Most of my writeups have been around health and fitness . I thought of bringing in some variety,so this time I have chosen to write an adventure story inspired by our road trip to Ladakh.
(Although it will be tough to believe at times.. But trust me most of it actually happened 😉 )
Before I start the narration let me give you some context.
We five friends(Roshan,Indus,Rupak,Rajiv and me(Abhineet)) decided to go for a biking trip to Ladakh. We all had never been to Leh-Ladakh before.
Roshan Singh A.K.A Akela ( because he had an email akela dot something ) :-D,
I start with Akela ji because he was the starter of this initiative and most of other things in general. He starts stuff and we all jump in later. Apparently he is starting a firm too but rest of us have no plans to jump in that whatsoever 😀
Roshan is a tall guy(6’1). He used to be lean during our college days but now with every passing day he is adding pounds to his burly structure. He has become an enthusiastic biker lately who functions on instincts and takes the most risky alternative out of all available ones 😀 . He has been to many road trips before but is a first timer to high altitudes.
Indus Nawani A.K.A Wolverine(he got this name during the trip due to his Machismo 500 and leather jacket)
Indus is a strongly built chap from Uttarakhand. He was one of the best pace bowler in our college and has got a fetish for various sports like Cricket and Tennis. I have been suggesting him to concentrate on playing sports as a professional but somehow he is tied up between work and play, lets see what he ends up with. He has been to higher altitudes before.
Rupak Jana A.K.A Hawk-eye (named due to his poor vision, apparently he cant see more than 5 meters at night)
Rupak is a lean guy from Bengal, I guess I am still to meet a person who is leaner. Well he is ever ready for any challenge , you wake him up in the middle of night and ask him if he is ready to jump of a cliff he will be like “LETS GO FOR IT”. He also had never been to higher altitudes.
Rajiv Gupta A.K.A tabu ( long story may be I need to write a separate blog for that 😀 )
Rajiv is a small marwari boy, he is the biggest miser whom I have ever come across. We believe stories of his miserly achievements will be told by people long after he is no more 😀 . His only goal/passion/hobby or whatever you want to call it in life is to save money.
He brought the much needed comic element in our group. He had never been to higher altitudes before, apparently we made him sign a letter that he is doing this on his own will and will be solely responsible for the consequences. 😀
Me (Abhineet A.K.A paaji(still trying to figure out why people call me by this name)).
I guess you people dont want to see a pic of mine or do you?
I am sure my friends are going to kill me for putting their funny pics and a good pic of myself but this is my story, I should atleast get some perks out of it right.. 😀
P.S – I also have never been to high altitudes.
So lets begin ::
DAY 1 :: 2nd September(Tuesday) , 2014
Our plan was to start on 6th and return on 20th September, 2014 that meant I needed atleast two weeks vacation(I say atleast because we work on Saturdays as well so 6th sep **Saturday** was working and OFFICIALLY I was aspiring for a two weeks plus one day leave). Also this was the third month of my first job after MBA 😉 No one was ready to grant me such a long leave out of options, finally I landed in my MD’s cabin.
MD : Where are you going?
Me : Ladakh , I will make sure that nothing stops because of my unavailability. I will stay in contact with my team over phone (I was sure I wont get any signal during most part of two weeks). I will be taking Loss Of Pay for those days.
MD : Great sounds good (sarcastically) I have a better idea, what if I ask you to stay here and stay in contact with your friends who are going there over phone ? you might also get paid (sarcastic smile)
Me(Confused not sure what to say ) : Actually it is easier to work remotely but enjoying remotely might be difficult. ( I realized I had given the worst explanation possible)
MD : Go if you want to but when you return you might or might not have your job
(pause, may be he expected me to speak something)
Me : (I made sure I dint utter a word, anything and everything said now would have gone against me) …… Ok …… (Finally I said that although I still dont believe I did, may be some enemy of mine at office played my recorded voice saying OK in background… Damn I had agreed to risk my job for this trip)
MD : You do what is best for you I will do what is best for the company
Me : Thank you sir…
I am still thinking why did I say thanks? Was it for granting me LOP or was it for making a mockery of my aspirations may be it was for finally leaving me to choose. Because irrespective of anything and everything I was going for this trip.
DAY 2 :: 4th September(Thursday) , 2014
We had our flight from Bangalore to Chandigarh on 6th September(Saturday) Morning. We got a reality check of the flood situation in Kashmir just two days before that. This conversation is happening over a Watsapp group.
Rupak – ** 11 dead as flood and landslide created havoc in J&K. – People pack your swim suits as well 😀
Me – Oh shit .. people dig in details see whether we can proceed with the trip or not
Rajiv – In TV news they are showing that all roads from Manali are closed. My brother from Chandigarh had called and has told me to cancel the trip. Apparently one bridge has broken in between Rohtang and Shimla. We might get stuck at Manali.
Roshan – Damn it… No way we are canceling this. Tabu dont spread rumors there is a problem in Rajouri which is not in our route. We will wait for 1-2 days in Manali if need be.
Indus – Rajouri is in west Jammu nothing to do with our biking route. There is no rain in Chandigarh whatsoever. Tabu where did you see the news ? As per the government monsoon website data the rainfall happened is 2-4 mm which is not much.
Rajiv – I dint hear any news , heard it over the call from my brother in Chandigarh
Me – Damn it, dont spread false news, I just called the bike rentals in Manali the guy told me it is raining heavily but roads are open.
Rupak – I guess its late to cancel we should go ahead with the plan.
Roshan – As per weather forecast, we may have rain till Sunday we can wait for a day or two if needed
Me – Ok one thing is clear… we will not be going to Golden temple or any other random idiotic place, I am putting a lot on line(read my job) for this trip , if we are going ahead with the plan it has to be for Ladakh.
Indus – BTW Rishikesh,Haridwar and Chandigarh also have places to visit (pun intended)
Me – (Angry Smiley) Ya ya may be once my company kicks me out of the job we can go there. One more thing we wont delay our plan due to rain or any other thing. Pack your raincoats and get ready for some mud biking (Evil laugh)
Rajiv – Okay Vaishno Devi, Katra and road which connects Kargil to Srinagar has been closed. We have to alter our plan if we decide to go with the plan
Our initial plan was to start from Manali go to Leh via Keylong/Sarchu/Pang and from Leh go to Kargil/Srinagar and from Srinagar return to Manali.
Indus – Okay as far as I see it the Manali to Leh route is clear but we might have to go come back the same way as the Leh-Srinagar highway has been washed out by floods.
Me – For now we will go ahead with the plan after reaching Leh we will take a call whether to come back from Srinagar or the same route.
Indus – (Thumbs Up)
Roshan – (Thumbs Up)
Rupak – (Thumbs Up)
Rajiv – Confused … Mmmm Ok (Thumbs Up)
So finally keeping my job on line and mine as well as four others life on line we decided to go ahead with this trip. Taking a deep sigh I thought this is going to be some adventure.
Stay Tuned for the next part 😀