We got up late, I guess it was the sun’s bright light which forced us to get out of the bed. Couldn’t record the time but the sun was well above the mountains. I went onto the terrace and saw that everything was at peace. It looked as though nothing had happened. Few old men were busy sipping tea sitting on chair outside our hotel. There was another room in the hotel just in front of us but no one was staying there. We thought that since many people got stuck, the room would eventually fill up.
First in line, yesterday to check out the room with us were Capt. Amit Sharma who were joined by his family. But, after hearing that water was an issue he ditched the plan and went further into the city in search of one good room. While coming up yesterday he had taken the phone numbers of the GREFF people working on the slide so that he could be regularly updated and he had shared the number to us as well. 2 Punjab riders also came to checkout the room but don’t know what happened to them, instead they sat whole day near a dhaba which was just mtrs away from our hotel cum stay. I guess, they slept the night in the dhaba itself. Their faces looked like as it nothing had happened and it was like general pit stop for a break. They were lazily basking in the sun. We too were avoiding the shadowy areas and required the help of sun rays to protect us from the cold.
We brushed our teeth. I guess that was the easiest part even though the water was freezing cold. I don’t know how did my tooth tolerated that. Toilet was closed and this was the hardest part. We planned yesterday to wake up early and finish off our chores before the light and traffic poured in. But, nothing of this had happened. Time gone was gone. This was going to be challenge for us now. Gladly, the big rocks behind our hotel came to our rescue and provided us the perfect cover to accomplish our task. We had water and just needed to find a privy place and enjoy amidst the mountains. We went in turns so as to avoid bumping into each other and as well as someone was needed near the room to watch the things. The paper towels which we carried for the trip really came to our help today.
The stomach started to growl some time later after our bowels got cleared. All we had to do was climb down 15 steps and we were inside the hotel overlooking the food menu. We decided to have breakfast outside along with sun. We ordered omelette along with Parantha and curd. Almost the same menu which we ordered yesterday when we came from Tabo side. This was followed by special lemon grass tea which we enjoyed to the core standing near to our bikes. We had parked our bikes right next to the main entrance of the hotel.
Like a jobless person we were loathing around. We went upstairs, pulled out chairs and were happily basking in the sun on the terrace. This was done after we had applied ourselves generous amount of sunscreen SPF 50+. We knew, even with such protection, it was impossible to defeat the sun. The skin had already started showing signs of tanning in this trip. We were joined by 5 other students who took the room in front of us later in the evening yesterday. They too were roaming here and there citing nothing to do. We had only mountains to look to and almost all the people except the students had went to the Nako village for accommodation. The hotel in which we were staying were located just outside the city roads where there was a sharp circular turn before the road started to descend.
After quite some time sitting in the sunshine, we started to feel hungry again. Don’t know how it happened as we hadn’t even spent an ounce of energy from our bodies. We ordered coke and some namkeen for us. We were sipping coke and getting dissolved into the scenery. There was no any news update on the landslide. There was no one to call since the only BSNL network which was working there, too went off. Everyone were getting desperate as to what was the scene up ahead. The boys next door too were asking us about the matter. Just then, we decided to put our gears on and head up to the location and get a first hand review of the situation.
We pulled our jackets and pants and cranked our bikes. We three, took 2 bikes and went down. It was close to 20 mins ride one way. Everyone were praying for it to get clear and eagerly waiting for our return. We reached the spot, but it looked like the situation was only 20% tackled. Still, much work was left to do. The big boulder hadn’t even moved an inch. Instead, while clearing what was fallen, more stone which were earlier resting on them came off and the pile increased. It didn’t look like it was going to get cleared today by any means. We were very disheartened and with that mood returned back to tell stories of ill luck. Everyone were just waiting for us to come and just pounced on us for the news only to get jolted back. There was nowhere to go today. By this time more number of people has joined us from Kaza side.
Everyone retired to their rooms while I took the opportunity to tight my drive chain. It had kinda become loose and with all that dirt getting stuck onto it was making hitting noise at regular interval. This problem, I had been facing since couple of days and right now I decided it was high time to fix it. I brought all my necessary toolkit from the room and did what was necessary.
In the meanwhile, all the people had come to our hotel and were resting in front of the hotel space available. Some were playing cards on the hotel dining table while some were relaxing on the open ground. Word was that, the BRO/ GREFF people were resorting to a more powerful blast to clear off the boulders and there was a possibility that by late evening the slide may get cleared. With this intention everyone had packed all their luggage in the car and came to our place. They were just passing the time and waiting for the good news.
In the mean while we had our evening tea and watched people playing cards and other games. There were these local people playing a certain kind of dice game which was accompanied by steel nails and match stick like small twigs. I watched desperately trying to figure it out the objective behind the game but failed eventually. Asking them was out of question since I didn’t knew their language. Time passed quickly and evening fell.
Everyone were up on their toes as it started to get dark. We too offloaded everything from our rooms and loaded the luggage onto the bikes. We were ready to roll. We all were ready to roll. After 2 days of halt, everyone were desperate to hit the roads again. Ready to go home. Just then, we received a tip off from GREFF people who told that the slide had still not cleared even after the strong explosion and they were really sorry to dampen our high hopes going ahead. It was shocker for all of us. They then promised us that the slide would get cleared by tomorrow noon and the workforce people were giving their 200%.
Our new friends who had till now stayed in the Nako village advised us to join them in the village hotel for tonight. And so, we ditched the hotel where we stayed almost one and a half day to join the rest of our team. Before leaving our earlier place, we took a group-fie and then moved ahead. The team was bigger in strength and the photo had to be clicked really from a distance.
We checked into the hotel in which almost all of us were staying. There was a problem of running water here too. But, the good thing was that they had an attached toilet to the room which saved us from going outside during mornings. We arranged all our luggage in the darkness. There was frequent fluctuation of the lights going On and Off and the LED torch which I had brought for this trip came handy here. Afterwards, we all got freshened up, it was time for a party.
While we all three were coming back after the afternoon surveillance of the slide, Bimal ji and Karan had gone off route, the road which led to a certain village down the valley. They had specifically gone there to make the arrangements for the evening. And it was this Vodka that we were drinking right now. Our last drink of the trip. Our joy knew no bounds. We all were happy in the mood. There was no shortage of namkeen as before checking into the hotel we had bought it from the shop below. The brand of the vodka was some ‘Class 21’ and it tasted really good and gave us the much-needed heat. The rooms were quite big with wooden flooring and a wide attached balcony. There was a double bed as well as a single bed and hence there was no need to ask for an extra bedding.
Since the network has resumed, I dialed in the Go-Air customer care and postponed my flight to 5th May. I was just playing it safe as I was still doubtful on the clearance of the slide. After some good old discussion over the drink, it was time for dinner and we had it in home-stay type hotel which was opposite to our stay. Food was being served here too but it was damn pricey. Bimal ji and along with my other club members had stayed at this same hotel last year during their SPITI trip. We had dal, rice and roti for the dinner and that was pretty much the only thing they were serving. After the dinner we retired to our rooms but something was letting us to go out and enjoy the Full Moon. We were also little high on the vodka and were totally confused. There was this planned pic which I had to take on a Full Moon light with my bike with a beautiful backdrop of moon lit mountains. There was no better place than the Helipad located right behind our old hotel. The location was perfect with an open space for the shoot. It was going to be risky having being drunk ourselves and that too without wearing helmet.
We took a leap of faith and since all of them wanted to click a pic, we took all the three bikes to the helipad area. Other people had finished their dinner and were merrily enjoying themselves in front of the bonfire which the hotel people had arranged for us. We told them that we had some unfinished business with the mountains and the moon and off we went. The helipad was just a km away from our new place.
We setup the tripod and did a long exposure shots for all the three bikes. The pics were indeed coming beautiful, perfect as we desired. This was all taking place around 10 pm in the night. We had barely enough on our bodies to cover us. The cold was overpowering us and wouldn’t let us stand there for much time. We started again back for the hotel, parked our bikes in hurry, but in a proper manner and again retracted to our rooms. The bedding was good and in decent condition. It was going to provide us a comfortable sleep.
We were tired today for god knows what reason, drunk to the core, had a heavy dinner and this all helped us in getting a sound sleep. Not to mention the smooth mobile music playing at the background in almost muted condition.
It was probably going to be our last night in Nako. The trip had been modified according to the external conditions and so we slept without any tension in our minds.
From now on, we had stopped taking tension and let the nature decide the course for us….