Now we were amidst huge peaks covered with snow which never defreeze. One can see huge black mountains but in a second look, one would realize they are glaciers painted with pollutants. Pollution created by us can affect places we can’t even imagine. It destroys the beauty we couldn’t even see.
The roads were getting bad. Water from the melting glaciers was making the road slippery, filthy & muddy. Even a 25km drive was taking hours. It was frustrating. No vegetation, no humans, only a few bikers who can be seen now & then.
Every biker who passes from the road gives a thumb up to the other biker. A very crazy tradition which I was absolutely unaware of. With every biker passing by with a thumbs up, I asked my friend if he knows them. He smiled & said that I would know them too. But then the tradition infected me too. Every worker working on the road also waves at you. Amazing. It is probably the spirit of adventure they wave at, not u or me. it is the same spirit which unite nationals of different nations among this killing terrain.
Then we reached Sarchu which is half way between Manali-Leh. I was getting impatient. The monotonous terrain & lack of oxygen & time consuming bad roads - they all were making me extremely depressed. When we got down at Sarchu for a Police Check, I was fuming & the target was everything around. What made the situation worse was the knowledge from the Hawaldaar at the post that the road ahead was going to be even worse. Leh was now 252kms away & I had to reach there before I die. The beautiful terrain could no longer hold my attention. But since no one dies of boredom, I survived.
Amongst all these depressing issues, I saw a sign board which said “Welcome to the Paradise on Earth”. Yes we had touched Kashmir. The Kashmir I had seen in magazines was so different from the one I was experiencing now. Believe me, it was no Paradise but a scary hell & the devil was doing everything possible to make us stay there forever.
In the very next curve, we found a bridge broken & hanging midway. It was a big bridge & repairing could have demanded at least two days. What irritated me the most was people saying around “all this is common here”. Well now those common thing s were going to take away my precious two days. But then as they say “ no one stops bikers” we saw a group of bikers pushing each other’s bike through a ditch near by to reach the road on the other side. We followed them & saved out two days from getting wasted.
It was there when we met a small group of three bikers from Delhi & became friends instantly…...