Day 26 – Amritsar to McLeodganj
When I slept last night, I did not know where I will go. I wanted to go to Ganganagar but the only person I knew wasn’t responding and it wasn’t worth the effort to go all the way there for nothing. So it back to nothing.
In the morning, I had my surprise. For the first time in almost a month, I saw the face of a person I actually knew. I was paid a visit by an old, very old friend. CMT, from school, does sales from Unilever and was in-charge of the entire northern region for cosmetics. Having landed with an early morning flight, we were chatting away to glory at 8.30 in the morning. I was devouring every moment I had with him because I didn’t know when I will be able to see someone known. Two pegs of run down early in the morning, we were even more in the mood. But then, like all good things, it came to an end. And I was on the road again.
While I took my packed bags out of the room, I decided I will go back to the hills. Dharamsala.
We said our goodbyes and goodlucks. I was off. I had lost my sunglasses at the Wagha Border mayhem yesterday and was forced to ride with a squint. It was bright and sunny. Passed through the lush green fields of Punjab. Unending growth of paddy and other crops, it was like a green cover over the entire landmass. Punjab is a treat for the eyes.
|From Earning My Quarter Mile|
Almost at the border of Punjab and Himachal, I had what I had been dreading of. MY FIRST MAJOR ACCIDENT. The narrow road had started climbing just after Hoshiarpur and just before the state border. There was tremendous amount of sand on both sides. A bus came from the other side on a particularly narrow section. I braked but not completely. I thought the sand is hard enough to support the bike. Bad assumption.
The front wheel went into the sand pit and refused to move. The rear wheel kept pushing the bike fruitlessly. The front wheel turned and the bike fell. The acclerator stuck under my palm went on roaring till the gears refused to move and the bike stalled. I was under the bike. The leg guard came to the rescue. My foot could move. It could but it won’t. The bus was about to climb the bike and my other foot. Inches away and speeding at about 60 kmph, the driver swerved. Barely missing the deep gorge on the other side, it somehow managed to stay on road. I was on the road, on all fours, tankbag on the road, camera in the sand but thankfully not hurt. At least I hope I wasn’t hurt. The jacket and the helmet had done their job. I was up and running in less than 10 minutes.
In the entire business, I don’t have an issue with the bus driver. I do, however, have an issue with the car which came right behind the bus. I was down but he was the one guy who didn’t care two hoots about even trying to stop once to see if I was alive. Quite a few people after the car stopped. I didn’t need any help but it could have been anyone and they could have needed help. The apathy was stunning. We all need to learn. To stop and help. I always do.
The rest of the journey was rather normal. McLeodganj is a beautiful place. Like the English countryside mixed into Ruskin Bond’s hillside towns. Dharamsala is the home of the Dalai Lama and the place is full of his followers. Free Tibet Movement is the strongest here. I like the place. No pics yet. Tomorrow.