Monday, April 7, 2014

Anyhow, the damage was already done and there was no point in looking back. Gaurav reached Ludhiana from Faridabad (via Dehradun! Ok that is another part of the story which I would want Gaurav to narrate) on the night of 14th, June 2010. Tired as hell he was. We had a quick cup of tea and ate our dinner in a near by Dhaba. On the way back, Gaurav (who loves drinking) took a bottle of whisky and finished half of it by the time it was midnight. It was that part of the year when it begins to rain and this was no special day. By the time we reached home, it was raining good. We still hadn’t had packed up the stuff. It was lying scattered all over the room! While he dozed off in a deep slumber, I stated packing all that I thought we would need. We had decided that we will wait for the rain to stop and in the mean time, would finish up with the packing. Now, I am a sort of a person who would like to carry my own little world where ever I go, so this packing took me around 4 hours and three Bags for me and three bags for Gaurav. One of my bag had all the clothing I thought would be required for the Unseen Lands. Another bag had a ship-load of tools and spares. The third bag, which was the tank bag was stuffed with quick utilities. For Gaurav, I packed his clothes in one large blaqck bag, another one had some jackets and woolens packed in it. The third one, which was again a tank bag had his quick utilities in it. We stated tying up the bags on the bike and it took us some good 60 minutes to get it all loaded securely on our bikes. And we knew that this is going to be a regular practice for another few days. So, at around 5 in the morning, we had the bikes all decked up, but Rain God was still pouring, though, I should rather called it light drizzle. We thought for a while to let the rain stop, but with all the preparations done, I for sure dint want to allow something as small as drizzle to ask us to delay our departure. Another 15 minutes went past and we cranked the engines. Rain or no rain, we couldn’t wait no more. It was 5:20 by my watch, on the 15th of June 2008. The first thing that we were supposed to do was to fill up the fuel tanks to the brim, hence rode to the nearest Fuel Station for the fill without a spill! It was still drizzling, but I dint complain, I couldn’t be anymore happy. We were finally riding to Leh and what a start. During that part of my life, although I wasn’t a very articulate rider and never planned my things in the most precise and accurate manner, I still felt that it would be not a very wise thing to go to Manali via Ropar (Rupnagar). Looking at the Paper map, I could see that we could take an alternate route and skip Ropar. Hence, instead of going towards Ropar, we moved towards Phillaur. The map showed that we can reach Manali via Phillaur too. Ok, you can laugh! Our first small break was on the outskirts of Phillaur, were we stopped for morning tea. We looked at the map and asked the tea vedor for the directions for GarhShanker. Don’t curse yourself if you haven’t heard of the place, neither had we, prior to that date. We were informed that there is a small road that goes from Phillaur towards Garhshanker. Finishing off the tea, we set forward for GarhShanker. It was still drizzling. I forgot to mention, despite all the loadings that we had on our steeds, we dint bother to buy and carry a set of rain suit. Stupidity to the hilt. But who was complaining. June is particularly hot and humid in this part of the country and hence, riding in the rain was not a pain, atleast at that point in time. The small road that we took was our first taste of adventure of slush and mud. It was under construction and the authorities had piled up truck loads of clay and gravel on the track. At moderate speeds, we passed our first test.