Signing off Spiti

It’s past 8 p.m. Sita and Norzom have left for Ki to water the fields and run other agricultural errands (I heard something about grinding Jamuns, I’m sure). Tandup has been taken too, in case he bawls without his mother. A cousin brother is here now. Smoking cigarette after cigarette. He’s supposed to be a…

Binge Watching

Sita Aunty currently goes about cleaning tumblers of milk-turned-curd. In some time, the family will leave for the forest on top of the hill behind this one. I’m welcome to join. I’m game to go but I feel breathless almost all the time. My nose is dry and it almost burns when I breath in…

Aloo Momos At 14,200 Ft

It’s 8 in the evening. I’m at Khibber. This is turning out to be different than what I had imagined. It’s still jagged and breathtaking but also slightly greener and flatter here. I think we are on the top of the rocky cliffs that mark the road till Kaza. The terrain looks quite walk-able. The…

The performer at the bus stand

The homesickness is getting real in Kaza. This is the second day in a row that I have woken up with the thought of going back. To Delhi. The crowded noisy capital with its big trees and wide roads. The love for plains and its people is calling out quite loudly to me. The barren…

The ‘Real’ Kaza

After the bumpy ride from Manali, the wind-stricken stay at Batal and the maddening walk to the breath-taking Chandra taal, my bones were craving comfort, a clean washroom, hot water and some belly filling food. And that’s exactly what I got in Kaza. Here, I’m cooped up at Hotel Spiti Heritage. A relatively new hotel in…

Spiti Valley – A Geography Lesson You’ll Never Forget

I’m overwhelmed, stunned and slightly disoriented by the landscape I’ve just witnessed and encountered in the past 4 or 5 hours. This is what I was waiting for clearly. Turn after turn, bend after bend, one breath-taking sight after the other. Spiti valley is ethereal (so much that I have to use a cliché). Laying…

Everything Unwanted The Road Offers

The strangest thing happened today. I had reached Batal by 9 or so in the morning. The wind hadn’t started yet. The bus from Kaza arrived dutifully at 11. I was in the dhaba doing what I don’t quite remember. The crowd started spilling into the shack and soon it was a chaos curry of…

Learning To Be A Freeloader

The breathing problem got worse in the morning. I want to get down to Batal at the earliest. I feel awkward in Chandratal and there is no one to talk to. All the other tourists here are with friends and spent their time either in their tents or preparing for the trek to Chandrataal, stuffing their…

‘Not’ Dealing With Altitude Sickness at Chandratal

I must admit, walking to Chandratal was the loneliest experience of this journey so far. It put me in a shell of some sorts. I wanted to be quiet, shielding myself in the privacy of a small white tent at Tenzin camp, left alone with my thoughts. I felt incredibly shy at Chandratal. On a…

Exploring Madness In The Silence Of Spiti

When I woke up in the morning, I was in two minds. Should I go? Should I wait for a ride? Should I just stay on in Batal instead? Save both money and effort? The choice was simple. All I had to do was say yes or no. So, I stopped thinking. I tuned out…

Talking to the wind in Batal

I refuse to budge from this chair I have found. My butt deserves stability. I would have also liked some peace of mind but this damned crazy wind won’t let me have any of it. The best way to enjoy your time in Batal is to sit here on this platform to the left of…

Manali To Batal – One Bump At A Time

My bones will never be the same again… Was one of the many thoughts that crashed into my mind today. It was a treacherous day. Woke up at 4.30 a.m. to leave for the New Manali bus stand. The auto to Manali at 5 in the morning is a rip off. Hukum Chand ji said…