Back in April month, I had some savings in my bank account.
Each time I realize I have some money saved up; my wit would merrily give wings to my reverie. And it would say, “You think, you’re going to take the cash and the material goods with you when you’ll die, eh?” In the long run I would often find myself standing in a long queue outside ATM.
As I was queuing to draw out some cash from ATM, a friend phoned me. The call was from Ladakh. My mind said, “It’s a call. Don’t be a cocoon. Go out. Have some fun”.
The next thing I knew was arriving in Itanagar. I thought I would make some inquiries about train ticket when I’ll get to Guwahati (Assam). First, the train fare is cheap. Second, it would be exploratory. But I had to give up the idea of boarding a train when I saw huge gatherings at reservation counters. April, May, June and July is a period of great activity in India. A chance to get a ticket during those rush months was virtually nil, so I went to try the flight instead. A day later; I was far from my hometown, I was in Delhi. Four days later, in Srinagar.
“You must try a Houseboat”, a friend suggested. I obeyed diligently. Two days in a houseboat. Both the toilet and bathroom was attached to a room – within houseboat. There was even a T.V. set in a one corner. I noticed it a day afterwards while packing my backpack as it was veiled by muslin kinda fabric.
The temperature in Delhi was ranging from 40°C – 45°C but it was still wintry in Srinagar. The water was too cold to withstand, so I never dared to take a whole body bath. I ate my Kashmiri breakfast and Kashmiri dinner with houseboat owner and his family members. At night, the wind gently rocks you to sleep in a houseboat. Apart from eating and sleeping, I rowed around the Dal Lake in Shikhara (row-boat) and experienced my first ever snowflakes on my head at Sonamarg while leaving Kashmir for Ladakh.
If I were asked,”What color is the Ladakh?” I would say,” Beige”. Green is my hometown but diminishing bit by bit.
Because of snowfall and road blockage, my travel was limit to monastery and Stupa in Leh. However, I met almost all my Ladakhi friend I had befriended during my school days. They were surprised and pleased to see me in Ladakh. I was pleased I listened to my inner voice, but the better part thought,” Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! The opportunity of a lifetime”.
I returned home very tanned and light. 3 kg lighter than I used to be. So was my bank balance. I had drained almost all my savings. It was a poignant moment. “Don’t fret. Money change hands. Besides, you only Live once”, said my wit.