Monday, July 21, 2008

This Day That Year - 21st July 2007

Day 7

Leh Morning 3: Today we're headed to Pangong Lake - the lake that is in both India & China. It's an early morning again because the distance to be covered is long. One hour into the drive, we're stopped at the police checkpost. No permissions again. Tempers are now running high. Everyone is frantically trying their Army connections. Finally Mufti & Sid's call to the SP works & we have a green signal. We cross Chandla Baba Mandir on the way. Army hospitality once more. Tea & biscuits. Kavitta had spoken of breakfast but apparently it was supposed to be tea! But we're used to missing meals by now. I sleep some of the way. Divya tells us what she feels about each of us. She finds D self-obsessed, Sid a sweetheart, Parul intelligent yet temperamental, Runmee extremely sweet, Nidhi sweet & bubbly & me a genuine person who cares for her friends! I would agree about myself I think :) She tells us more personal stories. I'm intrigued! Then I sleep for a while, catching glimpses of the mountains in between. Finally open my eyes near Pangong. It's breathtakingly beautiful & blue. I am awed by the beauty. I can't stop staring. Rohit instructs Pathakji to take the car as close to the water as possible - a mistake because the cars get stuck in sand once more! But for the time being, we're running to the water like little, excited children. The water is brrrrr cold. We all dance for the handycam. Pictures are taken. Then we're rescuing the cars. Picking up stones, fitting them around the sand-stuck tyres, lifting & pushing the cars. Some people have joined us to help. Cars are out and we're in! Back on the road. We're hungry. Stop & buy imitations of Kurkure, Lays, nutcrackers & Marie biscuits. Slice tastes heavenly right now. Then we're rushing off again. Loo break at Chandla Baba. Soon we're back at Mansarovar. It's our last night here. Dinner is but of course at Monalisa. Dil & Vijay - who work at Monalisa are our friends by now. There's a bonfire at Monalisa. D & I disappear to collect our t-shirts. He ordered one for Joshu and I ordered two - for Abir & Arshita. Their t-shirts say: "My maasi (in Joshu's case Mamu) was in Ladakh & all I got was this bloody t-shirt" and the backs have their names. Despite telling them not to write "bloody" the word appears on Joshu's & Arshita's t-shirts. Singing happens around the bonfire. Parul is having asthma & is quiet. Dinner, the walk back & the prayer wheel ritual. Then sleep.

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