Friday, August 18, 2006

Don't get up, I'm just tagging along...

One cannot resume blogging after a long break without finding out that someone has tagged him. Just the way you can't leave your bike out in the parking lot for about a month and go off to Haridwar, and expect to find the battery still nestling in its place when you return. It's a law of nature.

So, before I go further, and before more accusations of "you still owe me a tag!" are hurled at me, I present to you my latest tag. Not unlike one of those "complete the following sentences with phrases of your own" series of exercises we did back in our language classes. Yes, the ones we looked forward to as much as we look forward to a date with the dentist with root canal work on the menu.

Like the dentist says, let's make this a quick and painless job.

Here are my responses.

I am thinking about – tags and how they spread from blogger to blogger like a virus.
I said – I'm thinking about tags and how they spread from blogger to blogger like a virus.
I want to – know who thinks of these tags, really. And I also want to meet him/her. If it's a him, I'd like to meet him over some duelling pistols, and if it's a her... how about a coffee? I know this really nice place...
I wish – it would turn out to be a her.
I miss - very frequently, so just in case it's a him, I'll need a bit of practice.
I hear – duelling pistols don't come very cheap, these days.
I wonder – how much of my hard-earned money will go into them pistols. Coffee would be much cheaper, wouldn't it? Please let it be a her.
I regret – not putting in enough practice - both in duelling and in asking girls out for coffee.
I am – bloody lazy that way.
I dance – pretty bad, which I think is also linked to my 'bad-at-asking-girls-out-for-coffee' trait...
I sing – pretty bad, too. Strike three.
I cry – in your dreams, pal. Hah. Me macho, see? Even if me underweight. (Hang on while I scratch myself and spit out the side of my mouth).
I am not always - macho... I'm not so used to duelling pistols, see?
I make with my hands - pretty good coffee, though. Filter coffee. The problem is the availability of a decent filter.
I write – when I'm not working, riding my bike, taking photographs, watching movies, duelling, or summoning up courage to ask girls out for a coffee.
I confuse – love and war, sometimes... who was I supposed to be duelling?
I need – some coffee. All this talk of coffee this late in the night, what did you expect?
I should try – and see if the kitchen in this hotel is still open.
I finish – with a benevolent smile directed at fellow bloggers, and say the four magic words - "the tag stops here".

There, me man. I hope you're satisfied. It wasn't quick, it wasn't painless, but that's how nice a guy I am.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Who cares how the crow flies?

Okkkkay, so that's not an original line - It was part of a print ad for the Yamaha R1 that I once came across (the print ad, not the Yamaha R1, though I wouldn't mind coming across that, either), and the accompanying photograph showed a nice, winding mountain road with hairpin bends and stuff that bikers dream of. And that's how you feel when you go beyond the Rohtang pass, and into the barren, sparsely-populated, winding road that loops and stretches for over 400 kms over mountains and plains, leading to Leh.

Aaanyways, all you people who've been under the impression that I've been bumming it out in Leh all this while, nopes, so you can stop turning green. We left sometime around mid-june, and returned early in the first week of July. Since then it's just been backlog, backlog, and backlog, which, when combined with general laziness, results in no new posts on the blog. So, those of you who do visit this blog after all this time, really sorry, folks, and thanks for returning.

Now, I'm not much for writing travelogues, but I do have a few stories to tell, and hopefully I will get off my lazy behind and put up some of them here. In the meantime, I thought I'd dust off the cobwebs from this page, and give you people a taste of the place.

But first, a shot of my trusty steed, which has been my sole companion for the past five years, including this bone-jarring ride:

Yep, that is masking tape on the tank. Apart from that, and apart from the chain guard falling off, and the engine stalling right in the middle of an ice-cold puddle on the return trip, it was fine. Really.

Now, some of the general scenery there, which was, to put it mildly, breathtaking. For two reasons:
(a) There was too much to handle - deep blue skies, stark, rugged mountains, a river/gorge/desert suddenly springing up around the bend... a man can only take so much, y'know.
(b) We hit altitudes of upto 18,000 feet, and the oxygen content gets a little low.

I took this snap at Tikse Gompha. Gompha, I believe, stands for Monastery. The first time I went there, I almost had a whaddyoucallit sort of encounter. Bachha and I were climbing the stairs, cursing the thin air under whatever breath we had left, when an old lama, coming from the other direction looked at me and exclaimed, "You! I see you before!"

I was amazed. I'm not very good with faces, but I believe I would remember my first encounter with a lama. This guy is going to tell me I was a fellow-lama in my previous life, I thought. No wonder I've always wanted to stay in a monastery. That explains my shaolin temple fixation, too! Now it all makes sense. And the-

"I see you at Yak-Tail hotel this afternoon!"

And my semi-spiritual experience came to a grinding halt.

The monk in the snap is not the old monk (oh, ha, ha, you alcoholics), but another monk, another day, when I went back to Tikse.

Right-ho. Now that I've broken the block, I shall be back more frequently, with more photos. I go sleep now, yes please.