This was a happy day for Ram as he was to get his HP bike back! So, no more Gypsy travel for him. Pooja and I were happier as any one of us sitting in the back seat could now sit like a boss! After a good breakfast of Bread-Omelette and Kadak Chai, we were on the road once again.
We stopped at a Dhaba in New Bharatpur for a quick Tea break. It was still windy and the weather chilly!
“A cup of Tea is all you need at times… In my opinion, it helps restore normality…at such remote places with the harsh weather, somebody saying, “take some more Tea”, is music to ears! Ram was way ahead of us…he will have to wait for us at one of the blind turns while we sip Tea here… I am reminded of these lines from City of Bones –
“I don’t want tea. I want to find my mother. And then I want to find out who took her in the first place, and I want to kill them”, said Clary.
“Unfortunately,” said Hodge, “we’re all out of bitter revenge at the moment, so it’s either tea or nothing.”
It had started pouring again! We had a long, chilly ride ahead of us. The landscape had started to change. From a majestic yet non-friendly, harsh-looking one, we were now stepping into a greener looking and welcoming landscape. We crossed Suraj Tal, ZingZing Bar, Patsio, Jispa, Stingri and reached Keylong a lil after noon. We stopped here for lunch. After an appetizing round of Mutton Momos, Chowmein and Dal-Rice, we started driving towards our destination, Manali. The entire Rohtang Pass stretch was a nightmare! Bumpy roads…and the continuous rain and zero visibility didn’t help at all! It was getting worse by the minute…we stopped at Marhi… Ram had to leave his Bike here as it wasn’t safe to ride ahead…on our way, we saw fresh landslides and secretly thanked the gods for ensuring we reach safe and alive…
“The river is back…giving us company…the rain pouring down, making sweet, passionate love with the valley. The smell of wet soil brings back bitter-sweet memories of the past… Petrichor – that’s what they call the smell of earth after rain. Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby…”
We reached Manali at around 9pm. We were staying at Hotel Kanchanikot and the overall aura of the place was happy, cozy and calm! The rooms were spacious, the beds comfortable and a superb view from the balcony! The kitchen was closed but the staff was sweet enough to take our order and serve us fresh garma-garam dinner! Good food…few rounds of card games…Smirnoff as a good old companion, we called it a night. We departed to our rooms with a heavy heart… None of us were prepared to face the harsh reality that the next day was destined to bring…packing bags and leaving for the bus stop would be one hell of a task…
“I am reading and re-reading these lines from the book Himalayan Melodies by Stanzin Lhaskyabs… I bought this book from Thikse Monastery in Leh…
One wanders into the woods, full of deep purple plums and red apples. Following the narrow path to happiness with whispering birds, and unknown sounds. Could this be what they called, dancing in the rain? In the wet woods of highland Himalayas.
Smells of wet earth, burning woods, and the wild plant warm my heart and, unless the moon rises again, I let the fire lit on the hill. For it is the smoke of happiness that runs through my veins!”
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