My heart leaps up when I see
A Tripster on the road:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
Yes you got it right. There’s enough written and told about how an ideal trip should be and when is the best time to have it. Excuse me bro, an ideal trip happens with a bunch of most wicked people together. And, coming to the later part of ‘When’ then let me tell you, it is whenever you can manage it and things fall in place for you.
The most challenging part of a buddy trip is, matching the schedule of each and everyone and considering the professional luxuries of one and all. The composition was impeccable and God of good things were all with us to make this happen once again.
So, 10PM was what the clock was ticking and Friday was what calendar indicated. The horrendous traffic on the exit roads of Delhi was saying that we are not alone a group of people who have recognised the long weekend. Mountains were calling, not only to us but, I guess it had sent a bulk message to masses instead.
Let me introduce you to the fabulous five who irrespective of their hectic schedule, made it to the most grossly wonderful journey. There was an intruder (tried to spoil the journey with his non-stop phone calls) who lost everything or say his identity a day back to a mugging, a creepy fellow who somehow managed to get the leaves sanctioned over some drinks, a bro who made the journey easy, a lady who believed on us, myself who was a patient to be handled for the rest of the days and last but not the least our dhanno who never irked on carrying us through.
Somehow crippling, we reached Murthal at around 1:30 AM and our rock solid ideas of driving all way long to Chitkul without any prolonged stay in the middle was jolted a bit. Let me just interrupt, Murthal is not only an important milestone between the route of Delhi to the various hill stations, but it’s an enroute destination in itself. All the travellers have to pay a stop there as the butter-drenched paranthas mesmerizes the passerby.
The gang was stuffed with dinner and we were high on tea (or rather call it a chochak-chai). At around 2AM we again started with the hazy eyes and crystal clear intentions of hitting the destination by same evening. As they say, ‘the journey is better than the destination’ they are right at every bit of it. And the crazy folks are an icing on the cake. We drove for around 3 and ½ hours to relent ourselves a bit in the McDonalds at Zirakhpur. By the time the sun started popping out of the darkness, we again were on wheels after 30 minutes of refreshment.
To some 600 kms long route the mountains started just after driving 250 kms from the source. The rest were the tortuous way we had to cover in a limited time, considering that one cannot fool sleep for long. Some constructions on the roads added to our miseries and some eyes started falling down.
Referring to the rule number 16 of para 2 on page no. 216 of the Road Trip, one can not kowtow to sleep while the wheels are taking the rounds, irrespective one is driving or not. The pillions have all the responsibility of keeping the driver alive. We took another chai-break to keep the tempo high and journey on ease. We stopped at around 9AM and it was hardly a 20 minutes halt. Once again we started towards the north after the tea rejuvenated us.
At round 11:30AM we were at Shimla ☺ and at around 2:00PM we were still at Shimla ☹. The queen of hills was quite irritated with the travellers who visited her out of proportion, or to quote it right, the policemen made it even worse than it could have been. We reached at the end of the traffic bottleneck to discover that there was no such big reason of it; rather it seemed to be due to mishandling by the stupid traffic cops.
Traumatized by the driving conditions we again decided to take a stop for some quick meal near Chail. The clock said it to be some 2:30 PM. The yellow fever was catching up as we seen the Maggi in the mountains. Trust me it tastes different in the mountains with the same ingredients. After filling up and packing some fruits for the way we made our caravan on move amidst some awesome weather.
The journey on the mountains is even better if they are blended with some ghost stories. Continuing with the stories, we again inched a substantial distance and made it to our next milestone- Rampur. While in the journey between Chail and Rampur we have witnessed some bizarrely beautiful plantations on the mountains, which were covered with white sheet of clothes. In unison, it made the mountain prettier and ornamented. This was picturesquely scenic and was adding to the serenity of the valley all around.
It was already an evening, and we were not at all close to our destination, 5PM in the evening and we have just snailed till Rampur where one can get a better restroom facility after Chail. We nestled there for another 45 minutes and loaded ourselves with food again. The sun was setting on us and we were a traveller without rooms booked as it always falls heavy on us to avail an advanced accommodation.
The lady took the control and started making the things possible though the portal. We have made few calls and believed that we will be able to make ourselves a room for the night if we manage to reach Sangla by 10 PM. We thought- chuck it! Let's find some tea and forget everything. We did so and that too at a beautiful location. We munched again and made numerous clicks as the location demanded this. By this time the creepy fellow was on knees to the sleep but the excitement of being in frame with the friends saved his ass. It was some 6:30 PM and was twilight in the mountains.
Yes, the roads on this patch, particularly between Rampur to Sangla/ Chitkul are particularly for day driving conditions. But those are for humans; beasts take them in the dark for making it more eventful and fun.
When going gets tough, the travelers get singing.
And then the music player was put to rest and the vocal Jam-session started. Several rowdy songs were sung and danced upon (lyrical hip-hops and all). The roads get quite dangerous and curvy after Rampur and one has to drive with utmost safety particularly “during night”. You are continuously ferried along with Baspa river enroute Sangla and the view is beautiful. There are 2-3 dams on the way, which are good piece of architecture to watch.