Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Brain vs GF

BRAIN Vs GF No prices for guessing who won at last. Nice one..........*

Akash was waiting for his love ....

"30 minutes late!!", his brain shouted at him, "Last time you were 5 mins late and she had literally gobbled u up ... remember??"

"Yeah yeah", he said to his brain, "You know her ... all moody and stuff .... oh there she is"

"Scold her OK?", his brain adviced.

"OK I will try"

Sweet Sheetal comes with the cutest smile and says "Im sorry honey .. I was shopping for shoes .. totally forgot about you"

"What if you had said that line buddy?", shouted his brain ... "she would have had a nervous breakdown"

Akash ignored his brain .. "Its OK honey .. its only half an hour . no problem"

She smiled once again .. held his hand and asked "Hope you remember what occasion is today"

"OMG!!!", thought Akash .....

"Brain ... search database for reminders, anniversaries, silly anniversaries, birthdays and birthdays of people I dont care about"

Brain got into action ... he started delegating work to different parts ..

parallel processing .. multiple search .......... complete memory scan.

Sheetal stared at Akash .... "Hello!! u have been staring at me for 2 minutes now ... u OK?"

"Huh!!!", he said, "Oh ... nothing's wrong .. was lost in thought"

"No records found", said the brain ...

"Da**mn!!", thought Akash

"So what say ... how do we celebrate this day?", she asked.

Akash is all confused ... "Ask her ...dumbo?".. said the brain

"OK OK ...stop pushing me"

"Honey .. U know my lousy memory .. I guess I cant recall what today is"

"WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!", she shouted ... and started crying.

"How could you forget!! ..... its my doggy's birthday"


A moment of silence.

His entire brain staff was laughing at him.

Akash was dumbfounded.

"What the hell am I supposed to do know?", he asked his brain.

"Damage control sequence initialized ... dont worry our specialist will comeback with the perfect line to make everything all right"

"Better do it fast ..brainy"

The brain was working at 90% capacity .... gathering and analyzing all data on 'How to handle women?'

Finally an answer was computed and communicated to Akash.

He looked up to her, and said "Of Course I remember your doggy's bday .. how can I forget that sweet mutt's special day"

She looked up with utter surprise ...

"HUH!!!!!!! ........ Doggy is the name of my cat you je**rk"

She stood up angrily and left.

Akash and his brain were left there clueless .



Monday, July 27, 2009

bill gates in 2nd grade

A note from Bill Gates' second grade teacher:

Billy has been having some trouble behaving in class lately... Last Monday he horded all of the crayons and refused to share, saying that he needed all 160 colors to maximize his 'innovation'. He then proceeded to sell little pieces of paper ("End-User License Agreement for Crayons" he called them) granting his classmates the 'non-transferable right' to use the crayons on a limited time basis in exchange for their lunch money...

When I tried to stop Billy, he kept harping about his right to innovate and how my interference violated basic notions of free-market capitalism. "Holding a monopoly is not illegal," he rebutted. I chastised him for talking back, and then I took away the box of crayons so others could share them... angrily, he then pointed to a drawing of his hanging on the wall and yelled, "That's my picture! You don't have the right to present my copyrighted material in a public exhibition without my permission! You're pirating my intellectual property. Pirate! Pirate! Pirate!"

I developed a headache that day that even the maximum dosage of Aspirin wasn't able to handle. And then on Tuesday, he conned several students out of their milk money by convincing them to play three-card Monty...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Leh Road Trip Saga - kargil to kashmir to delhi

Disclaimer : The dialogues and characters may be mismatched. Any irregularities are pure co-incidential. There might be some dialogues and scenes to make the tale more spicy.

The road from Kargil to srinagar was terrible. All broken up - muddy and gravel. At times we were doing less than 10 Kmph. It seemed that we would be on this road for ever. We crossed Drass - the second coldest inhibited place in the world and saw the famous tiger hill.

Around lunch time we reached Baltal. Baltal is the place from where trek to amarnathji starts. It is popular destination for a lot of shivji devotees. The place is beautiful. It is a valley between 3-4 hills and from the top of the hill you could spot lots and lots of tents and vehicles - maybe millions. I did not have any idea that this place would be so crowded.

The road improved a lot from Baltal. As we moved ahead, we approached sonmarg. We could see people bathing in the icy river. We had our lunch in sonmarg. It turns out that sonmarg has good hotels where we could stay.

J : We should have come till sonmarg for stay instead of kargil.
R : Yes, the hotels here look nice.
L : But they might be all full due to the amarnathji yatra rush.

Sonmarg was beautiful. There is a glacier there which you can visit. But it is offroad and would take around 2 hours. We skipped that. And proceeded to kashmir. Soon we could see fields full of yellow flowers. As we came closer, we found out that the yellow flowers were yellow roses. It is strange to see not a single plant but a field full of rose bushes. We drove ahead with the river flowing by our side.

Guddu : Sir, you could see wallnut and cherry trees on the side of the roads.
L : What?? Just like that!!!
R : We could just pluck them and take
Guddu : Ya ya..

We stopped and plucked some raw walnuts and cherries and take some photos. As we entered kashmir we realized that the temperature was high. Guddu put on the A/C. It was very hot and humid. We went to a mughal garden and took some photos and then proceeded to dal lake for renting a house boat. As soon as we stopped at the bank of dal lake, few shikara men (boat rowers) came to us and offered their help in locating a house boat. We saw a few house boats and finally finalized on one. The problem was that we needed a house boat with 3 rooms so that we could all be together and it was difficult to find a house boat with all 3 rooms empty.

Once we were settled in the house boat we took a bath and went for a boat ride. Dal lake is like a city on lake. You get coffee shops, fruit vendors, clothes, wooden workshops - all on top of the dal lake in boats. It is a major tourist center and so is very costly as well. The humidity was high because of the heat. They say that that kashmir is hot in june & july. Rest of the year the whether is pleasant.

We had fruits and kava (kashmiri tea) and pakodas as we roamed about. We saw floating vegetable gardens - a piece of land on the water where vegetables are grown. The land keeps on floating on water and can be dragged away if needed. We went to a walnut wood factory and saw loads of decorative stuff made of walnut - which were extremely costly as well. Next we stopped at a cloth shop and did some shopping. We reached our house boat at 10 pm and had our diner - which was really good. Kashmiri non-veg and rice and rotis. And then we went to sleep.

We woke up late the next day - around 7 and left the house-boat.

R : We have to cover around 900 kms today.
J : 15 hours at least.

We drive towards jammu by the jawahar tunnel (which connects jammu to kashmir). There is a huge traffic jam near jammu where we lost an hour. We drive non-stop till lunch time. The temperature is now 40 degrees and the ac is running at full power. We are all cramped in our seats. We stop for lunch at a dhaba and have normal rajma-rice.

L : It is very hot, lets turn around.
J : Yes lets turn around and go back to leh. We can cover nubra valley.
B : I like srinagar better. Lets stay in srinagar for 2-3 days.
N : And what about office ?
R : Sapne dekhna band karo aur chalo vapas. We have to go to office on monday.
J : We should have taken 1 more week off.

Again we drive non-stop till chandigarh. We reach chandigarh at 11-12 in the night. Have a very heavy diner and go to sleep. The temperature is high and we are all sweating non-stop.

J : It will take some time to get adjusted to the heat.
L : Our guddu driver was the most lucky one. He put on the A/C and slept in the car.
Guddu : Sir 300 rs ka petrol phook dia.
R : Koi nahi, Atleast you slept well.

Next day, we had breakfast and we proceeded towards Delhi. We reached Delhi around 2-3 in the afternoon and proceeded to our homes. We should have taken more time in exploring leh. And there is almost nothing in leh - except relaxing and good weather. The road is where the beauty lies.
Also both manali-leh & srinagar-leh routes are good in their own way. Manali-leh for its snow covered beauty with high peaks and passes and barren land. And Srinagar-leh with its landscapes both barren and greenery and flowers.

Leh Road Trip SAGA - Leh to khardung la and to kargil

Disclaimer : The dialogues and characters may be mismatched. Any irregularities are pure co-incidential. There might be some dialogues and scenes to make the tale more spicy.

Next day we decided to tough the highest motorable road in the world - khardung la. We left at around 7 and drove at an easy pace. Everyone seemed tired even after a night's sound sleep.

R : Should we do nubra valley? We can go and come back on the same day.
J : Lets see what happens. It seems that all are tired.
B : What is there in Nubra valley ?
J : Sand and desert and camels with 2 humps
L : Lets send guddu to get a pic of the camel with 2 humps and we will use photoshop to put us on to the camel.
N : I am tired but i am ok with going. After coming so far, we dont want to miss out on any thing.
Guddu : Sir kaha chalna hai ?
R : Lets go to Khardungla first and then we will decide if we want to go further.

We drove to khardung la which is around 45 kms from leh. The road was smooth in the beginning and the climb is also not very steep. But later in the last 5 kms, the road turns very bad and broken with snow all over. We all have headaches by the time we reach the top. We get out of the car.

J : It is very very cold here.
N : What else do you expect at the highest motorable road in the world.
R : lets click some photos.
B : My headache is getting worse. Why do we come here - to get headaches?
J (to R) : I dont think we would be able to go to Nubra valley.
L : There is no one here to offer tea.

We see lots of cars pulling up and people getting out and clicking photos. In 30 minutes we click many photos. Both B & N go inside the cafeteria and sit down. All have bad headaches. We decide to head back to leh from here. And proceed to shey palace - local sight seeing.

The shey palace is around 40-50 kms from leh - it is in shey. It was well located and there was a huge fish pond in front of it. We saw lots of tourists and a huge buddha statue there.

We drive back and reach leh by lunch time. We all go to bed to relieve ourselves of the terrible headaches. We leave in the evening and look for a new resturant for food. There is a rooftop resturant which we enter, but it is cold on the roof top, so we decide to have diner inside the
resturant itself. The soup is good. And the food is gr8 here - even non-veg. We try kashmiri non-veg dish and it is too good.

After a nice sleep in the night we start towards kargil & kashmir the next day at around 7 am.

L : Kya yaar, we missed nubra valley.
J : Lets turn the car around and go to nubra valley.
B : No yaar, we have to join office on monday - lets go to kashmir.
R (to Guddu) : Can we reach kashmir in a single day?
Guddu : We can, but it will be a long drive - around 14 hours.
J : We will stop at kargil or drass where-ever we get tired.
B : And at Patthar Sahab and take his blessings
N : And at magnetic hill and see how it works.
B : And eat langar at Patthar Sahab.

So, we drive out of Leh and in an hour we are at patthar sahab. It is a gurudwara where a huge stone had fallen on one of the gurus. And as history says that the stone turned to wax and the figure of the guru was engraved into the stone. The gurudwara was almost deserted with a few military men taking care of its maintenance. There were other travelling people who stopped there for a visit. We came to know that the langar was held in the afternoon, but they had some left-overs and we had that. It still tasted great. And we moved ahead.

Within 15-20 minutes we were at magnetic hill. There was a simple board on the road which says "Magnetic Hill".

N : What happens here?
J : If we leave the car in neutral, it will start sliding.
Guddu : You all get down, and let me try.

We all get down and guddu tries the magnetic hill. The results were good and we enjoyed.

As we proceeded ahead from magnetic hill, the landscape was very enchanting. The roads were very smooth. You could call it a moonscape cause there was hardly any vegetation. The whole area was full of soil and mountains of rocks. We drove for around 4-5 hours with a small lunch stop in
between. Around 5 pm we were in kargil. We were losing altitude. The road from leh to kargil was muddy and most of it was still under construction. But there were no peaks to be crossed. The highest point on this road is Fotu la around 13,500 ft.

J : Lets go till drass and stop there.
R : How far is drass ?
J : Around 50 kms
L : No, lets stop here itself, it seems like a huge town.

Kargil is a huge city built on both sides of a river. We had thought that kargil would be some small city and it would be difficult to find hotels there, but looking at the size of kargil, we were sure that we could find hotel there. The city is very strategically located on the banks
of a river and with a huge river bed. But it has not been well kept. It could have become a tourist spot if it was well kept.

We searched for hotels. We had heard about a hotel named Caravan and we went there. It was on top of a hill and the roads were really very narrow. The rooms were not very welcoming though they costed 1000/- each (after discount). Another hotel recomended to us by the leh hotel manager
was hotel siachen. It is very close to the market and the approach road is very crowded. There is a parking space near this hotel, but it was full. We went to the hotel and looked at the rooms. They were better but still dingy. The fact that this was supposed to be the best hotel in the city made us feel a bit insecure.

The city was dirty and the streets were narrow. The hotel room itself smelled strangely. The people looked un-educated.

L : I want to run away from here as soon as possible.
J : Kyu ?
L : I feel strange over here. The people look strange.
B : I dont feel safe.
R : We should have stopped at drass.
N : What's done is done, lets have diner and sleep early. We will leave from here at around 5.
J (the early riser) : Ok with me.
R : I wont try non-veg here.
L : I dont know if they have proper chicken here. They could feed you something else.
J : Lets eat simple veg - dal & rice.
R : The hotel is veg.
B : That is ok, but why do the rooms have this strange smell.
N : Dont worry, you will get used to it.

We have diner at 8 and pay our bills there itself. The toilets are not well maintained. The Bed also seems strange with small pillows and lots of blankets. I counted 6 blankets in my room itself. We sat in a room after diner and had a long chat - something we were missing in this trip
- a relaxed chat. We refreshed our old memories about our jobs and our early lives. It was a night to remember. We went to our bed at 12. The whole town was in darkness.

J : We leave at 6.
Everyone else laughs.
L : As early as possible.

J closes the door to his room and locks it properly. He then puts his bags against the door to prevent anyone from forcing it open. Our of the 6 blankets, he keeps 2 and throws the remaining on the floor. The bed and the blankets smell stronger. He thinks how would he sleep with this s
mell. Maybe he would not be able to get the smell out of his head. Maybe the smell will haunt him - linger with him throughout his life. (Today as I write the blog, the smell has returned to my head.) He checks the bed for any bugs/insects and then lies on the bed and covers himself with the blanket. He tries to cover his nose, but it does not help. But he is tired, so he sleeps.

J wakes up at 5. N is sleeping. He feels that the smell has embedded itself in his head. He takes a quick bath and wears clean clothes and watches TV after knoching on all the rooms and waking the sleeping members. The car is ready and we all leave without breakfast at around 8. Though
the city and the hotel is left behind now, we could still feel the strangeness and insecurity.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Leh Road Trip Saga - leh to pangong lake and back

We checked in our hotel and the slept the whole day.

Hotel Manager: Sir, there is hot water. Come down and have some tea, once you are ready. You were supposed to be here last night.
J : We got stuck at tanglangla. Please take the luggage to our room. We would like you to arrange for permits to pangong and nubra valley.
(We had done some research and knew that permits were required to visit these restricted areas. Also 4-5 photocopies / region is required, cause you need to submit the photocopy when you cross a military checkpost.)
Hotel manager : Ok sir. Please give me your names and it will cost you 150/- rs per head.

We knew that the permits were made available for free, but we did not have the energy to go to the permit office that day. Neither did we have the energy for arguing with him. We handed him over the money and the names and proceeded with fulfilling our sleep.

J woke up around 3-4 hours later and took bath. Others were sleeping. J was very hungry, so, J woke up N and L and around 2-3 pm we went for lunch. We were aching to have lots of good food preferably non-veg. But the scene was sad. There are some days in laddakh when non-veg is not available in the entire market. Our luck was bad - and today was one such day. We moved from one resturant to another looking for non-veg. Finally we found a place "Bon Appetit" where we could have non-veg. We ordered soups. J ordered french-onion soup and L ordered chicken soup. We ate whatever was available. The food was not that good - but the soups were great. J fell in love with french-onion soup and for the rest of his stay had only french-onion soup with all his meals.

We went back and slept for the rest of the day. R & B had lunch later in the evening. Around 7-8 we went out for diner. Our hotel manager suggested a resturant - tibetian kitchen for tibetian food, but we found it dingy and smelly. We instead went to another place known as golden dragon and had a lot of veg food. When we came out of the resturant at 10:30, we could not find anyone on the street. We were the only people - and we walked back to our place fast.

Our impression of leh was that it was a very small city and the market was equally small. If you spend 2-3 hours walking, you might cover the whole city. The people were not-very-friendly. In fact they seemed frustrated. The season in leh is only for 3-4 months during which they make money. Most of the stuff in leh comes from big cities like Delhi so they sell it very expensive in leh.

There is also a taxi association in leh, so if you get a taxi from outside you wont be allowed to run that in leh. You have to hire taxi from leh only. Since we had a private number - we made the impression that it was our own car - which saved us the trouble. The taxis in leh are very
expensive but at the same time they could be bargained to bring down the cost by 10-15%.

We slept like a log that night. Next morning around 7 we were up and ready and we left for pangong lake.

Guddu : Sir, do you know the way to pangong.
L : Guddu, you have been here before, you should know the way.
Guddu : Sir, last time we did not go to pangong.
L : Lets ask people on the road.
J : It is 170 kms from here.
[We ask people and figure out the way]
R : I hope the road is good.
Guddu : There is a checkpost - let me go and submit the permit there.

We move ahead and after some time the road starts deteriorating. By the time we reach The Might Chang la - the third highest pass in the world at 17,800 ft. It is called The Mighty Chang la because of the steep and bad roads - which make the climb challenging. We stopped at Chang la and took some photos. There is an army base there which serves herbal tea. We all had fresh headaches due to the height and loss of oxygen. It was terribly cold there.

We started our descent soon. And we were in a valley with amazing landscape on both sides. The road turned smooth and we could see snow on the base of the mountains. We stopped on the way to do some photography. Saw lots of yaks on the way. And after driving for around 4 hours we had the first view of pangong lake. It is actually difficult to believe that within these mountains and at such height there is such a huge lake with so clear water.

The approach to the pangong lake was bad. It seems that fresh roads were being built. We heard rock scrape at the bottom of our car 3-4 times.
We stopped at pangong and started shooting photos.

N : Wow such a beautiful lake.
B : People are getting crazy due to the beauty.
J : Look - ducks.
R : Is that chinese crazy. He is taking of his clothes and getting into the water.
L : The water is too cold.
J : What else do you expect - we are at such height. I am not going to touch the water - though it looks very inviting from here.
N : Look there are dhabas here too.
J : And tents. It seems we could spend the night here.
L : The lake would look very good in the night under the moonlight.
R : I wish we were on the bike, or we had more time, so we could spend one night here.

We had our lunch there and started our journey back. We came across a strange animal - which looked like a rat but was as big as a rabbit. Offered it some biscuits and took some photos.

We reached back by 5-6 pm - exhausted and rested. Later that night we again went to Golden Dragon for diner and had our fill of non-veg - even though the food was not that good. J had his spring onion soup earlier so he was satisfied.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Leh Road Trip SAGA - Keylong to Leh

Disclaimer : The dialogues and characters may be mismatched. Any irregularities are pure co-incidential. There might be some dialogues and scenes to make the tale more spicy.

We leave keylong and proceed towards Jispa. Jispa is beautiful. It only has hotels - no shops or anything. There is the highway - on one side of the highway there are hotels and on the other side is the river with a huge sand bank. Imagine sitting in your hotel room and watching the ri
ver flow by through the window. Imagine that it starts raining at that very moment. And you watch the sun set. At night it would be completely dark and silent. You could only hear the river flow.

Well, we pass jispa and approach a bridge. We stop here to take some photographs. Soon we see white snow covered mountains in front of us. As we drive towards it, we were unable to imagine that we would actually be driving on those snow covered mountains. In some time we see snow on the side of the road. Clean white snow - a lot cleaner and better than what we saw in Rohtang la. There are lots of trucks trying to climb the steep roads - puffing out black smoke. The roads are smooth and the drive is enjoyable.

Everyone : WOW
J : Look at that. Snow on both sides of the road.
N : Snow walls on both sides of the road. Lets stop somewhere and take some photos.
B : This is beautiful
R : If we stop, the trucks that we had overtaken would again overtake us.
L : Let me get down and take a photograph of the cab with snow walls on both sides.

We stop and take some photographs. It is at that moment that we realize that even if we walk a bit faster we start panting. Soon everyone is aware of the pain in their heads. We tie our scarfs over our heads to keep out the cold. We cross Baralacha at 16500 ft. The roads deteriorate and we see some trucks fallen and abandoned on the side of the road. The road is very narrow and broken at many places.

We reach cross Bharatpur and ZingZingBar which are very small towns. Soon we see tents on the side of the road. We have reached Sarchu - around 112 kms from keylong. The roads are ok but it is very muddy. We see military posts here and there. There are lots of luxury tents where one can stay in Sarchu. We cross and stop at a dhaba to have tea and coffee. It is very windy here and the wind is very cold. As soon as we get out our lips start cracking due to the cold. We have eggs and tea. We enquire and come to know that you could stay at the dhaba overnight for Rs 50
as well. I thank myself for stopping at a hotel instead of here. It would have been exhausting staying in Sarchu. Moreover washrooms were totally non-existent. Going out in the wind for nature calls would have been very cold.

We move ahead from Sarchu. All are tired and exhausted. The roads go for bad to worse to terrible. Everyone has a headache. We are all hungry and cold and are waiting to get to leh for a good hot meal.

B : Head is paining like anything
Guddu : Can i get a disprin.
(Everyone take one disprin each and gulp it down).
L : The headache forms a ring around the head. We could call this "The lord of the rings".
J : This is due to less air. We are travelling above 14000 ft - higher than the rohtang pass. Take long and frequent breaths. It should help.
(J opens his mouth and starts breathing heavily).
R : We should have bought a portable oxygen cylinder. It would have helped.

The roads become non-existent and all we could find are muddy bumps. The car is totally covered with dust.

Soon we reach the Gata loops - 21 loops which take you to up the top of another pass Nakee la at 15,547 ft. The loops have good roads but the climb is very steep. We are too exhausted to take the photograph of the board "Nakee la - 15547 ft". And we cross Lachulung la at 16,616 ft without even knowing about it. There is a huge valley with a small river flowing. We cross the river and proceed towards pang. The distance from Sarchu to pang was 80 kms but it took us almost 2-3 hours to cover it.

We reach pang around 4 in the evening. Hungry we order for dal chawal. It seems that rice-dal is easily available everywhere on this route. It was hot when it came and within 5 minutes it turns cold - even before we finish eating. All of us gobble up from the same plate. We order tea and coffee. The dhaba here was named "Sonam International". The dhaba owner gives us milk and coffee powder and sugar to prepare our own coffee. I prepare a very strong dose for myself. Refreshed and with some food in our hungry stomach - we proceed ahead.

Within 15 minutes of leaving pang, we are in moore plains. Moore plains is a flat piece of land (very flat and very large) at 15,400 ft . I did not believe in its vastness and flatness untill i saw it. It is difficult to believe that you are around 3000 ft above rohtang pass and it looks like you are on plains. The air is cold. There is a road here, but you could drive almost anywhere.

R : We could do dirt racing here.
J : Yes, we might have done - if we had got our bikes.
L : We could also do car racing here.
N : What are those - big stones there.
B : Oh god the stones are moving.
Guddu : Madamji, those are sheep.
N : So many of them, it looks as if the complete ground is covered with big white stones.
J : Where do they get water and food here - there is almost no vegetation here.
L : There is some grass on that side it seems.
R : It is difficult to believe that we are at such a height and there is no snow.
J : There is only mud.
L : The sun is so strong. Gudduji you have anything.
(N takes out sunscreen and we apply it on our exposed hands and face. Guddu and N place black screens on their window to prevent the sun from burning them).
L (pointing to a very small looking vehicle): What is that - so far away
R : Looks like a truck.
L : Gudduji, can you overtake it.
Guddu : Dekhte hai sir. Bahut door hei.
J : This place is awesome. We were climbing mountains and suddenly we are on plains and that too very huge.
L : When will we reach leh.
Guddu : I think by 11 pm.

After about an hour we are tired of looking at flat land and mud everywhere. We long for some variation in scenery. After about 2 hours we start climbing a mountain again. The roads are again very bad. There are places where innova's bottoms are scraped. And we climb to TangLang la - 17,582 ft - the 2nd highest pass in the world. It is very cold and windy here. We get out and feel our face and hands freeze. It is around 6 pm and we could see the sun going down. We take some photographs in 2 minutes and climb back into our warmer car. The "Lord of the rings" are back
with a bang. We all have terrible headaches.

We start climbing down. The road is terrible with snow on one side and deep valley on the other side. The roads are very narrow - two vehicles cannot cross here. After about 15 minutes we hit a traffic jam. This was the longest and the most painful night we had. We had to spend the entire night in the car with the "Lord of the rings" - hungry and cold. At night the temperature dropped below 0.

Guddu (Stops the car and gets out): Let me check what the problem is.
(We all are shivering inside the car)
R : Love do you have the blanket ?
L (passes the blanket, J & R get inside the blanket and cover their heads).

We wait for Guddu's return. He is back in 10 minutes.

Guddu (Gets in the car and rubs his hands together) : A truck's axle has broken. It is a truck carrying iron rods. It is too heavy and cannot be moved aside. They have called for help.
R : Kitna time lagega ?
Guddu : 1-2 hours - they say.
J : It is already 7 pm. We will reach by 1 in the night.
L : Lets hope for the best.

An hour goes by

R : It is 8. The sun sets here very late.
J : Yes, i think on mountains, the sun sets late and comes up early.
L : Yaar my head. The lord of the rings are playing kabbadi inside my head.
N & B : Ours too
J (Opens his mouth and starts breathing heavily) : Take in more oxygen - it should improve the headache.
L : I am hungry. Koi chawal de do.

We watch as the driver inside the truck on our right lights up his stove and starts cooking.

J : Yaar love, chal chawal mang kar aate hai.
R : Kuch garam mil jai peen ke lia.

Guddu goes out again and checks the situation. He is back in 10 minutes.

L : Kuch hua.
Guddu : Bahut thand hai. Sab apni apni gadi mein baithe hai. Koi kuch nahi kar raha.
R : Arey jam laga hai. Jab gadi aage nahi jaigi to apne aap koi aayega
Guddu : Bol rahe hai ki crane bulwaya hai. Wo sayad gadi ko hata de.
J : Jaldi hataye, i am cold and hungry. And i have to attend a nature's call. I am thirsty as well, but the water is too cold to drink.
L : Koi chawal de de.

It is dark outside. We are freezing inside the car. If we open up the window the cold comes in. If we close the window we feel suffocated due to lack of oxygen. We open a very small part of the window and breathe thru it.

J : It is 9 pm. I need to get out. My body is aching and i need to pee. I need some air. I am feeling nauseated.
N : It is very cold outside.
R : Let him go.
J : I will be back in 5 minutes.

J gets out and feels oxygen reaching his brain. He could feel his brain trying to clear up and the cold getting inside his clothes. The Lord of the rings increase 10 fold. His head starts going around in circles. He manages to stumble back to the car and gets inside. He starts shivering very badly. Everyone starts rubbing his hand and shoulders.

J : Shit man, it is cold outside.
L : aapne to hame dara dia hai.
J : It is very cold. I was not prepared for this cold.
R : Andar baitho. Dont go outside.

We all snuggle close to each other inside our blankets.

R : Old monk nikali jai.
J : Yes please.
L : Here it is.
R (Opening up old monk and taking a long sip) : Wow, this feels good and warm as it goes down.
J (Taking a gulp) : hmmmm warm.
L : Take a pic of mine as i take a sip.
B : Can i take a little.
R : Take a very small sip. A large one will make your neck burn.
N : Lets re-arrange the seating so that we are close to each other and we could stretch our legs.
J : I dont have the will to get out and re-enter the car.
L : I am afraid to get out.
R : Lets shift internally.
J : L get on the second seat. I will go on the back seat. R will come on the second seat. We can fold the seat next to the driver and stretch out legs.

It took us 20-30 minutes to re-arrange ourselves. Each small moment caused the "Lord of the rings" to multiply and we started panting. By the end of the exercise we were all panting as if we had run 10 miles.

L : Koi chawal de de.
J : Please feed the hungry.
R : I could do anything to get hot rice & dal.
J : It is 11 pm. lets hope it the road clears up soon.
Guddu is sleeping on the front seat covered from head to toe in his blanket.
The truck drivers on the left and right have had their diner. They light their stoves and sleep inside the truck in the warmth of the stove.

J : Mujhe scene accha nahi lag raha. It seems that everyone is sleeping instead of working at the truck.
R : It is very cold outside. Who will work?
L : Yaar, in truck wale apna sara intejam kar ke chalte hai. Hum jaise log ki vaat lagegi. Yeah to aaram se so jaiengay.

It is pitch dark outside. We all are breathing heavily with open mouths to make up for the loss of oxygen. The lord of the rings seems to reside on our heads permanently.

Someone from outside : Chalo, chalo, lets push the truck aside.
J : Inko abhi yaad aa raha hai.
Guddu : Chup raho. Itni thand mein bahar jana padega.
R : Sshhhh...
J : It is 12 pm.
N : When does the sun come up.
J : I saw it come up at 4:30 in keylong. It should be up at around 4.
L : 4 more hours.
R : I cant sleep in this cold and with this headache.
J : I dont think anyone can sleep in this situation. I have to go to attend nature's call, but it is too cold outside.
N : You can use a bottle.
J : Thanks, but i would prefer to wait for the morning.
L : Chawal...
R : Ab to sayad subha hi khulega.
J : Breathe heavily and deeply.

We lie in cold. The pain in the head has become constant and in fact we tend to be getting used to it. It has numbed our senses. We are thirsty and hungry. We have water and food, but we want to have them hot. We are too scared to have them cold. The cold passes thru the walls of the car and gets inside.

J : 12:30. Time is passing so slowly.

A truck starts in the distance.

Guddu : They keep on starting the trucks every few minutes so that the diesel does not get frozen up.
L : Oh.
R : Ek to oxygen nahi hai and these trucks are creating further pollution.
J : 1' O clock. 3 more hours.

J checks his watch every 15 minutes. The time is passing very slowly. Every now and then a truck starts up and spills out black smoke. The truck stays running for 5 minutes and then shuts down. Lots of tempo travellers have also pulled up on the route.

J : Imagine how long the JAM would be. If anyone is stuck at the peak, his situation would be worse.

We hang to each other for warmth and wait for the sun to get out. It is 4 am and still there is no sun.

J : Wait, the sun might be on the way.
R : We have waited for so long, Lets wait for some more time
L : Do we have any other option than waiting.

The sun comes out at 4:30. J puts his sweater, jacket, gloves and monkey cap.

J : I am going out to see the situation.
L : It is cold outside.
J : This time i am prepared.

J goes out and attends his nature call. It is very cold. He could feel the cold trying to get into his jacket, sweater and then his tshirt. J moves ahead to check the situation. There are people coming back knocking the cars and trucks and telling that the way has been cleared. J runs
back to his car.

J : I bring good news.
R : Kya?
J : The way has been cleared. We can move ahead.
Guddu (Starts the car) : tissue please.

Guddu tries to wipe the snow off the wind screen. But then realizes that it is not snow. The windscreen is covered with frozen ice. He starts the defogger on heat mode and waits for the ice to melt. We start slowly down the hill. Each bump causes the "lord of the rings" to shift and ca
use more pain. In some time we are down from the hill. We stop. L & B get out and empty their tummies of whatever they had. We cross rumtse and Upshi. In some time we enter Laddakh - we know that because we had to pay a very heavy toll there.

The road from there is very straight, smooth and beautiful. We are in a valley with hills on both sides. We enjoy the drive and also feel the pain in our heads and cramped bodies. We stop at a shop somewhere in between and attend our nature calls and have tea. Our heads are heavy and we are weak due to the ordeal in the night. We reach Leh by 8 am and proceed to our hotel.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Leh Road Trip SAGA - Rohtang to Keylong

By the time we crossed Rohtang, we were tired, exhausted, cold and hungry. It was around 3 in the afternoon and we had not had any lunch. Our originial plan was to reach Sarchu by evening. But covering round about 200 kms on hill in 3-4 hours looked difficult. Another option was a good government resort - The Chandra Bagha at Keylong (around 115 kms from manali) and Hotel IBEX at jispa (140 kms from manali).

As soon as we got down from the pass, we stopped by a very small village Kokhsar for some tea/coffee. The air was ice cold.

J : Lets stop for a Tea break and nature calls.
R : OK
(everyone gets down and sits on benches. There is just one small dhaba with a few benches. There are 4-5 houses and a guest house. A police check post and a theka.)
R : Kuch lena hai kya ?
J : For a theka in such remote location - they have a good collection. Fuel, RC, BP, Teachers. Lets take an Old Monk. We might require it because of the cold.
L (knocks on the theka) : Bhaiya, ek old monk dena.
[A hand comes out and hands over an bottle wrapped in newspaper. We pay him]
R : Lets order tea.
J : I will take coffee.
J(to dhaba wala) : Bhaiya coffee hai.
(the dhaba wala nodds his head)
J : Ek banana.

J gets coffee customised according to his needs. Lots of coffee and low sugar. Pure milk coffee - without water. The coffee tastes quite good. Better than barista coffee at that moment.

We all pack into the innova and continue our journey.

We are driving along the side of the river. We could see small streams of water coming from the mountains on both sides and merging with the stream.

N : Now i know how rivers are formed. Ice melts into water and flows into streams which form river.
J : For the first time, we have seen the creation of a river.
N : As a child i used to think that mountains are full of water and there are holes in the mountain from where water comes out and form rivers by merging.

We enjoy the beauty & the cold air. The roads are ok at some places and are bad at some places. We are driving along with the river and it is feels very nice.

After driving for an hour or so we come to Tandi (the last petrol pump on this route).

Guddu (driving ahead) : sir agle petrol pump mein bharwa lengay.
L : Kaha hai next petrol pump
Guddu : hoga aage sir
R : Yeah last pump hai. Aage 380 kms tak kuch nahi hai. (no more petrol pumps for the next 380 kms).
Guddu : Accha.
J : Mod lo aur tanki full karwa lo (turn around and get your tank full).

We fill petrol at Tandi - the last petrol pump. They only have premium petrol & diesel. They dont stock normal. In this condition, you cannot be a chooser. I even doubt whether their pump meters would be ok or not.

We reach Keylong around 6 pm. It is still light. We get into the town and ask for "The Chandra Bagha". We are told that it is on the highway. We move ahead on the highway and find the hotel. We get down and enquire about rooms and get them.

Luggage is shifted and we relax - have tea/coffee. R, L & J were looking at having non-veg but the options look bleak. No one has the energy to go to the city for diner. We eat whatever we are served. The food is simple and non-spicy. We see lots of bikes parked in the parking. It seems that lots of bikers travel on this route.

We sleep early with the thought that we will get up and leave at 6:30 - 7 am max for leh.

I get up at 5 am and watch the sun color the snow orange. By 5:30 i am ready and out taking photographs. We get parathas packed for breakfast and decide to leave as early as possible. But eventually we have breakfast and leave by 9 am - too late i think - we will reach leh late in night.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Leh Road Trip SAGA - The journey begins

We all packed our bags with loads of stuff for the 10 day long trip. On 19, i called up the driver again and got the response that he has well rested and would be able to make the journey to leh today eve.

At 4 in the evening, i called the driver again and he told me that he is at nehru place and would be here in 15-20 minutes. Finally he arrived here at 5 pm. We all packed our bags inside the innova and noted the readings and began the journey after picking up our wives. We got stuck in
6'0 clock office traffic and it took us an hour to leave delhi. On the way we stopped at haveli to have our diner and then proceeded to manali.

The car's audio system was awkward (probably loose fittings) and it took us some time to figure out how to play audio properly. The road was smooth and we reached manali without any issues. None of us got any sleep - we were too excited to sleep.

J : Yaar, pls play some good song.
Guddu : Sir, here is the USB wire, and here is the aux wire. Do you have nokia music phone.
L : Lets try. Pass the usb drive
R : here is the usb drive
Guddu : Sir, kitne GB ki hai?
R : 8 GB
L : Gudduji, how does this fit ?
Guddu : Attach the USB adapter to this wire and attache the USB drive here.
L : yaar yeah to ajeeb si aavaje kar raha hai
B : music mein special effects aa rahe hai. Har bump ke sath naya sound add ho jata hai.
R : yaar USB chod, yeah ipod le - aur aux se isko connect kar.
L : (after connecting aux to ipod and the deck). Scene to same hai.
J : Love, pakad kar baithe reh.
L : Ruko mai intejam karta hu.
L figures out the angle and the pull required to keep the write tense so that it does not move with each bump.
L : cellotape hai kya?
J : yaar pakad le na
Guddu : Sir AC mein atka do
L : yeah sahi baat kari yaar.
L sticks the wire in the AC vent.

Finally we have good music. At sonipath L's parents come and give us parathas and gulab jamuns to eat along with a heavy blanket for the cold. So nice of them.

We reached manali at around 6 am - totally exhausted and sleepy. All of us wanted to just jump in the bed and go to sleep. The weather was good at manali - cool and cloudy.

B : Gudduji, please stop at a good hotel.
J : No one should sleep. Just freshenup and get ready for the next stop. We will sleep early in the evening.
Guddu : Here sir, check out this hotel.
L & R go and check the hotel
R : full hai.
J : lets go ahead
After a short distance
R : yaha dekhte hai.
J & R check another hotel.
J : Room to theek hai. But bathroom pathetic
R (To the owner) : What are the charges?
Hotel manager : Sir 1200 per night for double room.
J : This is too costly for such shabby place. Lets move ahead.
After walking some distance
J : Yeah hotel sahi dikh raha hai. Lets check this out.
R : ok
After talking with the hotel manager - J & R check out the room.
J : Better than the previous one.
R (to hotel manager) : What are the charges ?
hotel manager : 1500/- per room.
R : We need it for only 4-5 hours. And we need 2 rooms. We need to move ahead to leh.
hotel manager : i can give you 2 rooms for 2000/- But you have to leave before 12 pm.
J : Yes ofcourse - we will leave - we have to go ahead. But 2000/- is too steep for 4 hours.
hotel manager : Take it or leave it.
J (to R) : Kya bolta hai? Le le ?
R : Ha le lo - we dont want to waste time searching for rooms in which we dont intend to stay.
J : Ok, you get the car here, while i complete the formalities.

We get the room and move the girls to one room and the boys to another room. We freshen up one by one.

L - drops on the bed and sleeps
J - takes a bath and then watches television while others get ready.

At 11 am we leave the hotel and proceed to Rohtang pass. We stop in the middle for a quick breakfast.

J (to L): Lets go near the river and touch the water.
J & L go near the river and do some photo shoots and touch the water - while others have breakfast.

After breakfast we move ahead. After around half an hour, we find that the road is all jammed with tourists who are going and coming back. The road is bumpy and full of pot holes. There are tons of tankers on the way. We spend 2 hours in the traffic jam. And in the meanwhile watch people doing parasailing. The JAM got worse because most of the tourists were from delhi and delhi people are famous for their impatience and for blocking oncoming traffic by creating double lines on single lanes.

Eventually the air got cooler and we were able to spot our first snow - just lying on the road like that and melting. We reach rohtang pass around 2 pm - tired from sitting in the innova.

Rohtang pass looks like a flat pleatu of ice at 13051 feet. It is totally commercialized with lots of vendors offering highly priced stuff - mostly maggi, corn and tea/coffee. A mini-cup of tea (around 30 ml) costed us 10 rs. The snow is dirty due to the pollution by cars and due to lots of people. You can also get your photo clicked with an Yak for 10 rs.

We relaxed for an hour and then moved ahead leaving the croud of tourists behind. There was not a single vehicle moving ahead from there.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Leh Road Trip SAGA - Prologue & Preparation


I have been itching to go to Leh on my bike since i bought my bullet around 4 years ago. The problem was that it was difficult to find anyone to accompany me - out of my friend list ofcourse. Around 3-4 months ago - a friend of mine suggested a bike trip that he was trying to materialize. But after trying for a month or so, he finally gave up. But this news had upped my spirits and hopes and i had again started planning for the trip. When he gave up, i had two of my friends who were ready to go - but not on bike - by hired cab. I was like - what the hell - lets make it atleast. Maybe i would join the royal enfield himalayan odyssey next year to satisfy my biking desires. After lots of ifs and buts finally the trip was finalized and the members finalized. We booked a hotel in Leh - fearing that due to peak season, we might have difficulty in getting one. Rest - we left to fate. The characters in this tale are ->

1. J : me, the enthusiast who wants to do the trip at any cost. Who wants to cover everything leaving nothing.
2. N : jayant's wife - who will be accompanying him - a member of the trip.
3. R : A friend who is also willing to cover everything on this trip. He is even enthusiastic to take his bike.
4. B : Rajneesh's wife
5. L : He is the lonely batchelor who has been dying to make this trip.
6. Guddu Khan : The driver and the angrej - not english but angrej.

Disclaimer : The dialogues and characters may be mismatched. Any irregularities are pure co-incidential. There might be some dialogues and scenes to make the tale more spicy.


At first we were trying to get a Scorpio for our trip - cause we had heard that the road was very bumpy and we needed something with really good ground clearance and lots of space. But the driver we had booked for scorpio backed away the day before we were to leave - leaving us in the
middle of nowhere.

L : yaar, this guy is backing off. If we press the cab owner, he might force the driver to go. But do you want a arrogant and complaining driver.
R : No yaar, we wont enjoy the trip if we get such a driver.
J : Lets ditch the girls and hit the road with out bikes.
L : I cant go on bike man. Firstly i dont have a bike and secondly it would be very tiring - believe me.
J : Ya, i believe you - it could be very tiring. But it would be enjoyable as well.
R : Lets look for other cab drivers.
J : Ya, lets ask around. We would prefer someone who has already been there before. Lets meet back in some time and discuss the situation.

After 2-3 hours

R : I talked to a cab owner, the one we hired for going to railway station (refering to J). He has 4 innovas, but all the drivers are not willi
ng to go. They say that the road is closed due to heavy snow fall.
J : Bull****, I talked to a cab owner who had taken Deepak and all to Chakrata. His feedback is good. He says that he has been to leh before. They are 2 brothers but both of them are out of town now. One is in manali and another is in Agra. The manali brother says that he would be here by evening and would pick us up tomorrow for the trip. But i am not sure whether he would be able to go on without rest on such short notice.
L : Should i ask the scorpio owner again.
J : No man lets wait and watch. I will call this man tomorrow morning and see his status.
R : Lets get lots of food and water for the way. I have read that there are not enough shops on the way.
J : And i would take printouts of all travel guides from www.bcmtouring.com. As well as a printout of a map.
R : Please pack your bags and bring it to office. We would leave from here only. It will save time.

Now, lets wait for the next day and see what happens.

The initial plan was:

19th : Delhi to manali -> 500 kms - [10 hours]
20th : Manali hotel -> stay and freshen up - [4-5 hours]
20th : Manali to Sarchu -> 250 kms - [7 hours]
21th : Sarchu to Leh -> 250 kms - [7 hours]
22nd : leh to pangong lake and back -> 340 kms to and fro - [8 hours]
23rd : Leh to nubra valley via khardungla -> 130 kms - [4 hours]
23rd : stay in nubra valley/desert safari
24th : nubra valley to leh -> 130 kms [4 hours]
24th : leh local sight seeing - magnetic hill, shey palace, patthar sahab
25th : Leh to kargil -> 225 kms [6 hours]
25th : stay overnight in kargil
26th : kargil to srinagar -> 220 kms [6 hours]
26th : stay in house boat in srinagar
27th : srinagar to chandigarh -> 800 kms [14 hours]
27th : stay overnight at R's place
28th : chandigarh to delhi -> 250 kms [5 hours]
29th : join office [:(]