Perspectives

Posted on Sat 03 August 2013 in Travel • 3 min read

Far far away, in the lap of the Himalayas, there were two travellers. They had been travelling for a day. Their mission - to safely reach the destination and unload the material in their truck. One of them would go further up and the other will return.

It was the NH 108. And they had waited for the landslide to clear off. Around 6PM, it appeared the JCB vehicles (ones used by BRO to remove the blockades on the road) were done with their job. The road will open. They decided to wait bit more, and see if heavy vehicles can pass through the patch of landslides, there were two of them in the half kilometre stretch. After 30 minutes, they kicked off the journey.

It was evening, around half-an-hour more for the Sun to set and was drizzling. They crossed the first landslide patch. There was a small bend, where the truck needed adjustment to move further; the Driver started manoeuvring. In that matter of two minutes where they were focusing on steering, two moderately sized rocks rolled from the top, landed two metre ahead of their vehicle, and rolled further down. Their pulses stopped!

A truck in mud, the mighty peak on the left and the turbulent Bhagirathi on the right. That would have been their last. It was slightly dark, and from the inside of the truck, the movement of rocks was not visible. They have to cross the patch. They decided, one of them would go on the mud, look out for rocks and signal the truck to move further. He went down, moved some further, there were only small stones falling from the top, irregularly. So he would wait a bit, signal the truck to come further, and then hear a stone, again signal the truck to stop.

This went on for ten-fifteen minutes. In the process, he had moved twenty-thirty metres ahead of the truck. Then he heard a slightly loud noise from the top, mixed with the noise of the Bhagirathi below. It was quite dark, he thought it was a big rock, but he couldn’t see where it was falling towards. He ran, just as his gut dictated. He reached the end of the patch.

The truck was on the other side, rocks in middle and he on the other side. He searched for the phone, he had left it in his red backpack on the truck as it was raining outside. He was in a fix. Should he go back to the truck or should he stay there? He sat on the grass for some time, went forward and returned hesitatingly; as if he had got the reason he was looking for. One, that was good enough. He decided to stay there.

He could see the truck taking a turn at the other side. And slowly it disappeared. Thank god, they were safe. Fortunately, there was another truck on his side of the patch; waiting to cross from the opposite. He went with that truck back in the opposite direction, to a small hotel. He dug up his wallet, there was the number of a friend on a piece of paper marked Glucose and a hundred bucks. He requested for a phone call, and told his friend the story, asked him to communicate the driver that he is safe. All was well.

Something was not feeling right. He left the hotel, and started walking around to find a place to sleep. He found a closed hotel at a distance, rang the bell and requested the keeper for a place to spend the night. They were very kind, and got him a temporary bedding.

He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t rationalize, there were so many “what ifs..”. The evening had brought him so close to the end. He couldn’t believe the chances, timing, the decisions. There was so much he was grateful for, he couldn’t solve the puzzle nor repay the debts; what could he speak, they were much beyond his little self. He recollected the days with his best mates, they used to often joke that he would live till forty, they would count the years and push him to do more. Fourteen more years, he thought and dozed off.