This post is in continuation with Day 9 of the travelogue of one of my Ladakh rides. We reach Manali from Pang on Day 9; and travelled from Manali to Delhi on Day 10. Please click at the link below to read previous parts of this travelogue.
Journey So Far: Day 9 – Pang to Manali
This was going to be a long and tiring day. Last day of the trip is anyways the most boring one when you are returning home; and if home is 550 kms away on a motorcycle, it would tire you even before you started. Same thing happened with us. We were already feeling sleepy and bored the moment we left Manali but had to take this journey nonetheless.
A little before Sundernagar, I got this weird idea to take a diversion towards Tattapani and reach Shimla today. From Shimla we could go home tomorrow, thus extending the trip by one day. Others were not too excited about the idea and did not want to prolong the painful journey home by another day. For a while I decided to let them go and continue to Shimla alone but by the time we hit Sundernagar, I too just wanted to go home.
Near Chandigarh, we got separated. I took the bypass through Berut while the other three continue to ride through Chandigarh. We all met again near Karnal and then an incident happened which has its effect on my mind till date.
I was riding ahead with Rohit while Sunny and Shoaib were following a little behind. All of a sudden, I noticed that the vehicles were taking a sharp turn as if trying to avoid something on the road. It was midnight and was dark all around on NH1 except for the headlights of the vehicles. The truck in front of us did the same and I saw what looked like a piece of cloth lying horizontal in middle of the road from distance. As we got close, I realized that it was a guy who was lying there in middle of the road. When we crossed him, I saw pieces of glass scattered around him but no blood. Probably he was hit by a car and the driver didn’t bother to stop. We applied brakes immediately and stopped a few meters ahead.
“Was that a guy lying on the road?” I asked Rohit to confirm, as If I could not believe my eyes that a man was lying in middle of the road, unattended like a dog.
“Yes” Said Rohit.
Sunny and Shoaib arrived a minute later and they too had the same question; not able to believe what they just saw. We parked our motorcycles, got off and were about to head back but it was too late. All we saw the moment we turned around was a speeding truck ran over the guy. Driver of the truck did apply the brakes and stopped but It was already too late. His front wheels had already crushed the guy.
We knew that what lies on the road isn’t something that either of us would want to go and see. A police jeep arrived minutes later, cars stopped; and people started to gather as we looked from a distance. After a while, we got on our motorcycles again and continued towards Delhi. One thing that I knew for sure however was that there was no blood on the road when we crossed on that guy; so there was a very high chance that he was still alive, until the truck ran him over.
By 2 AM, we were all comfortably home but I could not take my mind off what I saw and kept thinking who actually killed the guy. He probably was some villager who got drunk and was trying to cross the road late at night and got hit by a car. I wondered who really killed him. Was it the alcohol? or his carelessness? Was it the car who hit him and didn’t stop? Or was it the trucker who ran over him? Was it all those people who saw a guy lying in middle of the road but just avoided him like a dog, rather than stopping to check?
Or was it us? We did stop but wasted those precious seconds discussing what we saw. If we had acted in nick of time, we could have saved him from a horrible death. Till date I wonder, who really killed that guy?
Manali to Delhi
And thus ended an eventful trip. I have been to Ladakh numerous time, both before and after this trip but this one by far was the most exciting and eventful one. 18 High altitude passes, 11 High altitude lakes, several breakdowns, witnessed a bandh and chakka Jam, got almost manhandled by a mod, threatened by cops, chased and almost attacked by dogs, got lost, rode in pitch black, in middle of the night in the middle of nowhere; could not find accommodation and had to sleep on the floor; all this back then sounded like much trouble but now when I think about it, it was journey of a lifetime.
Planning a trip to Ladakh? Need help with any of your questions? Please feel free to ask in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum; and I will be glad to answer.