Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cycling Expedition - Bhakra Dam

The spring season in northern India is at home now. On the foothills of Shivalik Hills at Nangal what best could be other than hitting the road on cycle and explore Bhakra Dam with new look of nature in Spring.

This time I was not alone as Jaideep Yadav was all set to join me with his new Hero Octane Cycle.

Our expedition began at 07:00 AM on March 11, 2012 in relatively cold weather from Nangal. We carried bare minimum stuff with a bottle of water and chocolates. We thoroughly enjoyed empty roads and roads along Nangal Dam. We crossed first check point and stopped for a tea break.


The track ahead was steep uphill until last destination. We slowly moved up and enjoyed the cycling track a lot.

While on the way back we stopped at Nangal Dam and the beauty of water was amazing with sun shining on it.


The total distance we covered was 17 kilometers with a gain of 200 feet in altitude.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Donate Blood - Spread Humanity and Love

After moving from Delhi in April 2011, I did not get time at Nangal to voluntarily donate blood after every three months. Every time some or the other excuse had put this noble cause on back seat. My pledge to donate blood every quarter was not adhered. It stayed in mind for last 10 months as burden on me and felt guilty many a times.

March 09, 2012 was the day when I suddenly decided in office to complete this long pending task, so I rushed to Government Hospital in Una (Himachal Pradesh). Blood Bank staff was sitting idol and my entry made them little active.

It has been my experience that every time I say that I want to voluntarily donate blood, staffs reacts as if they have not yet come across any voluntary blood donor.

It took me hardly 10 minutes to complete the formalities of donating blood. My fear of injections always haunt me and nurse who injected the needle ensured that it reaches deeper than I had ever experienced. It was little painful but the feeling of donating blood to save a life without any self interest was above all.

It was so relieving to come back to routine of blood donation as if I have completed my toughest examinations of my studies.

The idea of organizing a blood donation camp cropped in my mind and just imagined that it will be such a great cause if I am able to encourage few youngsters to contribute to this noble cause. This chain can spread such a beautiful message and we can save so many lives. Every single life deserves to live happily in this world. What can be more soothing and satisfying than to save a life who need help ?

It was my 5th unit of Blood donation and till the time I stay fit and healthy I will continue to increase this number every quarter.

The need of the hour is to encourage as many people as possible as demand of blood in India is always significantly higher than supply. Young India, please come forward and spread humanity far.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Triund - A Trek on 5 Feet Snow

Trekking third time to Triund had brought me again to Mcleodganj on evening of 2nd March 2012. The Snow at Triund was the key greed to conquer this trek on 3rd March. Jaideep Yadav and Deepak Mishra were too excited to take up the challenge on five feet snow and steep glaciers.


Deepak Mishra had never seen the Snow and Jaideep Yadav had returned unsucesful from Trek to Triund couple of months back. So it was more challenging for me to reach at Triund with my company. Somewhere in mind I was very clear that no matter what happens I will make these guys to reach at the top.

The trek started at 08:30 AM from Mcleodganj. We filled some confectionery, chocolates and water in our backpack. Strangely Jaideep and Deepak were exceptionally excited and energatic to reach the snow point, rather I was surprised that both of them started walking faster than me in the beginning. But it was for a while  and soon I took lead. My intention was to pull them upto half of the distance (7 KM) fast so that we have enough time to climb carefully when last 6 odd kilometers comes in front of us with unexpected stacks of snow.

Unlike summer times, the track had become no man land, we the only three trekkers were breaking the silence of dense forest with all kind of noise.

After 2 kilometer trek, we got to meet 4 dogs who looked aggressive initially. But soon we realized that all they need is pampering and some food. They got both this from us so they joined us for rest of the day. With these four dogs running behind and ahead of us, we finally reached the first stop of our trek, Dharamkot.

We bought more stuff to eat at Dharamkot. Most important buy here was Red Bull. We fed the dogs with biscuits so that they join us till last. It was good company from safety point of view.

Little away from Dharamkot, our track started showing some snow staked on the way. This was the time when we could see the full view of Dharamshala and Mcleodganj from top. By this time, signs of tiredness had started appearing on Jaideep's face. Few words of motivation and pampering to Jaideep we moved ahead. 

Soon came the turning point of our trek when we moved to the other side of landscape where we could see our first stop/breakfast stop and then on 90 degree look up was Triund. The shining white snow there created an unique energy in body and provoked me to run like crazy to reach there. The beauty of Triund covered under Snow was spectacular and breadth taking. For a while I was lost in a way as if I am wandering at Triund with no relation to this world. But soon I came back to reality as we had huge distance to be covered yet, that too full of snow and steep climb.


We were too busy with capturing the beauty of nature, of-course including lot of photographs of all three of us. After moving little ahead on track, we were in front of the first glacier of our adventure. It was huge, scary, steep and almost negligible marks of foot. Moreover, the noise of flowing water under glacier increased my fear. The glacier was almost 7 to 8 feet fat. There was no scope for error. Above all this, the day had grown hot enough to melt snow, so the fear of some snow coming down had almost fasten my heart beat to extreme. Our non stop chitter bitter had suddenly disappeared and silence there felt more haunting to me. With strange fears crossing my mind, we manage to cross our first glacier successfully. 


Our first encounter with such a huge glacier proved two things clearly. First that in our balance 8 to 10 kilometer trek we are going to come across lot of snow and glaciers, second that my both partners will not give up and that was great news to me.

With our first glacier crossing and half a kilometer trek from there, we reached a place called MAGIC VIEW where we had planned our breakfast with delicious Maggi cooked with lot of vegetable. The feeling of reaching at first milestone and feeding maggi was super awesome. We met three trekkers from abroad here. They alarmed us about the track and glaciers ahead. But we ignored it and moved ahead after resting for a while here.

As we were climbing high, the zeal to reach Triund was increasing step by step. The Magic View was the point where never ending snow started and now we had to walk on snow for almost 6 kilometers till Triund. The track ahead was full of Snow, glaciers and steep climb with no marks of foot.

Our mouths were shut permanently and camera was packed. I told both my buddies to focus on their steps invariably. We conquered three times bigger glaciers than first one and way steeper. It was genuinely risky to cross that when water flowing under it was huge. But we had no option than to cross it. This time we just did not stop in the middle and walked carefully on it.

After crossing this huge glacier we were to climb 90 degree for next 2 kilometers and that was Triund. But these two kilometers proved to be the most haunting to me. The only question in my mind was "How we will come down ?" I did not share my fears with  Jaideep Yadav and Deepak Mishra as this would have taken them onto the verge of giving up there itself.


800 meters before Triund,  Jaideep gave up and refused to climb. The reason was steep valley down looked scary and his shoes were completely wet. Here rather than motivating him I forcibly pushed him to walk up.


The purity of snow here proved that coutable number of people have reached here. Unmarked track proved our point further. We were among very few to reach at Triund. It was amazing to see  Jaideep and Deepak feeling proud of completing the trek. The view and feeling was beyond imaginations. Unlike last time Green lush, Triund was pure white. The place filled us with infinite Joy. 

We spent an hour over there where we met two young Monks and had heavely delicious steaming Dal and Rice in only shop open at Triund.

Now it was the time to head back to Mcleodganj. The challenge started with our first step to go down itself. It was steep and scary. The same unmarked Snow felt killer. I guided both my buddies to use edge of their shoes and to keep cross feet wherever possible. I did not allow them to put flat steps which are most dangerous on snow. The steep downhill of two kilometer was the most critical part of our journey back with litterly no scope of error.

Suddenly both  Jaideep and Deepak gave up and sat where ever they were. To keep eye on them and guide them I was the last one. At one steep path  Deepak  simply sat on snow and started screaming. Looking at this situation  Jaideep  turned back upward but I did not allow him to go back. Now this was the most tricky situation for me. Rather than screaming back on them, I decided to go to front and help them. The track was small enough to not to allow anyone cross, so I decided to make my own path on snow. As I reached close to  Deepak my right leg bumped into snow and my right leg got stuck till waste. I had no choice than to stay calm. Slowly I managed to come over it. After this I immediately asked  Deepak  to move slowly and then  Jaideep.


Once we crossed the biggest glacier, I could see  Jaideep's and Deepak's heart beat coming back to normal. I was happy that we managed to cross the main challenge safely. Moreover when  Jaideep was wearing flat shoes and  Deepak  was wearing shoes with soul which had become flat over a period of time.

On the way back, we met lot of people who were trying to reach Triund. We were sure that none them would reach.

With extreme happiness and satisfaction we trekked back to Mcleodganj. It was long day and ofcourse God had made it really special for me as Snow and peaks of Himalayas are too close to my heart. The day I marked in my life as some of those days where I was fully satisfied with what I did.

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