“Last 10 days of my life happened so for no reason in particular. For a notorious traveler the indefatigable urge to be on the road can happen all of a sudden, so much so that he picks up his bike and rides around alone for 2700 kms. God has placed beauty at the strangest of places for e.g . a slip at any of the bends in the mountains could have landed me into the valley and at the same time the view of the valley was out of the world.
I shivered and rode in negative temperatures -14 degrees at one point. I had my slips , moments of solitude , backache , dust , hunger , shivering , bone chilling winds, breathlessness, rain , wet shoes , insomnia etc etc and amongst this , i camped almost at 4000m daily , gazed and spotted millions of stars , played football at Pangong Lake, met great set of people, rode to the 2 highest motorable passes in the world, danced to a Ladhaki song, bonfire in a village whose population is 25 people and last but not the least got clicked by a hot chick at Khardungla Top. As i type this post i have ridden 32 hours in the past 40 and for no reason in particular i am again viewing the Indian map”
Early morning , -3 degrees , it is hard to open the two pair of gloves to click the pic. The moisture from exhaling just blocks my view of the outside. I open the helmet to experience this , just stood still there for a moment and said God ,”Thank you”.Of all the pics at Leh this stands out , out of the world”
“While his grandmother cooked maggi and tea for me , I took this kid for a ride on the road that connects Pangong Lake. It may have made or not made his day but his smile did make mine. I saw a small handmade toy that he was contented to play with i just a pull over to protect from the cold. His life for 7 months was in a tent house on a desolate road and family members and the mountains his only friends. His life was simple and complex at the same time. Left me with mixed feelings wondering how amazing this world was while many travel to find peace , for some peace finds them “
Some trips of your life will remain engraved within you for the lifetime and probably that is the precise reason why one should travel. I can safely say that i will always remember this one. Life throws us surprises at the most unexpected of the situations. Perched on 45 degree incline with the bike not responding, i will always remember the labor who sprang all of a sudden to help me out , out of nowhere. Dipping in knee deep freezing water to help a German out of a stream may appear ordinary but it was extraordinary affair and we talked of it over some Old Monk. The first pic of the lot is about a kid whom i gave a ride some 80 km from the Pangong lake. All in all i got Lehed”
Few excerpts from what i had written during the trip.This is one of the last clicks of the trip. I sat down on a rock and penned down my thoughts.
“From where i look now , i am all alone in one of the most beautiful place of the world.But when i looked closely i felt that i am more alone in the other part of the world , here i have the nature as my company . I thought of the all the exciting moments of the trip and a quote came to my mind, “Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars,and see yourself running with them” . On one of the night stays at Sarchu there were 2 Germans, a doctor and a food inspector in various camps. We were trying to dry our wet shoes and trying to spot the stars but could only make out the Milky Way clearly in the dominating glare of the half moon. All 5 of us woke up at 3 am with the outside temperatures in the negatives to look up the stars and i remember spotting the Orion, the 3 collinear stars and was simply mesmerized by it. Looking at the stars always reminds me of a few lines from my favorite comic strip of Calvin and Hobbes, “If people sat out and looked at the stars each night,i bet they’d live a lot differently.” Yes at that moment we were living our lives differently completely oblivious to a different world outside.
One must from time to time take a trip alone and it can turn out to be the most wonderful experience of his/her life for it makes you step out of the comfort zone. But most importantly what it does is a change in perspective, an awe, a new way of seeing life. I had one of the most interesting discussions on Socrates and Plato and it was coming from a very normal guy. Last year in my solo trip to Sikkim, i managed to get a Enfield from an a police guy who i had met in a shared cab. Our life is capable of much more than happiness, i think ecstasy is the correct word. But much more than anything is the fact that we ride our lives in hope for whatever that propels us from day to day. There comes a time in our lives not just travel when one has to take the step forward alone and just move looking forward oblivious to the outer world. Sometimes doing things alone drives you out from your comfort zone and at these times you find yourself. Reminds me of few beautiful lines from the book,” China road”, “Hope cannot be said to exist, nor can it be said not to exist. It is just like roads across the earth. For actually the earth had no roads to begin with, but when many men pass one way, a road is made.”
I am on the top of Rohtang Pass with mixed feelings. I am at the last end of the trip; I will be riding back from Manali to Delhi tomorrow. What I have experienced in the past 10 days will always stay with me. Never ever I had thought that mere 10 days can change a person so much, being alone does that to you for it is in being alone that you realize your true self, ponder over your tribulations, get over vices and return back rejuvenated with a clear focus to take life more positively. I can feel the increase in oxygen, smell the grass, and taste the moist air. Riding in almost dry conditions does that to you. I learn that how often we ignore nature and take things for granted, this smell is pure, enchanting and probably more mesmerizing than the best perfume in the World. I see a long line of cars, the tourists who are heading back to Manali town. It makes me real sad to be back to civilization. I take a break, park the bike, look on the otherside of Rohtang, see the vast deserted land and promise myself to be back again, soon.