It was 2 am in the night. All four of us were struggling to inhale oxygen in a small tent at that mountain top. Outside the tent in Sarchu, temperature was 5 degree Celsius. Noises of turbulent chilly wind and Indus river flowing beneath the mountain were creating internal, external and eternal chaos. All four of us had torrents of thoughts running inside our heads.
Salad, Shelter, Security and Sex do not make all the ingredients required to 'live'. Bored of mundane job life, stagnant weather and philosophical debates, we concluded to trip Leh on Bike. Unplanned and unstructured, we rented bikes from Manali to Leh. With the news of cloud bursts telecast on news channels, it was not best of the seasons to plan the trip. But Who CARES!
We started. It was all smooth, comforting and picturesque, untill we reached Rohtang. It rained previous night in Rohtang and therefore the roads near Rohtang were mired enough to only offer speeds of few cm/sec to buses and trucks. Those two hours turned out funny, exhausting, irritating and adventurous. I could hear the echoes of agneepath inside my funny head. Every one was searching for hope. Few of the travelers actually turned back from Rohtang only. Random stuffs like gum-boots, eno, cakes purchased from Manali turned out life saviors for those roads.
I did drop my new Samsung Galaxy phone on the bumpy road. Of the 0.001 probability to find it back after 5 km of travel, I turned out to be the lucky one. It was as blessing as enlightenment at that particular moment. Crossing clouds and stones through dark scary valleys at night we traveled till Keylong for the first day. I swear, the first cup of tea at Keylong was the most awesome thing that happened with us that night. Next morning we found ourselves wrapped in beautiful clouds under the influence of Buddhist chants and serene river flow. We moved ahead on one of the most finest roads and most difficult roads to Sarchu. Our night stay at Sarchu enlightened us with the existence and requirement of oxygen. Our tummies took loads of medicines, boiled water and Old Monk to struggle that low oxy-zone. We left Sarchu as early as possible to cover all other low oxygen area by the day time.
Royal Enfield is the most Loyal in field. We reached Leh on 3rd night, had glasses of 'nimbu pani' and fine dinner. Next day we covered Pangong Lake, Alchi monastry, passes, falls, mountains, plains, etc. It was quite interesting that any landscape with more than 4 houses were termed villages and more than 50 were considered somewhat close to cities. The villages are so beautiful. People are always ready to welcome you with maggie, yak milk, momos and beautiful smiles.
I have never been to Europe, but I suggest to visit the lanes of Manali to Leh before blindly praising Europe. Most of the visitors of Pangong lake consider themselves a part of 3 Idiots. Truly, we are so filmy in our existence. Aren't we :)