Four days continuous ride in Slush, mud, water, rain and snow, we found ourselves back in civilization once we rode into Leh town. We were happy like kids to wear new cloths after four days ride in all kind of possible weather and road conditions.
Day 5 was a day to explore Leh town and to obtain Inland Permit (ILP) from local SDM office. Anurag and Sudhir went for repair of sudhir's bike whereas Akshay and Me went to SDM office to apply for ILP. ILP is a permit issued by SDM to visit Nubra Valley and Pangong Lake. In India when we talk about Govt office, it is always linked with bribe, inefficiency and delays, so we were skeptical about getting permits on time.
We filled up required form and arrived SDM office. We were told to meet a lady in her office. I could see part of the name plate outside her office wherein I learnt that she is ADM. We entered the room and told her about the permission we needed. She was extremely polite in her behavior and greeted us with smile. She studied the form in hurry when she was preparing herself for meeting with her boss. If I were in her place I would never have attended the request keeping in mind that in next five minutes an important meeting is lined up with boss.
She told us to write a request letter along with form we had filled up. She asked, "Do you have plane paper ?". The obvious answer from our side was, "No". She searched her drawers (in between giving some instructions to her PA in Ladakhi dialect regarding preparation of meeting and too busy with phone as well). At the end she gave us plane stamp paper to write a letter. By the time we wrote letter and submitted it back to her, she was getting late for the meeting.
She signed the permission form but she needed to keep one copy for her records as well. We stupid did not have second copy. Any other government officer would have thrown us out with out permission but this lady was extra ordinary with cool temperament. She handed over the blank form to us and said, "Fill it up exactly like original". However she could not hold herself for few more minutes so she took the blank form from Akshay's hand, signed it and said, "Please fill up same details and submit it to my PA".
We were touched with her polite behavior, blind trust and support she extended to us. This all happened in 10 minutes time and believe me those 10 minutes were extremely busy for her. I can not imagine an officer of ADM level at any other place in India helping strangers and signing blank form. This is true Ladakh we witnessed.
The story did not end here, at the end of this process and before she left for her meeting, She did not forget to say, "All the best, ride safe and enjoy". This was true humanity. Imagine a person who receive thousand of requests everyday for such permission but she never disrespect tourists and behave so politely. Unlike other tourist places, this is what makes Ladakh the true heaven on earth.
I felt very enlightened after this experience. Somewhere it touched deep my heart and I have an immense respect for that lady ADM because they are the one, who writes small small pages, full of great memories/experiences in everyone's life, who visit Ladakh.
Rest of the day was spent with bike's minor repair, except Sudhir's bike which was again under major repair. We ate a lot, enjoyed roaming on Leh's streets, lined up in front of J&K Bank ATM for long time, bought jacket for Sudhir after searching entire Leh market and lot of gossips.
By evening Mohit had also reached Leh. He showed great mental strength by riding all the way alone from Manali to Leh. It was unexpected out of him. I must confess that If I was left alone at Manali due to breakdown, perhaps I would not have reached Leh. This was the great example of never give up spirit. But he had to ride one more day alone to Nubra Valley. Since he reached late in evening he could not get the permission to ride to Nubra Valley. Another day was due for him to ride alone.