere foolishness but if you were there you could have behaved differently. At that moment i really realized what they say about fear but at the same time knew that i could do nothing about it. Life comes up with solutions in unusual ways and in this trip it did come many a times. I met a localite who was traveling down and still we did not have light but i did have a light in a different way.
“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. None of Nature’s landscapes are ugly so long as they are wild.”
Some day when i look back at this trip I will always remember it for the its beauty , of the snow clad mountains, of the cold breeze , of the rain , of the cloud cover and sometimes riding in the rain, of the trees , of the turns , of the river , of the tea stalls , of the shivering after the days ride , of the excitement of the next turn , of the maggi on the high ways, of all the smiles and sometimes the awe of people who saw us riding , of the streams crossed to reach badrinath , of the 40 km strenuous trek , of the hunger , of nights without a hotel room , of lonely riding and the sound of the bike , of the washed roads, of the land slides , of the overflowing river and fishes on the road, of the birds , of the multitude of people on pilgrimage , of letting my self free, of fear and overcoming it , of the changing landscapes , of the view through my helmet , of the bag on the shoulder , of all the parathas on the way , of limited cash , of the 30 rs rain coat , of the aarti at hemkunt sahib , of the free prasad at places , of the desire of having something warm , of the awe for the bike , of no phone calls and probably of thousands of other things.
Riding on a bike is a tough task but at the same time it is an act of freedom. Everytime i have found my self lost , i have taken resource to my bike and it has never failed me. Utrakhand is a beautiful place to travel to and especially for bikers try going via the paudi route and keep Lansdowne in your itinerary. Of what happens in life and what happens on road is just a passing moment, a moment that may change your life forever and sometimes may stay with you forever. Try going to badrinath for fun , travel to valley of flowers in mid July and you may probably experience one of the most amazing spectacle of your life. I just pray to god that he grants me the strength and the opportunity to keep taking these trips.