Camping in the wild desert is itself a thrilling idea. And then it thrills you more when you think of camping around the lake which is around 5000 mts above sea-level.
Pangong Lake is one of the highest altitude lakes in the world. There were many campsites near the point where the lake starts. I chose to go few kilometers away from that place so that I could feel the deserted wilderness of the lake. I didn't want any noise of people or vehicles. I found a place down the main road where I could pitch my tent. I look around and it was an amazing feeling of being alone.
The lake was more amazing from this point. At one side was the lake and at the other side was the glaciated mountains. I pitched the tent in a plane land around the lake. From the window of my tent, I could see the crystal clear water of the lake. This was a lifetime view for me. I had forgotten all the bad roads and patches from Leh to Pangong.
It was around 7:30 pm and the sun was about to set. Wind was very harsh that day. It was blowing so fast that I could feel my tent pulling me to the wind's direction. Moreover, wind was extremely cold and dry. I only had a sleeping bag which was also not enough for sub -zero temperature. I unloaded every thing from my bags and made a good sleeping mat for me. Then I covered myself with the remaining clothes. Even after that I was shivering. That night was too harsh for me. Then few hours later I had forgotten about the cold. I might have adjusted my body for that cold.
Then suddenly my sub conscious mind made me think about my past life. I had everything in front of me. Everything from my school life to college to my job. I don't know but I had smile on my face thinking about these experiences. I also thought about where the Ladakh was situated in the map in atlas in school. My geography teacher used to be very strict. She had made us learn about almost all the places in the map. There used to be many surprise tests of map in a week :-). I always used to think that I would witness all these geographical places on my own. I used to get mesmerized when I would know how the landscape changes when you move northward or westward in India. I always wanted to witness these landscape changes. That night seemed to be a whole life in itself.
I didn't know when I fall asleep. I woke up around 4 am. It was still dark. I felt that wind was normal now. I came out of my tent and was mesmerized as soon as I looked at the sky. The stars were never so close to me. The moon was about to set behind the mountains. I can still feel that moment when I am writing this article.
Then I kept looking at stars for next hour. When I saw sun light from the other side of the horizon, I started to wrap up everything that I took out of my bags last night.
Then I went to the starting point of the lake where there were many shops and few local guys who had yaks and scooter(3-Idiot's) with them. Almost everyone wanted to get one's photo clicked with that scooter. I was smiling why everyone was so enthusiastically wanted to click a photo on that scooter.
For everyone happiness means different things. But what is most important for human being is to keep moving. We are not meant to stay at one place for lifelong. Keep moving yourself, keep exploring the places and yourself.
जगहें ख़त्म हो जाती हैं
जब हमारी वहाँ जाने की इच्छाएँ
ख़त्म हो जाती हैं
लेकिन जिनकी इच्छाएँ ख़त्म हो जाती हैं
वे ऐसी जगहों में बदल जाते हैं
जहाँ कोई आना नहीं चाहता
कहते हैं रास्ता भी एक जगह होता है
जिस पर ज़िन्दगी गुजार देते हैं लोग
और रास्ते पॉवों से ही निकलते हैं
पॉव शायद इसीलिए पूजे जाते हैं
हाथों को पूजने की कोई परम्परा नहीं
हमारी संस्कृति में
ये कितनी अजीब बात है।
--- Naresh Saxena