20th February 2015 (Friday)
It continued raining heavily throughout the night, had a nice sleep though. Lalpari has become more of a home now….a home on wheels. Whenever I go inside the car, it has started giving me the same feeling as I get while going inside my home. The benefits of the trip were becoming visible now. One of the immediate one was the habit of getting up early. Got up very early again, at around 5.30am as against 8am back home. It was still raining.
Got out of the car with the help of umbrella to pee. Chilly breeze was blowing outside. I was shivering while I eased myself. Got in the car quickly. Ignited the engine alive. Put the heater on. In search of tea shop drove a little further. Found one open at Kumarsain. Had two cups of tea and buns, as usual. Drove further towards Narkanda hoping that the road would be open.
The day was about to break. The pink white hue of the dawn was just setting in. I saw few white flakes falling from above the sky. Light snow was falling. A little further I noticed the road was becoming white with falling snow. It was snowing steadily now. I was fresh after a nice sleep and feeling wonderful as I had never seen falling snow while drive.
Such a wonderful experience. In hot plains where I live, driving in the falling snow, is a dream for most of the folks like me. Unaware of what was lay store for me, I was kind of lost in the dream and continued driving in the falling snow.
Kept on driving in the snow. It was already about half an hour since I was driving in the falling snow. Absolutely amazing feeling. Like I was driving in heaven. The white snow flakes falling from above with the sound which is impossible to describe. The road getting thicker with the snow. The green of the trees was getting whiter as leaves of the trees were turning white with quietly setting of snowflakes on them.
The sky was getting darker. The brightness of the day was giving a dark greyish look. I was still enjoying the drive. The snowfall was getting harder. The viper was frantically wiping the windshield. It was not succeeding though as the pace of the falling snow was brisker than the pace of the wiper.
I parked the car on the side. Came out of the car. Took shelter in a little cave on the side of the road. Started appreciating a larger view of surroundings. It was just beautiful. I had never seen that kind of snow laden landscape ever in my life. Just heavenly. I was kind of lost for about half an hour.
On coming back from my reverie, started clicking pictures and collecting memories. Took a video as well. Saw few vehicles come down waiving negative signals…meaning, road was closed. Still tried to drive a little further until it became almost impossible. The snow on the road was so thick that my car was slipping and skidding. I could go no further and had to return back.
It continued raining throughout the day. I had to return back to Kingal. Kept waiting for the rain to stop throughout the day. Drove into few villages nearby. Couldn’t do much as it kept on raining heavily. Parked the car on the side of the road and listened to music, watched videos, spent some time writing diary and viewing maps.
Reviewed the plan for the rest of the trip. Met some natives. There were no tourists around and hardly any movement of vehicles. Things were much slower than usual. Got a little bored especially when people predicted that the road might not open for few days.
I parked the car in Kingal market that day instead of the dhaba which was about two kilometers towards Kumarsain and where I had slept the previous night. It was a more happening place. In the evening few trucks arrived. It was nice chatting with the truck drivers. They had many interesting stories to tell. There were many places in Kingal which offered bedding for Rs.50- to Rs.100- to them.
Decided not to have drinks that day. Instead had milk with boiled eggs. By around 9pm I was in the car and sleeping fast.It was a very beautiful and interesting day, comparatively slower but definitely a memorable one. Everlasting words of English romantic poet John Keats came to my mind, I was in that moment of sheer joy that day which would always be with me…..forever!!!
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.