Day (3) 21st August 1994, sunday…………Manali-Keylong (115 km)
As I got up quite early on Raksha Bandhan (The Indian festival celebrates love and duty between brothers and sisters) day at hotel shivalik, the first thing on my mind was to look for an auto mechanic. I came to know about a mechanic named Raju and went straight to his workshop. It was 8am and the workshop was still not open. I knocked at the door of the workshop and tried to wake the mechanic up.
After struggling for around 15-20 minutes I succeeded in waking up an assistant of Raju. He checked the bike and told that clutch plates were needed to be replaced and told me to fetch the same from Katrain, 20 kilometers away on the road to Kullu, as clutch plates of yamaha were not available in Manali.
That got me worried as it would take lot of time. Bus service was not all that frequent on those days. As I was thinking all this, a young man appeared from nowhere and asked what was the problem. After listening, he told us that he also owns a Yamaha RX 100 and that he has one spare clutch plate at his home and asked for almost the double the price. I said no problem, go home and bring the plates.
By 11am, Rajesh, the assistant of Raju got my bike ready. Paid the bill, thanked the mechanic, thanked the clutch plate gentleman, loaded the bike and off we go to Rohtang. The Amritsar group had told us that they would wait for us at Keylong till 11am, if we didn’t reach by then, they would move ahead.
It was already 12pm afternoon and we were still in Manali. So we decided not to hurry and chase them, instead go steadily and slowly enjoying the beauty around. We thought whatever happens, happens for good.
We did not ride fast from then on and so did not face any problem whatsoever. Reached Rohtang Pass merrily, singing and enjoying every moment of the ride. The landscape after Rohtang changed dramatically. In stead of clouds and mist, we saw huge snow clad mountains and clear blue sky.
The ride till Koksar was all downhill. At rest house Koksar we came to know that our group had stayed there for the night and left early in the morning. Things in that part of the world were bit different than what we had imagined. The area and villages looked far more developed than what we had imagined.
There were dish antennas on many buildings, a puncture shop at Sisu as well. There were provision stores and good looking houses. We saw peas and potatoes farms everywhere. So fear of the unknown was waning away. We had imagined wilderness, wild animals, strange tribes and their strange way of living.
We reached Keylong well in time and decided to stay for the night in a tent at HPTDC Keylong. Stay in the tent and the overall atmosphere of the hotel was quite good. We saw many travellers from foreign countries staying in nearby tents.
Didn’t have very sound sleep though. I woke up many times during the night and kept walking in the lawns of the hotel.My two year old daughter’s voice ‘Papa mai bhee jana (I, too, want to go)” kept ringing in my ears.
I was missing her and her mom like any thing……………!!!