So another long pause. After reading my last blog wify dear asked, “when will you reach Leh and when will you come back to Bangalore. In your blogs … ” 🙂
Ya if you want to know the journey so far read the previous blogs (
- The courage of one lets another seek adventure,
- Call of the Valley,
- Mad Max on fury road or was it death race?
- If anything can go wrong it will, soon enough,
- Leh and your Heart will tug, is you and machine geared?
We are still midway between Leh and Sonmarg, this blog will take us into Leh.
Great things need a vision with an ability to peer far far into the future, understand it, simply it. You need to be convinced about it. And then comes the hard work of sharing this vision with the people around you. Sell it to them so they own it and then work with a shared understanding to fulfil it. Along the way things will change, clarity will emerge, obstacles too. Goals and directions will need to be adjusted, modified or drastically changed. But the vision, that needs to be firm. It is like a Beacon from far to guide the work of here and now. Your conviction on its validity and about the world it will usher will guide the teams in dark hours.
These were the thoughts that slowly made into my mind as I was rolling up and down the Himalayan mountain roads and the rest of the team members were doing their own races. In this mega trip, we had sped our way into Srinagar and then took a break. We had a restful night at Sonmarg and covered Dras, Kargil. After that, a good lunch and posing at the Namkula pass, we had split off into solos, couples and triplets. The destination was Leh.
The roads were relatively clean, traffic nonexistent ish. We would pass trucks, carrying lifeline and tourist-friendly stuff. Odd car, a decent share of motorbikes. Saw few gutsy souls on bicycles too.
After lunch, we had paused at the Namkula Pass. Posed a lot and pee’d a bit. A couple of riders set off for Leh. I decided to follow them but at my own pace. The ride was like a mediation. The roads here need to follow contours of the mountains. Descend, rise, meander. Cross a brook or a stream in the spurs. Sometimes there is a clear view till far ahead. I could see the faraway mountains and the serpentine tarmac. This is like a peek into my future just a few minutes or maybe a couple of hours later. And then there would be the blind curves. I was not sure if at that bend, there would be a monster like truck or nothing. Clear view and blind curves interleaved to make me introspect and this became the metaphor for life and work. Vision and actions are like that. Clarity at unexpected times – a sleepless night in the bed, bathroom, movie hall or in a corridor and then the occasional blindness while acting.
At a distance, I would see a mountain and it would constantly appear despite the bends, climb ups or downs. Very clear that that is the next big mountain to cross. But it would look so very distant. Snow tipped, defined in the haze and disappear and reappear regularly. I would think it is so so so far. Even with constant revs from my trusted steed, it would keep receding at my pace. As if luring me but be unattainable.
Then the immediate would make me look at the road ahead, tweak the handle to avoid stones, reduce speed or increase speed. Or the beauty of an azure, still lake would arrest my attention. The route is scenic with a couple of them. Also seen was a lazy, clear meandering river equally hypnotizing. Savouring all these hypnotizing views I came upon a valley with a stretch of unimaginably straight road.
At that point, instinct took over and the machine went to the fastest speed. Midway there I stopped. Vast open valley with towering mountains on the fringes. It was but natural that this point in space and time needed a freeze. So I froze and took a pic.
As I drove along I realized I crossed those unattainable mountains, they were behind me and not in front.
I came upon a village and thought of having a tea break. I was also wondering where the rest of the gang was. Few were ahead and few behind. As I ordered the tea and I was lost in thoughts, swirling wisps of steam in that cold valley broke my revere and I saw two of my mates roaring by. Did a couple of quick gulps, gunned my own bike and went after them. The chase was fun and was not long, nor was it short and I caught up with them since they stopped at the Magnetic point. Here is the mystery of this spot. The road inclines so a car must roll down if in the neutral gear and with no brakes on. It does not!
For bikes apparently, it is not so. We took the customary pics and move on. Presently post a shortish ride we were at the gates of Leh. We were greeted by the guns, jeeps and other assorted well-polished military displays. The war memorial. And then the arch that said Leh 0 KM.
So this was the land of bikers’ dreams. Pretty, imposing, inviting, forbidding. The thin chill air felt good and the mobiles had signals. So we connected with rest of the gang, got directions for the hotel where we were staying and with a fast approaching Himalayan dusk, three of the proud, dusty riders with more dusty Avengers halted their mad rush and found the paradise.
There are tons more of adventures yet to reveal but this was an end of this fabulous leg of our journey. The Bangalore to Leh road run in heat, rain, chill. Falls and misses. Troubles and reliefs. Of the group that formed and forged a bond that will take us through the rest of the thrilling journey.
We had all crossed those imposing distant unattainable mountains. The conviction came with each rotation of the tyre. Curves, slopes, ups were taken one at a time. That is how the leader and team with vision get it done. A real goal, a general idea of the direction. Faith in themselves. And bent by bend, twist by twist, rev by rev you get to it. And then the next adventurous part begins …..