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Old 1st October 2011, 07:33   #241
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Originally Posted by hvkumar
What amused me the most was that I got my driving license 29 years ago - maybe my DL is older than our lady Captain!
Pray what good is a long drive without memorable incidents like these?! :P

On a more serious note, if I think of the situation from her PoV -

1. Too many people are just plain idiotic or plain unlucky on treacherous mountain roads. Imagine your 2009 experience delayed by 20 secs (slowed down by 1 or 2 photos from a moving car would be enough!). I guess the army gets the stick whenever incidents happen, so maybe they were being extra-cautious.

2. Lady Captain, newly posted perhaps, and also perhaps trying hard to win the respect of her male colleagues by projecting a tough image. Who knows?

3. Something else...

She definitely over-cooked it, though, whatever the reason. And not paying heed to the fact that there are old people, calling you potential terrorists etc. is absolutely uncalled for!

Anyway, as I said, now this is a memorable incident that is LOL material when you all recollect the trip in later years. That's worth its weight in gold (or time lost).

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Old 1st October 2011, 08:07   #242
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Well here is the rest of the story.

Background: We were the last in the convoy (Sweeper), so we were also the first whom the Captain asked "Any problems?", and I replied "No, No problems, we are just discussing options". She drove on just to fall in love with HVK and ending up in taking the entire convoy outside her army station.
While all these discussions were going on between some members of the team and Captain Gowri. I decided to look into why we stopped there.
My father is in Air Force, my brother a Lt. Col in Army and I know quite some senior people in Army. (I thought my connections could help). And when I heard from Captain Gowri " I do not trust you all, you could be terrorists". I stepped in saying "My brother is a Lt Col, do you want to talk to him to believe us" and even before I could tell who else I could let her talk to (just for her to trust that we were not terrorists) she said "I do NOT trust you, you understand". I knew there was no point in talking to her any further, it also hurt my ego a bit.

I was trying to call some senior guys in Min of Defense and my brother, however due to republic day celebrations and partly due to poor network coverage I could not get the message across to any of them.

The Innova returned from Kaza, and I was still not able to digest that a group of 20 people were harassed like this by an Army Captain for no reason in a non sensitive zone. Finally rang up a few contacts and met some very senior Army guys at AHQ. After hearing what happened, the senior army guys were surprised and decided to call the CO. (I had noted down the unit name when we were there). Captain Gowri was not available for immediate comment as she was somewhere in the workshop.

We came to know from the CO that the unit is of Workshop guys, who are responsible for repair of vehicles being used in the area. Personnel in that unit are not responsible for security of the area. Secondly if there is any issue regarding bad roads etc, then the local police and IB officials are asked to block the roads not the Army. In August there was however no order to block the roads. I don't want to go into details here. He did remember Captain Gowri asking permission of a room being given to some tourist group.

Eventually the CO did ask Captain Gowri about her actions and she said, she acted in "Good Faith", to help lost tourists.

Good faith by telling us that she didn't trust us and by calling us potential terrorists. God bless her !

Last edited by akaush : 1st October 2011 at 08:15.
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Old 1st October 2011, 08:35   #243
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

On the Capt Gowri episode:

- This was NH22, under the control of the police, and not any random army unit, although some parts of it are maintained by the BRO

- The Captain's unit had nothing to do with either the control or maintenance of the highway

- Army does not stop motorists at random, look at their "darling" faces and decide whether they should go on the road or not. I have been to insurgency-affected areas in Manipur where people are slaughtered in cold blood and yet the Army never stopped me from going through such roads.

- If there was indeed a problem with the road, there would have been a proper check post

- The HP Police were manning the only checkpost between Powari & Pooh (for checking permits) and even the next and only CP at Sumdo is manned by HP Police, and the Army is nowhere in the picture.

- All other vehicles were plying on this road and it was absolutely illogocal to stop only us.

- We did not look like "lost" tourists

- No one has any business calling us "terrorists", "darling" or mock our credentials or knowledge of the circuit. Especially an Army Captain who is confused about a non-existent hotel 2 kms down the road form her camp!

- An army person (not in her uniform) has no business bossing around and giving directives on an issue she is not authorised to do. If her unit is responsible for repairing army vehilcles, she should stick to checking cam shafts, air filters and punctured tyres.

- None of us were drunk, driving rashly, parked wrongly on the road, "confused" or looking like "terrorists". Even had we appeared thus at first glance, it would have become apparent within 5 minutes of conversation that a terrorist team would not have people ranging in age from 23 upwards, the eldest being 81 followed by 3 64-year olds!

- And we did not even argue with her, she can't blame us for hurting her ego!

Overall, I can only say that the quality of those going into the Indian Army today has probably plumbed the depths (and this was not the only unpleasant experience with Indian Army during this trip), such people need some serious psycological counselling. It turned out later that her family has an Army background - this we got to know when her "Brigadier" uncle called up and tried to prevail on akaush to withdraw his complaint in Army HQ since it would affect her career progression.

Thank you, akaush, for playing activist and disciplining at least one offocial in uniform, it is not meant to wantonly abuse their position but to defend the country's borders - the enemy is outside, not within!

Having said all this, let me reiterate my utmost respect for the Indian Army for the untiring and valiant efforts to defend our borders with their jawans perched upon the most inhospitable of mountain, desert and jungle terrain, and we salute not only their courage, determination and resilience but also their friendliness and helpfulness with civilians.
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Old 1st October 2011, 09:50   #244
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

Here is the HVK Scorpio's Log Book for Aug 15, 2011: Chitkul-Pooh:
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HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-log-book-d4.jpg  

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Old 1st October 2011, 10:48   #245
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

Man what experiences you lot have had, darlings!

Keep going: this is riveting stuff. I "did Ladakh" by flying into Leh via Delhi, which my more adventurous friends termed rather unkindly the "Gujju businessman route" (no offence to anyone), so this is all jaw-dropping stuff for me!
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Old 1st October 2011, 11:20   #246
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
...she should stick to checking cam shafts, air filters and punctured tyres.
You just didn't ask her to do a mechanical inspection of your Scorpio, despite her enticing you with her *darling* and harbouring thoughts of the possibility that you might want to share her quarters! Things would have turned out quite different if you allowed her to carry out an undercarriage check!
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Old 1st October 2011, 11:25   #247
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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
You just didn't ask her to do a mechanical inspection of your Scorpio, despite her enticing you with her *darling* and harbouring thoughts of the possibility that you might want to share her quarters! Things would have turned out quite different if you allowed her to carry out an undercarriage check!
It was so wierd that she brought up the issue of our "sharing" her quarters! She said something about her being a woman and how it will be difficult for her to let anyone stay with her - as though we asked

The whole episode was a hilarious comedy although we were also fuming within about our upset schedules and her irrational behaviour.
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Old 1st October 2011, 11:57   #248
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

Fabulous adventure, I can't even imagine how you all drive such long hours. My max has been eight hours at a go, that also with all the caffeine in a half a liter of Cola.

HVk sir, remember the US Army poster,"Uncle Sam wants you!" Looks like the Captain wants you heh...heh...heh...you charmer you .

Sorry but I guess this will be a bur in our collective memory forever.

Warm Regards,

Chaunfa.
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Old 1st October 2011, 11:59   #249
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

What a small world it is. Here is the picture of Cap Gouri with her friend at Chango monestry enjoying some tea and snacks. Coincidently we met her too and she took a ride with us to the monastry as she was on a holiday on the 20th of August.
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Last edited by Coooolcat21 : 1st October 2011 at 12:01.
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Old 1st October 2011, 12:06   #250
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Originally Posted by Coooolcat21 View Post
What a small world it is. Here is the picture of Cap Gouri with her friend at Chango monestry enjoying some tea and snacks. Coincidently we met her too and she took a ride with us to the monastry as she was on a holiday on the 20th of August.
Regards
Attachment 819142
WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? This is too much
Aug 20 - that was the day we left Kaza (our encounter happened on Aug 15).
Is it the same lady - looks like her, but can't be sure, we saw her in the dark?
Does she serve at Pooh?

Last edited by hvkumar : 1st October 2011 at 12:09.
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Old 1st October 2011, 14:10   #251
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
You just didn't ask her to do a mechanical inspection of your Scorpio, despite her enticing you with her *darling* and harbouring thoughts of the possibility that you might want to share her quarters! Things would have turned out quite different if you allowed her to carry out an undercarriage check!
OK i admit i fell down from my chair after this. This perhaps might be the most hilarious episode of HVK's travelling escapades.

I think the captain just could not "control" herself. Perhaps she was imagining a bollywood style number with him....

"Daaarling...aankhon se aankhein chaar karle tu....."
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Old 1st October 2011, 16:33   #252
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coooolcat21 View Post
What a small world it is. Here is the picture of Cap Gouri with her friend at Chango monestry enjoying some tea and snacks. Coincidently we met her too and she took a ride with us to the monastry as she was on a holiday on the 20th of August.
Regards
Attachment 819142
Man! I cant believe this! I really cant believe my eyes!! This is too much of a coincidence!! You met Captain Gouri??

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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? This is too much
Aug 20 - that was the day we left Kaza (our encounter happened on Aug 15).
Is it the same lady - looks like her, but can't be sure, we saw her in the dark?
Does she serve at Pooh?

HVK, Its her. How can I forget lady Captain.. you know Captains cant forget other Captains!


And you know I was lucky ( or unlucky) to met her again on my way back to Reckong Peo. ( on my South India/Kerala Expedition within our Himalayan Expedition).
I mean I saw her on the route between Pooh and Nako driving her Gypsy with her subordinates. And I remember when we met her on Aug 15th, she was saying she is taking few days off soon and will be going to Kaza.So its confirmed. Take my word.
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Old 1st October 2011, 18:15   #253
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Well she is Cap Gouri who is stationed at Pooh.
She asked us for a ride to the monastry. Once in the car she told us about herself and all the places to be seen around. We did not have an opportunity to say or ask anything.
Once at the monastry we asked her why was she walking such a long distance and thats when she told us that she had toppled her gypsy on a curve and hence she had left the vehicle and decided to walk the rest of the distance.
Finally when we left her near her vehicle she certified us for having good driving skills for managing the narrow road in a big vehicle. Also some added points for having driven all the way from Bangalore.
Regards

Last edited by Coooolcat21 : 1st October 2011 at 18:16.
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Old 1st October 2011, 18:28   #254
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
What amused me the most was that I got my driving license 29 years ago - maybe my DL is older than our lady Captain!! (whose "Darling" I became!!
@ HVK, Seeing the photograph I will have to agree with your above statement!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepCaptain View Post

HVK, Its her. How can I forget lady Captain.. you know Captains cant forget other Captains!
@ JeepCaptain, good one!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coooolcat21 View Post
Well she is Cap Gouri who is stationed at Pooh.
She asked us for a ride to the monastry. Once in the car she told us about herself and all the places to be seen around. We did not have an opportunity to say or ask anything.
Once at the monastry we asked her why was she walking such a long distance and thats when she told us that she had toppled her gypsy on a curve and hence she had left the vehicle and decided to walk the rest of the distance.
Finally when we left her near her vehicle she certified us for having good driving skills for managing the narrow road in a big vehicle. Also some added points for having driven all the way from Bangalore.
Regards
Now we know, why she called HVK Darling! She wanted him, to teach her how to drive in the mountains! Calling the others, terrorists and security risk, was probably her way getting HVK alone for herself!
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Old 1st October 2011, 22:01   #255
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May be she toppled her gypsy on purpose and was waiting for HVK to rescue her.

I am sure lots of people must be asking her around Pooh " Do you know how to drive?" and may be that's why she keeps asking this to everyone who looks new in that area. May be her own experiences have made her try to convince us to stop our travel at night in Pooh.
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