I’m an avid traveler. I go places across the country every month. Unlike most other folks, I don’t travel for soul searching or solitude seeking purposes. I travel places just because I want to explore every nook and corner of the world. It definitely isn’t easy. I travel mostly on low budget using local public transport most of which is tiresome and time consuming.
Beyond beautiful scenaries and silent echoes, it’s about the simple life values I learn from some of the most down to earth people that makes every trip of mine a memory that never fades.
Ladakh, the land of paradise
Pangong lake on a solo trip was always on my bucket list. I’d rented a bike and it took me over 5 hours to reach there. Every moment was breathtaking on route with beautiful sceneries around. Pangong was equally special, spread with beautiful colours and it was magical under the moonlight.
I prepared for my return journey the next day morning only to realize that the bike wouldn’t start due to the cold weather and the extra can of petrol I carried had leaked completely during my onward journey. I was determined to leave anyway. After shaking and dragging, the bike would start.
Overnight, it had snowed heavily and the route was covered with snow. It was difficult to ride a bike and I skid thrice lucky enough to fall on the road and not down the hill. Just that the third time, I went unconscious. A local transporter with his folks helped me out, took me to a shelter a few kms away while I could barely open my eyes. They gave me warm water and sat me next to fire to warm my body.
When I got better and came out of the tent, I found my bike and my bag missing. Those guys had somehow managed to load both inside their traveller. They drove me all the way down. I was grateful to the transporter and chose to offer him money which he refused. He then said and I quote, “what’s humanity if we can’t help each other in dire need? Treat me for alcohol, the next time we meet(he laughed).”
Tawang, a heaven in northeast India
In terms of beauty, I would rate this Valley alongside Ladakh and Spiti among the best in India. Known to have the second largest monastery, this place in the northeast for me defines calmness and sereneness just like the heart of people out there in this Valley. It was around 7pm when the light set in and Tawang had almost gone to sleep. I ran to the last shop that was open to buy some artifacts.
It cost me INR 320 to be precise which I paid and started walking towards my room. I had walked about 100 metres under the darkness with the torchlight on my phone providing me the ray of light, when the shopkeeper reached out to me. He asked me if by chance I had paid 100 rupees more than the bill amount. I checked my balance amount in my wallet and he was right. He smiled as he gave me back the note.
I was curious and asked him, “Most people generally take it for granted, why did you walk down all the way just to hand over me that extra money?” He replied, “People here value honesty. What purpose does a human serve if he can’t be honest with a fellow human being?” Well, I haven’t been always honest in my life but I had a sound sleep that night after that valuable conversation.
Spiti, you beauty
It was a bike trip to one of the most surreal places across the country. Spiti’s natural beauty overshadowed the terribly laid human roads on that valley. We were one hour short of reaching Kaza when the bike broke down, thanks to the bumpy ride. A bunch of unknown fellow wanderers tried helping us fix the bike, but in vain. A passerby local taxi driver drove us to Kaza for no penny and helped us find a room for the night.
The next morning, we booked a tempo to get the bike for repair. On the way back, I struck a conversation with the driver. He hailed from Jharkand and I was surprised as he said that. He proudly spoke about having met Dhoni. He also told me about his friend on the other side of the valley who he meets twice a year when they head back home just when winter sets in and get back when it is almost over. He said, it takes 4 days to reach home. I asked him, “why would you travel so far to earn money while staying away from your family for most of the year?”
To which he replied and I quote, “I tagged along with my uncle when I was 12 as I had nothing to do back home. I drove around the town with no valid license. Recently I procured my license and I have started making good money. People down the hill live in a rat race. I haven’t studied or earned much but I’m happy here. People here are so down to Earth, everybody helps and knows each other. This place is beautiful and life is peaceful.” So much from a barely 19 year old.
“Travel, first makes you speechless, and then a storyteller.” – Rumi