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Old 27th August 2008, 16:35   #16
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Amazingggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg

khush kar ditta saab. Wonderful storytelling.
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Old 28th August 2008, 11:12   #17
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The path proved no more than a goat trek and then came the ignominy of getting lost. There was a sudden rock slide beneath their feets and as they scampered to find solid ground they realised that in their hurry they seemed to have lost the trail. With nothing to guide them they wandered around that hill slope and keeping the road on the other side of the mountain face as the pointer. This was dangerous as it was an unstable rock face and they didnot know where they were headed. Providence smiled and they finally came down on the road about 500 mtrs from where they were supposed to initially come down.
The driver heaved a sigh of relief as he was now growing apprehensive since they had missed the original RV. As the two vehicles moved in different directions to converge again the Son sat thinking if it was worth the gamble. What is more valuable than life itself? What makes a man risk everything? A smile appeared on the corners of his mouth as he realised the answer.. Hope of fulfilling ones dreams.
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Old 28th August 2008, 15:11   #18
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It took nearly 45 minutes for the Son to reach SansarMod ont he old highway. The entire road now no longer used was in a slight state of neglect. It had large stones litterred in places and the mountain seemed to be inching its way across the road at a steady pace. The first sign of things to come was an omnious gap in the middle of the road about a km before the supposed obstruction. The Scorpio was parked and a long trudge beagn to the end of the roadblock. Nothing could ever prepare a Man for the shock and disbelief as the sight which lay before them.
There was no road not even a faint resemblance of there having being one ever. The awning gap of the malling nulaah with its famous slides stretched all the way into the Spiti river. Nothing could pass or cross over. To add misery there were no means of communication and the other vehicle could not be seen at the other point across the chasm. Not in a day could this be crossed by the ladies accompanying them without adding a delicate 2.5 year old angel. If only mortal angels had wings..ahh.
The son faced a difficult decision. He couldnot contact his family and he didnot know where they were on the other side. His mind said to go along with the driver to Kaza and then tarvel all the way around Manali to reach home..but what about the family? Wont they be expecting him on the other side? What if he didnot reach, they would ahve no means of knowing where he was? Finally the love for ones own won over and the Son decieded to make his way across no matter what. The driver from Kaza was thanked and told to carryon. He hesitated, he was a local and he knew what the son was getting into. But he knew there was no other solution and with best wishes he said he would pray for the son, he drove off.
The first part was to negotiate the steep slope which stretched for about 800 meters down into the spiti river.The entire slope was stone and loose gravel and even the slightest flurry of feet would send a rock slide chugging down the slope the speed of an express train. The son was hungry and thirsty. With a word of prayer on his lips he started his descent. Gingerly he worked his way around the huge boulders and as he trudged along a scary thought sent shivers down his spine.. the slope on his way up on the other side looked even worse.
It took him around 45 minutes to crawl, slide, skimper his way onto the banks of the Spiti. The crossing across the malling nullah proved easier than he had anticipated but the waters were so muddy that he could not even wet his throat whcih was already parched and begining to choke. The sun was merciless and shone with all his strength. The skin was begining to get burned and the loose sand was clogging all his skin pores. There was no tell tale sign of a path and he had two options before him.
either he walked along the river bank till the next habitation of Leo, which he knew to be on the banks of the river itself, but it was a good 4 kms away or he could just make and try those formidable slopes in a straight line towards the malling village where he knew the vehicle would be.
He choose the latter. A straight steep sloped ridge went all the way tothe spur high above beyond which lay his destination. He scampered hsi way up and soon realised the folly of his decision. The going was tough and there was no room for error. There were hardly any footholds and even the fingers grasping at the stones for support often ended up having holding the stone within themselves. Soon he ahd set off numerous rock slides and it seemed just a matter of time before he would become a part of one, hurtling downwards at a terrifying speed. There would be no rescue as they didnot know where he was and in those large barren landscapes a human among large boulders didnot make for an easy sighting.
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Old 28th August 2008, 20:59   #19
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Amazing as this is, I'm also curious about how you are soooo familiar with this area!
Childhood memories? Boy, you must really have moved around!
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Old 28th August 2008, 21:51   #20
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Amazing and nicely written travelogue. Waiting for pics if any.
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Old 28th August 2008, 22:05   #21
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Default Fantastic narration - 5 stars

Normally I do trash travelogues without pictures, but once in a while there comes an exception. - You have us riveted for updates.

Still, any pictures?
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Old 29th August 2008, 01:39   #22
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I will complete the narration and then post pictures as part of a photo trip log. Lots of pictures and Ill let the pictures tell you the story all over again. No words just something for you to see and experience.
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Old 29th August 2008, 12:01   #23
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Morbid thoughts kept coming as he sat on that loose gravel that constituted his environs. The sun was opressive and as the few drops of overnight moisture dried up it made the soil more loose. The wind blowing through the valley scooped up the now dry loose soil in small dust devils and blew it across the river. As the binding medium of soil blew off, the rocks became more loose and just held onto support from the neighbouring rock,
Even the slightest change in this delicate game of ballance upsetted the fragile equlibrium and sent rocks crashing downwards in massive piles.
It was enough to turn anyone into a believer. The son hoped to reach shade soon as the skin had began to crack up, the sweat now left a stinging sensation. He could not swallow and there was dust all over and inside him.
He made slow but steady progress and many a times was left hanging by the tip of his fingers as his feet struggled to find a foothold. After about an hour of climbing he finally came to the crest of the cliff he had identified as the one leading to the buff on which the village of Maling stood desolete. His elation soon turned into a despair as the bluff created an overhang over the ridge. There was no way he was going to climb that overhang with the stones and rocks held together so loosely. A fall here meant sure death as the ridge was steep and extended about 500 meters straight down, one side strewn with boulders sprayed from previous rockslides and the other side just a deep slide of loose soil into the Malling Nullah.
He dreaded going back down all over again. His strength was drained and he was sure he would not be able to climb all the way back up all over again. He started to drift sideways hoping for some passageway to lead him around the overhang. There was none and the ground extremely unstable.As he continued to slide a few meters with every side step that he took he soon found himself on the edge of a ravine. He had in his effort to go side ways still slipped about 30 meters downwards and had gained only 10 meters in lateral distance.
He sat down once again to explore the mountain around him. There was a small patch of green on an adjacent slope which looked like an apple orchard. If there was one there would be a way to and from it too. This raised his spirits as he would atleast find some water to moisten his throat which had beagn to choke and hurt with every breath he took. But there was this wide ravine between him and the Oasis.
He decieded to try to climb up and cross the ravine at its narrowest point which ahd to be its top. He had to crawl around 20 meters on his belly as there was now ay that he could walk upright without dislodging the rocks he had come to fear by now. The going was slow and scary. Finally as he mounted the crest he could see that if he slithered really slow and carefully he could manage to cross over to the other side if only he could avoid being part of the rockslide which was happenning right before his eyes at that very moment.
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Old 29th August 2008, 12:19   #24
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THis is truly amazing.....you have brilliant narration skills.

EDIT: Just voted for a 5 star rating for this thread

Last edited by himanshugoswami : 29th August 2008 at 12:33.
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Old 29th August 2008, 12:49   #25
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It took all his confidence to to put his bottom on that ravine slope. He had contemplated trying to wade across on his belly but the fear of loosing what is so precious to a MAN in such a painfull manner finally prompted him to face his fears and turn his back towards the mountain. Now he had no firm grip on the rockface and as he faced out towards the chasm the sheer depth of the fall made him realise the blunder he had just committed. As he set foot on a rock it gave way and he started to slide downwards. Arms flailing, legs thrashing he deperately tried to hang on. He continued to bumb and slide down but he realised that his franatic efforts were also carrying him sideways and before he knew he had gripped the rocks jutting out on the other side. He had made it. After working his way through another small tricky incline he was safely on the other side and the prospects of reaching the green patch were now brighter than ever.
Then he could make out another human form sitting on a rock near to the orchard. He hailed but the wind was blowing upstream and the person couldnot hear his croaked voice. The figure seemd to be intent on searching something down into the river valley and was not looking up the slope. As he started to make his way through towards the distant figure, the Man looked up and saw Him. He stood up and shouted across. The son could not makeout his words from far but he was gald that now atleast somebody knew where he was and all was not lost. With a silent prayer he thanked the one high above for keeping an eye out on him. The man also got up and started to come towards him. As the distance lessened he recognised that he was no one else but their own driver who had been sent to stand marker on that desolete hillside.
He continued to show the son the way across as the path initially chosen had another impassable ravine crossing. It took another 20 minutes to finally converge at the same spot. Though the driver was not carrying water but he was carrying the next best thing 2 succulent apples. The son sat under the shade of a small wall and bit into the apple. The small trickle of juice rivived the throat muscles enough to let him swallow for the first time since the last 1.5 hours. The driver told them how they have been caught at another roadblock due to landslides further 3 kms from their present position. As they ahd stood there a couple of Police guys had come who had been planning to cross over to the other side but couldnot as they conveyed that the entire hillside has sort of caved in. When they were asked that they could cross over from this lower stretched they rolled their eyes in amazement and said that the lower crossing path is no longer there and there was no way of crossing from this point.
This came as a shock to everyone and then they told them that their son was out there trying to work his way across. This got them concerned and they said that though there are no apparant pathways and the rock face is highly unstable but if he was careful he could just make his way across. But did he know where to cross and climb? The mother started to cry and now suddenly everyone was in turmoil. The father called up local administration and was told that soon help would be there. Meanwhile, he asked his driver to go as far as the path allowed him and to stand there and see if he could locate his son. He did exactly that with the help of a village woman who showe dhim a vantage point from where he could keep an eye ont he river bank down below, but never in his wildest dreams had he imagined that he would locate the son so far up the slope which didnot seem climbale at all. Both of them then started to climb towards a modest home which had been identified as a marker for leading to the road. It took them another 15 minutes to reach there. The village lady was amazed and didnot believe that someone could climb on that slope and make it there in one piece. She provided them with water and tea.
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Old 29th August 2008, 13:45   #26
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Hey, Wanderernomad, what do you do for a living?
I know you are not a writer, but still, what do you do?
There seems to be a lot of unutilized potential sitting there!
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Old 29th August 2008, 23:21   #27
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@Anup, Thanks mate. I am not a writer. Thanks for your kind words.
@Himanshu, thanks for the cheer up.

Never did a glass of water held so much for anyone. After carefully rinsing his mouth and taking only a few drops into his throat, He drank glass after glass till he was fully quenched. Saying proper goodbyes and thankyous both of them started their way back towards the point where there was a crisis in the making.
Noone is sure as to who saw them first but there was a collective sigh of relief as both of them turned the corner and became visible to a growing group of guys around his parents. His mother broke out in tears while the wife held hers back. The little angel deanced with joy and conveyed her assurance that she never even doubted for an instant that her "bada Lion" will not be back.
The locals wanted to know the path he had taken and when showed just looked at each other and smiled back. As he looked back at the slopes he had just managed to cross the enormity of the task dawned on him. What if he had lost faith midway? What if he had a mishap? What if...
Such questions kept flooding his mind as he closed his eyes and sat back to rest his tired muscles. Why did he do it?
Simply because when you chase your dreams you overlook all obstacles. When you ahve faith in yourself you can move the mightiest of mountains. When you ahve love of your loved ones showing you the way, no road is desolate or long enough to keep you away. All that you got to do is to keep your resolve. And thats what he did and lived to tell the tale.
Its amazing how much can a human body endure, take stress and still come out a winner. As they say the secret lies somewhere up between these two ears of ours and when we think that we can, WE CAN.
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Old 30th August 2008, 00:12   #28
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Here are the pictures for you to experience the Land Of Gods yourself. The mesmerizing Himachal.
1.& 2. Hills near Murthal, about 20 kms from Narkanda.
3. Near Jhakri.
4. Red warning balls fixed to wries crossing the Satluj Valley to warn Choppers. Near Taranda Maa temple.
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Old 30th August 2008, 00:17   #29
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This set shows you the hills around Shongtong, the bridge over the river Satluj and the Guesthouse. Shongtong is in a small bowl and gets sunlight for around 1 hour in summers and even less during winters as it is surrounded by high mountains on all sides.
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Old 30th August 2008, 00:24   #30
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This set shows you the road.
1. The Important markers at Powari at the last petrol Pump till Kaza.
2. After the Maa Dhang Temple
3. Road at Dabling.
4. Apple Orchard at Dabling.
5. Dabling Bridge.
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