I was sleeping, but it was not a full sleep. I could hear sounds of songs being played inside the Dhaba – old Hindi songs; Mohammad Rafi, Asha Bhonsle … was that Bani Jayram? I could hear Sumit ordering Lassi, Gurdeep ordering lunch, I could hear the Dhaba man was saying “Yahaan se do kilometer aage ek nehr hai, wahan thanda paani milega, chaaho toh jaa kar nahaa kar aa jaao.” (Two kilometers from here you’d get a canal, you can go and take a bath there, the water is cold). I was not actually sleeping; I was rather in a semi-conscious mode. After some time I got back to my sense, sat straight on the chair; and asked for some water. … More Ladakh – Part Twelve (and Last)
While stationary, you get chance to talk to your fellow riders, but while riding it is horribly boring. The darkness, broken road, countless negotiations with trucks – the brain behaves differently in this situation. I started singing a song myself, after sometime I found myself reciting a childhood rhyme – Amader chhoto nodi chole aanke-baanke. I murmured as long as I could remember and then I discovered myself singing another song – Jab koi baat bigad jaaye – and then again I was reciting something else – Aami jakhon chhoto chhilam, khelte jetam megher dole. … More Ladakh – Part Eleven
Yes, I was literally “thrown out” of my moving bike, but I actually landed in slow motion in a very, very soft cushion of ice, I was not hurt at all. The bike was lying at the other side of the narrow road. But I took no chance; I sat idle for few seconds, making sure my breathing rate does not increase. Oxygen is very, very scarce here. … … More Ladakh – Part Ten
Vineet, Preeti and I engaged in a quick discussion. I suggested to go with the worst possible plan. We would proceed, in case rooms are not available at Khardung village, we would have to come back twenty five kilometers back to Khalsar, and next day again we would have to go this twenty five kilometers extra. Leh is one hundred kilometers more from the Khardung village. The fuel we had in our bikes were just enough to take us to Leh, but for this extra fifty kilometers we would need at least one to one-and-half litres of petrol each. If petrol is available here, we would purchase in black, and move ahead, if not, then no question of moving ahead, we would stay at Khalsar. … More Ladakh – Part Nine
First Sumit, then I hugged him tightly. I was so mesmerized by his performance, I could not even take a single picture of him rescuing my gloves. Gurdeep smiled, as-if nothing had happened – No big deal, I took mountaineering training for few days. This exercise was no big thing for me.
I was speechless, just held his hands. Totally unknown to each other, can anyone take such a risk for somebody else? We just met for few days, we’ll go back and no one knows whether we’d meet again or not after this trip – could I take this risk for him?
No, I could not take. I do not have that guts. Silently I put on the gloves, and started my bike. … More Ladakh – Part Eight
The confidence killed me. There was another layer of sand, and I thought it was also not much deep – without reducing speed I went on that and my bike lost control, I fell down on the left side. No, I was not hurt much but my right leg was trapped under the bike, it was not possible for me to push up the bike on that condition.
I waited for one and half minute until others arrived. They pushed up my bike, I stood up. No injury, no pain, but I noticed the knee guard on my left knee had been cracked into two halves. That guard saved my knee, otherwise my journey would have been ended there. … More Ladakh – Part Seven
We walked slowly towards the palace. The lane was steep at some points – and there I could realize I was not as young as them. Sumit, Gurdeep and lovebirds were climbing the steps with ease, where I was having to take rest after every four-five steps. So others also had to stop to keep pace with me. Anyway, nobody seemed to be annoyed because of that. They were utilizing the time by clicking photos, and Ms Preeti was tirelessly posing in different angles for her boyfriend’s camera. … More Ladakh – Part Six