Mahabharata battle is played by Pandavas and Kauravas, but it was run by Lord Krishna. You don’t see Him when Bheema wrestled Keechaka into a flesh ball or when he (Bheema) broke the thighs of Duryadhana. Nevertheless one cannot ignore the real ‘driver’ of all these as Krishna. So also, the driver for our Himalayan ode was this chauffeur, who I have to humbly admit made my life miserable to balance out all the good things I was having in the trip!
That yet, to say the least that I hate him or anything is not true. I only pitied him and myself for his attitude at that time when people tend not to visualize bigger objectives of their deed.
I have severe motion sickness issue since my childhood. No wonder I could barely travel in buses (almost never) to the extent that on one occasion of intercity travel, I was inclined very strongly to get down the bus when it was only one more hour of travel. Even cars when I am not in the driver seat, make journey difficult for me. And here I am in the ghat roads which only make the situation a manifold increase, and further that all my travel consisted of ghat roads only. I pity myself and knew very much what I was up to when I signed up for this trip.
Having said all that, yet I couldn’t pardon the driver for the way he drove the car. Here was a guy who did not like getting down to anything lower than THIRD gear in hairpin turns of ghat roads! I saw him riding the car, not driving!! Just as a passionate motorcyclist loves (me included!) bending through a section of steep turn, this driver enjoyed taking turns at such speeds to make him bend left and right holding on to the steering through the turn. He had no idea about the two passengers in the rear seat. Worse, he did not know they were his customers! Either he believed there were sacks in the rear seat . . . . . or none yet!
When I tried to correct him requesting to slow down just during the turns, his response was he was driving a diesel car and needed that speed since they lacked power of a petrol car. Hmmm! My science and experience taught me, typically diesel cars have higher torque and are therefore easier than petrol cars to vary speeds within same gear. They don’t reach very high speeds as petrol cars. But we are not talking about maximum speed here. And also he said at such lower speeds (and I never told him of any ‘such’ lower speed), he could not return good mileage to his employer!! As if we do not know how much drivers save on fuel with incorrect bills/messages to their owners.
With all this driving style that ran from morning till evening several days, I was only short of vomiting in the car. My head would reel with headache. Have nausea from the word, Go! All my attempts to divert myself with meditation, slow and deep breathing, close my eyes and visualize something else, divert my thoughts to some other topic, or even focus on photography (barring few moments) have all been turned futile.
Alas! I was still able to pull out some good images and memories through our drive. Here is a waterfall for example that I shot in several different angles and distances (example one from few road turns away and one right next to it).
I wouldn’t get tired of watching and shooting the numerous waterfalls that came in our way. Some are far, some are near. If there was anything that one would find in abundance in the Himalayas that I saw, it was WATER; next only to the mountains themselves.
We came across a temple constructed in memory of a siddh yogi, Chowranginath at an elevated mountain. Apparently this yogi practiced penance in this area. It was a short stopover with couple of restaurants and shops, to many travelers as they hopped from this series of hills to another. A very peaceful place indeed! The morning sun warming us gently in this cold place was a certain welcome to travelers.
The day was relatively uneventful other than a brief stop at the high top ghat road where I got to see some girls going to school (a common feature for kids in these mountainous regions), and a resident ‘conversing’ to couple of farmers who were below the hill (!) in a language that is definitely not Hindi, yet in the Hindi main land. These places are so isolated from human and animal inhabitants making them so silent that if you shout (actually just talk loud) from the bottom, someone high up several hairpins away in the ghat road could hear them comfortably! Watch the short video from the link below.
Here are few more pictures and videos from the drive . . . . aka ride! Pictures & Short Videos