Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Nature Calls at 14000 Feet

This little misadventure I had last week in Arunachal inspired me to write about all those misadventures that occur on trips that usually get left out of the photographs. So I guess I'll start with the most recent one.
I was really looking forward to this trip to Arunachal, I kinda have a thing for going to remote inaccessible places. That of course, comes with its own set of problems. The availability of loos is quite a big problem and these are times I feel really glad to be a guy! Anyway, back to my trip.
Our final destination was this place called Tawang in the far remote North-East. It started off as a perfectly bright day and everyone was in high spirits. Everyone wanted to frolic(if I may use that word) in snow and have a great time along the way. It sure looked promising as we began to approach Sela Pass, which is the gateway to Tawang at an altitude of 13700 feet. So far so good. The snow starts appearing, the car's now driving through the snow, Siddharth Krishnamoorthy is going wild clicking photographs, much to the irritation of the already nervous driver.
And then...
When we reached Sela Pass we were told that we'd have to wait for about 4 hours till the army bulldozer cleared the road from the other side of the pass. This is where you begin to look for suitable options to answer man's most basic needs (Food, loo et al) and on finding neither of these you begin to wish you'd eaten more and drank less!
2 hours into the wait, a blizzard begins. This is where a family from Delhi starts feeling like its not on its home turf. Winds at more than 100 km/h gusting away with huge amounts of snow start blowing past the car. All the snow-related activity seizes and everyone seeks refuge inside the car.
Theory : Boredom accelerates some of the body's processes
Reason: Should your body need attention you can't give in the current situation, you really have nothing much to do to divert your attention from the problem at hand.
So this is how the story of Nature Calls begins...actually it begins with 2 glasses of water and a cup of coffee at 8000 feet.
In that monstrous blizzard(which for some very weird reason I called 'Atlantic', I must have meant Titanic), the urge to go grows. Finally not being able to divert my attention anymore I decided to take the risk. I clad myself as well as I could and ventured out to look for salvation(yes thats the word you use when you've been holding yourself back for such a long time!).
First stop: Little tea shack. Distance: 100 feet in principle, 500 feet in practice. Condition on Arrival: White from head to toe, only partially because of the snow.

This guy told me there's a shack somewhere by the pass gate thats used as a loo. He warned me not to try relieving myself on the hillside lest I can't differentiate ground from no ground (its all white anyway!) and never get a chance to relieve myself again for the rest of my life. The next 10 minutes, I spent running up and down the icy slope, with the wind, against the wind and cross-wind looking for that tiny little shack!
And lo(o) and behold! There it was! Now came the real challenge...about 10 feet of knee deep snow stood between me and (as I have already stated...)salvation. Wading through the snow I finally reached the door...Life's good??? Not really. What did I find inside? Another pile of 3 feet deep snow! How does it feel at subzero temperatures? Not very different a
ctually, there's of course that added luxury that the snow will melt and flush it all down automatically!And no toilet seats to keep down, or whatever it is that one does with toilet seats!
Refer to the pic to realise exactly what I'm talking about!(yes I do carry a camera pretty much everywhere!