After that it was just John and I. We took off initially and there was a way where the road was blocked when we were thinking whether to go that way or not, a local suggested to go ahead. We went through the road. Visited Lamayuru Gompa, almost waited there for an hour. First I went to Gompa, asking John to stand so that we could stop them if they come. Then John went to visit Gompa. There was a broken or burned house which looked like Skeleton from He-Man. In spite of such a long time they were nowhere to be seen. We were in a dilemma to whether wait or to go ahead. As many had said that we'd get cell phone signal in Leh we thought we'd reach Leh, so that at least if they are in any crisis they'd be able to contact.
After Lamayuru we entered through a road which smelled danger. There were violet color mountains everywhere. John said that he felt as if he was in some place in Interstellar movie. I too thought as if we were in different planet. I started feeling happy from that moment. It was a lone ride, almost a lone one, with one of my very good friends. It felt special. I always wanted to be alone when I reach Leh. I thought it was going to happen. Next to the violet mountain road was the road which taught me a lesson.
I mean I wasn't over confident as such but I had never had a fall till that time. In the violent mountain road we asked a person whether the road is passable because we could smell danger in the road, it was eerie. The answer by the worker wasn't convincing. We decided to go ahead with the road. Only after few minutes we got to know why it was blocked. There was a JCB machine which was working on the roads, there was just space for a single person to walk through it.
From top I wasn't able to look at the road, John said, "this looks very dangerous man." I was like, "If it's easy everyone would go to Ladakh." Only after taking a U turn I saw how bad the road was. From one end of it where the road wasn't paved I asked the JCB guy whether it was okay to cross it. He said Ok. I started the engine to cross it. As if it's a danger sign, the reverse sound of JCB was ringing. John said, "There is some sound." I replied saying that it's the reverse sound of the JCB machine. We continued from there and I put break near JCB. As it was full of slush we had a fall. Didn't realize what happened next. After crossing John informed that I was about to fall and hit my head on the JCB's tyre. John pushed it in an instinct. I wasn't deterred. In fact I was happy. That was the only experience missing, the fall. John asked me whether I'd need water or something. I thought he was shaken. I didn't talk much as I was afraid I'd scare him more.
Only after we came down from the road we got to know that it was the blocked road which we had crossed. There was a marking with beer bottles. All the vehicles were coming in opposite direction. Only then we realized that others could have made it through that way and our wait in Lamayuru could be a waste of time. Soon enough there was a partition where we weren't sure which way to take. Thankfully a police vehicle came and guided us to the correct path. These confusions are the things that make travel interesting. You get to know how good your intuitions work.
It was a joy ride from then on. Nice roads, roaring waters and clean road. The flow was great. We stopped at the last point before Leh, Nimmu, the place had a miraculous water cooling system. Had bread omelet and chai in quick succession. That place also had a camp fire kinda thing, a culture which I adore in Himalayas. It wasn't there much in Ladakh region. By the time which we thought we almost lost the rest of the gang, they zoomed past us. Arun and Parthi quickly informed that Mani's bike broke down. Mani along with the bike were going in the car before them. They all looked pretty pissed of me as we had left before them.
From there the ride was a dream. Back when I was good in studies and very good in Mathematics I used to get happy as soon as writing half the paper correctly, thinking I'd get centum in the exam but end up losing a mark or two. But this time it was different. I could start seeing Leh boards, 100 KM, 90 KM etc. etc. it was getting closer and closer. I wanted to lead, I wanted to be first, and I wanted to travel alone. Nothing happened. I was the tail, I was travelling with a pillion and I was with a group. But one thing happened. I was happy, I was happy beyond words. It was a dream, you plan for something for such a long time and the moment when everything comes together. Nothing like that. If there had been a camera inside my helmet, it'd have captured all my stupid grins. I truly felt that I could die after the moment. I was so very very happy. Shouting at every Leh board which I passed and when we reached Leh it was the Climax of happiness. I felt being on top of the world. I don't think others were that much happy as they had bike tension. The Good Samaritan who helped us with the bike transport didn't take any money at all. It was like a welcome sign, "Welcome to the good part of the World."
John on the other hand was getting restless to use restroom. While the bike was getting ready I met a fairly knowledgeable guy who was talking about the route to Pangong and Nubra. It always feel special when you know more about a place than the local. John on the other hand wasn't enjoying the conversation at all. He was roaming here and there with the toilet paper to finish of his duties. Unluckily for him, it was getting dark and we wasn't finding any abode. Finally he gave up exasperated, "enada panitu irukinga, vaanga poi room eduakalam" ( what are you people doing still? let's go take a room). Then we went to a restaurant and he finished off his duties, I finished my chai. His face became normal only after that. He was telling he was feeling more happy now, "going in Ladakh than going to Ladakh"
While returning we made phone call to our home from STD booth. As the phone wasn't working, a person sitting nearby gave us his phone and didn't charge anything. When you are happy, everything around you looks pleasing. That's how it was.