Thursday, February 22, 2007

Day 3: Manali to Keylong (Tandi) - 120 KM

Monday morning we all woke up to a cloudy day. It was drizzling outside but due to sweet sound of river Beas passing near by our hotel, it sounded like raining. We’re told that one Lama is going to perform some prayers for well being of all the riders and our safe journey. Believe it or not, it helped us. Vineet was supposed to collect all the funds, which we’d like to donate for his monastery. No one saw him donating the money, but he was seen collecting the funds on several occasions. Once everybody was all set, we got together for the prayer. Some people wanted to smoke, others went on to click pictures and there was one crazy being, who’ll click photo in such a pose that you’d think he’s mentally challenged kid asking for something. He looked like a kid but he could finish ciggis faster than speed of thought. We had named him as Gollum (refer Lord of the Rings part II and part III for more info). Or you may try searching his pics on the net. Mr. Gollum aka Ritam had a fancy for our Lama, he clicked him from the top of his head, from down under etc etc. More than the prayer the group was laughin seeing Ritam take pics. I hope he knew his job well and the result of such a photo session would be bearable.
After the prayers, we all inspected our bikes and were set to move for Rohtang. The first stop was Marhi, it’s a nice place in the middle of way to Rohtang. No one fell on the way to Marhi, at least I am not aware of anyone I helped (so kind of me). There once again usual break, ciggis, tea, love chat, FOSLAs frustration etc. I forgot to mention that I had met bikers from Agra the previous day, The Taj Royals. At Marhi there was a person who was there to sell Kasturi and Shilajit. Taj Royals and myself were enjoying our tea when this person started his lecture on Kasturi. Tanveer was pretty angry with him as Kasturi is pretty important part of Deer’s body and he uses it to attract females (of his breed of course), for lunch, dinner and …. It had nice smell and if you have held it in your hand and then you just rub your hand with someone else, the other person will also get that. It was impressive but again no one wanted lady deer following him. Now Shilajit is something that helps you to maintain your stamina, vigor, youth etc etc. The person who was impressed most was Sunil. On Delhi FM, ‘Too Much Gold’ capsule refers to the same stuff so you can have idea of Shilajit now. It improves your abilities to a considerable extent. So at the end, it’s good to get Shilajit and Kasturi but if someone is getting both of them together, just imagine, female deer n dose of vigor. Damn that’s sick!! The next stop was going to be Rohtang, not because it was around 30 kms away or one logical destination, but there was a big traffic jam out there. Here Chandan tried to ride a Yak. Now I can’t say whether he had Kasturi to attract it or it was Shilajit working on him so quickly!! One more thing to be mentioned here, wherever I use the word Chandan, it automatically implies that some poor fellow is clicking his photo. There was lot of snow there so everyone tried to form snowballs to play but after around 45 mins, the traffic was smooth and we all hit the road once again. After Koksar, the road was difficult to find. It was just rocks and dirt track. I was scared of the track so didn’t click any picture over there. On crossing some of the villages, there were some green patches where most of the riders took a leak. We had to cross some bridges, which were only in patches. I’d be scared to cross them by foot but on bike you’ll pass them at faster pace and feel relaxed. But in the remaining journey, this was frequent ingredient of the road along with some water streams running through the road. Finally we all halted at Tandi. This was the last petrol pump before Leh so we all had to fuel up. Tandi is around 8 kms before Keylong and the bikers were going to be split in two. One group will be camping at Tupchilling and other at hotel in Keylong. I stayed at the hotel in Keylong. I was suffering from fever and cold. Took some medication and yes the brandy with warm water :D. I, Rishab and Chandan were in the same room, we had some big discussions on girls, girl friend, luv etc....some serious stuff.
And then came the moment of truth, all the sophisticated, clean, articulate, well-dressed, arrogant bikers came together and started sharing jokes. This revealed their, inner SICK, despo, frutooo, male character in the open. Tanveer wanted to record everyone’s introduction so each one of us said couple of lines for ourselves, which everyone else tried to relate to sex, lust, frustration and other sick stuff. The camp leader asked if Arjun is there. This dude was there on the list but missing from the camp. There were some rounds of attendance to make sure no one was Arjun but after two rounds, no one wanted to hear that name. Girish was clear winner in the non-veg joke marathon that followed. Patil didn’t participate because he still had to get his drinks so he promised he’d be back with a vengeance at dinner table. Doctor was also there to examine some of the patients. Vikram, Bhaskar, Anthony were the chosen ones. Everyone got their oxygen level checked, tried to pull each other’s leg for the reading. Some of us were feeling cold and trying to use shawl to get warm. Then came one of the statements, which was royal pain in the ass till we’re on the mountains. Abbas quoted ‘Why are you using those many clothes, NATURE WILL NEVER HARM YOU.’ I was shocked, pissed, baffled and of course nodded. I mean what the F$%&, why won’t nature harm me if I am standing naked at 12000 feet and temperature in single digit Celsius. No, I didn’t try that.
There two terms were coined, one was waving of hand in such a fashion that you’re trying to cook oil in a pan and other one was ‘In-charge’. Most of us know it’s meaning, others may ask via mail, I’ll answer. These terms were pretty handy when we’re referring to our in-charge or listening to the instructions every morning. Our correspondent had reported one incident that Balwant had head-on with one Qualis, even when there was enough space to more ahead. Some reliable sources had pointed at possible doping scandal but in the odyssey rules, it was not banned so Balwant was able to doze off the allegation and completed his ride successfully. At the camp, Abhijit and Mr Bose had some discussion over the automobile industry which myself and Vikram also listened to, without providing much inputs but citing some weird examples, which confused them a bit actually. As per my records, Jatinder fell on the way and Doctor rode his bike for quite some time. Now he was pretty friendly with most of us so now onwards, he’ll be referred as Saurabh. The dinner was really nice and well served. The truck was going to stay at our camp so all of us had to wake up early and put our bags in it so that hotel group can get it on time and put their stuff too. I don’t think anyone was moved by that announcement, so all of us rushed to our camps and had a peaceful sleep.