July 15, 2016: The roads are another story. At best they are unpredictable and at their worst they can be treacherous, shifting, sliding and changing with every rain, landslide or strong gust of wind. Diggers, bulldozers, and road rollers are a common sight all along the routes. Workers on these roads are risking life every day since shooting rocks and landslides are very common.
For that matter, travelling on these roads is not for the faint hearted. Dust and silt in your eyes, hair and clothes is a given here. The Sutlej in these parts is not the hospitable avatar of a river where you can get close for a wash or drink of the image of a clear mountain water. The water is either grey or brownish-gold as it rages through. A tentative dip or wash will leave you with more soil and silt on your person than there was before the wash.
But that’s part of the allure of this journey. I am travelling through some of the most raw and remote lands in India and the beauty and life that I am seeing, touching and living is in as raw and natural as I can imagine. This is beauty as I understand it: dangerous, exciting, requires tremendous courage and hard work and is fulfilling and leaves a lifelong mark on your soul.