Winters had started settling in Leh. I used to get up the earliest, take the coldest shower from the waters of Indus. For at least half a day to come, my peace with that.
I was making tea when i heard Cynthia, singing. An old American woman who had been teaching in Leh for last 29 years. From the US, she arrived each winter to teach Laddakhi students. I offered Cynthia Tea. She said “I am sorry, I am still not Indian’ and laughed out loud. And asked me to come up and look at the old lines on her table.
The table had a beautiful map. And this map sounded fulfilling. It had a path along the river Indus, that left the road way down and lead one to an ancient looking narrow canyon. She suggested, I must take that. And then without asking walk for an hour or two to the village called TAR. There lives my best friend; in a cave, like kitchen, where Ibex’s and snow leopards come sometimes to say hello.
I left. In between late and very late. Almost not sure. Not excited. On my Himalayan. but something felt missing the whole day. More motivation! No. What had I thought and where am I leading myself to. The path seemed contrasting in my head. And Just before getting close to half the way to Chilling, I u-turned from a gorgeous bridge over Zanskar and rode back like I wasn’t riding. Faster, anxious as one gets after getting a temporary focus, on my way back to Leh. A blinker of a turn and I almost threw myself under a truck. If you are here reading, and have ever come close to feel a bump just before a possible death, well i was so close that in those moments I whispered to myself inside that helmet, okay! I am here, but then i don’t know how i just slid past the big tires. It was a warning, scary warning and will keep in check for upcoming few days on the my ride to the border roads.
Those days many things were going on in head, as UT was a new thing for the region things were not in place. I remember i took a U-turn because if i did not get the inner permit signed, i would be trapped in let for another 3 days with motorcycle meter ticking on each day.
I straight away rode to the permit office and got the stamp for Hanle. It is one of the remotest areas in Southern Ladakh. It’s getting colder every day and Hanle will just be a like horses sitting on wind. Almost 250 kilometres from leh, reaching Hanle in a day is going to be one long journey. The only way I know I can enjoy it, is by making the most evoking memories, images and film ever to have come from a human from that place, more so words. There will be something I ll take back home for the world before I conclude this long story forever.
Many lines on my land
It’s Mr. Modi’s birthday tomorrow. I wish him from my bed here. And it’s my birthday the day after. It may happen that i will be beyond the towers of the corporates for next three days. But if I am not. I will see you again with some more words.
As for Cynthia’s map. I have a plan 🙂
Nara : x