M2K2018 Day T-2

M2K2018 Day T-2

Reaching Manali was taking for ever. However like much else in India, you learn to take it in your stride.

Landslides blocking up traffic on both sides, transformers blowing up leaving the city in darkness for two straight days and carrying five box packed tandem cycles does slow you down.

And all that on a good day.

Traveling on roads has its highligts – character revealing incidents, meeting complete strangers, eating at places where you may never stop again and so on.

We had started from New Delhi at night and were taking the overnighter to Manali. We’d heard reports of landslides and were prepared for a delay. The sardar driving the bus was efficient and with the powerful machine at his disposal, raced ahead. The roads ahead from Delhi were wide and paved. We made good progress.

A dinner stops, a late night tea stop and a breakfast stop later we were in Mandi. This is where the roads started choking. There was evidence of landslides being cleared, new stream ducts being constructed and general cooperation between vehicles.

A new driver had taken over by this time. This one was Virat Kohlis brother from another mother. Smartly dressed, formal shoes and pride in his work. Our sardarji had meanwhile purchased some loaves of bread to give the monkeys in the ghats. They welcome the bus with squeals when it approached, so this was a regular affair apparently.

A few people kept getting down at smaller towns on the way. We made a similar stop in Bhuntar and after we left a passenger realised that his bag of mithai boxes was missing. The bus cleaner had noticed another passenger leaving with a similar bag.

Both of them immidiately left to track him down. They were back 20 min later with the mithai package intact. The man had apparently tried to siphon of good the sweets while the owner slept. They shook him up a little and came back. We were on our way once more.

Finally after a 15 hour journey we touched down at the bus station only to be swarmed by taxi drivers. Thankfully after seeing our huge pile of boxes they made themselves scarce.

We snagged a tempo meanwhile and loaded our huge pile on. An enterprising taxi fellow who dared to come back got the chance to drive us to the hotel.

Throughout the drive in these difficult terrains, I was not surprised that honking was far and few in between. The self discipline reduced the need for it drastically. They just knew to give way, to wait, practice patience. The mountains teach you that a plenty.

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