Bike Trip to Nubra Valley 

I have been lucky to get a chance to travel to Leh many times and being an explorer I have always been visiting new places. While I visited Manali earlier, I used to be curious to know how would things look after crossing Rohtang and this curiosity led to visiting Leh by crossing Rohtang. I got into similar state when I visited Leh and used to think how would things look after crossing Khardung La and the result of this was Nubra Valley.

I spent lot of time online trying to see things virtually and found two major things which helped me make my mind to visit Nubra. The first being below time-lapse of Diskit Monastery and second being the last Indian village named Turtuk which we took back from Pakistan in 1971. Per wikipedia It is the last major village where tourist activity is allowed before the Line of Control (LOC). This already sounds thrilling and thus the plan was made. The only challenge remaining was to convince by fellow hiking pals to add this to our schedule which they always agree to. 😛

Due to overwhelming tourism, it is no more difficult to find anything in Leh now-a-days and people are very supportive. Bike rentals are available everywhere however there are few Bike rental places which are well known. Also it is important to make a note that every bike rental place will quote a standard price per day but you can surely negotiate and bargain for better. Continue reading


Why backpacking is life changing!

Right from the moment we are born, we go through various phases in our life. Our parents start enriching our brain with basic things like brushing the teeth, using the toilet properly, greeting other when you meet. These things become part of our daily life, initially it may sound exciting to do these things but our mind is a beast and it needs to be fed with new things every now and then else it becomes useless. when you wake up at night to take a pee, even though you are half asleep still you already know which direction to walk to reach the toilet and back to bed. That is something which your brain can do without troubling itself. You may find this example as very basic.

Lets take a bigger example. When you start going to school in first grade, you already know that if you pass, you will be promoted to second grade and if you fail you will remain where you are. What this means precisely is your mind does not want to go through the same teaching for another year and eventually forces you to move on to the next level of new things which you may learn as you reach next grade and this cycle continues. Not to neglect that you are learning new things and becoming smart but still this whole exercise is again a monotonous cycle which you go through and you already know what will happen if pass or fail. If you pass you will be gifted with a bicycle and if you fail you will be cursed and made to feel miserable. Continue reading

How I Failed to reach Stok Kangri Summit!

As you go on reading this post, you will realize that there is nothing different which I am writing. Basic thumb rule of mountaineering is, “STICK TO THE BASICS” unless you are a gifted personality.

Below is my journey of not making till the Stok Kangri Summit and trust me it has boosted my confidence even more.

The dream to summit Stok Kangri (6153m) was seeded after my last years trek to SarPass. When I think about why I chose Stok Kangri, it was somewhere mentioned as “India’s Highest non technical trekkable Destination”. That was enough to boost the morale to dream big about reaching new heights.

Most of my earlier treks have been in Himachal region and I was completely unaware of Leh and Laddakh. Indeed its a beauty which is near to heaven and no one can take away the pride that its part of my country. Scenic panorama and barren mountains laden with snow.

Generally this trek is around 5-7 days of an expedition. In case if you are flying in to Leh then it is mandatory that you acclimatize with the terrain for two days so that your mind and body gets used to cold, thin air and frequent headaches. In case if you had a frostbite anytime in the past which you may have forgotten, this is the place where it will remind you of that. If you are reaching Leh by road then one day of acclimatization is enough since you have gradually gained the height however the above mentioned symptoms still remain and may affect you slowly.
**Note: The above is applicable only for individuals with decent level of fitness and I assume when you think about Stok Kangri, you already know it is for tough guns!
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Aspiring Butterflies in New World

This incident happened in Chennai,India when I went to appear for my US Business VISA interview. I was in a queue waiting for my turn and suddenly a lady with a cute kid wearing pink colored butterfly printed frock were allowed to stand in front of me. I think they have some kind of norm to give priority to aged people and parents with small kids.

As the queue cleared the Lady with Butterfly (I rather call her butterfly as she was really cute) went and stood infront of the bulletproof glass behind which the person from embassy started analyzing her papers. Since I was standing right behind the duo, the conversation between them was fairly audible.

The VISA application was for the butterfly who I assume would be around 5 years old wherein her own Mother wanted the kid to go to US and stay with her brother in-law. When she was interrogated on why they want to send the kid at this tender age to foreign country, her answer was that she will do her pre-school studies in US and will gain RESPECT(while she picked the kid in her arms). The guy at the other end of the window said that I understand if this was for some University however the value of Pre-School and Secondary School education in US is just same as India and that his own kids are studying in Chennai. For this the lady was still adamant on getting ahead with that.

The man excused himself and went to discuss this matter with his colleagues and came back asking more information about the brother in-law with whom she may stay. The Lady replied that he is a Surgeon. The man specified that since your daughter is not a US citizen which means she wont get into the govt schools in US and that she will have to join Private schools for which the fees are around 30,000 USD annually. The Lady again emphasized that his brother in-law being a Surgeon can take care of that.

The man again excused himself and went for second round of discussion with his colleagues on this matter and came back not convinced. The man interrogated asking what her husband did for living and she explained that they have a Travel Business. Then he asked her about what she did and the lady said she was a TEACHER in a school. The man suddenly stopped making notes in his computer and looked in her eyes and said, So being a Teacher yourself you want your kid at this tender age go to US and stay away from parents with your brother in-law for pre-school and that she will earn RESPECT.

The lady had genuinely no answer to this question but for counter answering replied that butterfly will come back in vacation time twice a year to stay with her Mom and Dad and that my brother in-laws are incapable of having a baby so she will give them company.

The man was aghast and asked the lady to take a seat in the waiting area as this issue required more time to discuss further and the 45 minutes which they spent discussing was not enough. (usually VISA interviews don’t last more than 5 minutes)

This incident left me in a dilemma that what do we want our kids to aspire for. Every parent feels his son/daughter should always receive best things in life but shouldn’t we also let them live the harsh reality which makes them even stronger in odd conditions of their entire life. The human brain will only work in odd way when we push it do so. If all the conditions and environment is made favorable then how will these small creatures realize their potential.

– Rax

What we do is what we Are

I have a normal life of working in a good reputed IT company. My Manager is supportive towards whatever I ask for. Also my family always stands by me for anything I do or rather as I stay away from my family in different city, they are unaware of my adventurous enthusiasm. I try to keep it low as-well.

As we all know that doing same things everyday kills the intelligence cells in our brain and makes us old and dead. I have seen many people who have no problem with all this and my words might sound complete crap but in the complete lifespan of spending around 40% of our whole life working a 9 to 5 job in our very days of being young and dynamic is actually making us paralyzed and as one of the survey says, in the coming year 2020 the most common diseases among people in the world would be stress and depression.

There are many ways this can be tackled and some of them are so simple that you can actually think it was THAT simple! I will explain few which I feel can help.
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A Feeling of Meaninglessness

I don’t know what kind of feeling it is but it really feels like a life without anything. A complete robotism. Wake-up, go to office, come back home, eat, sleep and repeat!! Do household chores on weekend, watch movies and live in a fear of upcoming Monday with same repetitive stuff.

What am I doing with my life, or is this what called as life. Am I missing something which can fix things for me. How do I judge what I am doing is right or wrong. Is giving complete full stop the solution for this never ending misery. Can this be overcome…ever……

Should you run away from your responsibilities by confessing an absolute “NO” or just carry on the same way as things are with people around you never happy or satisfied with you but somehow managing. Feels like living a life of someone else or may be I am exaggerating too much on this as things are just fine.

Completely discouraged with no opportunity to laugh out loud for even thirty seconds. No one to talk and share you thoughts but this freaking useless blog. Is it similar to being psyched! Is it because of being over cautious or trying to push real hard but mind is giving up and cannot take this so called stress and waiting to give up.

What are the things I can do to get that calmness. Let me put everything I have tried till now, reading books, going to gym, swimming, watching movies like shawshank redemption, yoga,a walk, eating out, sleeping, studying upcoming technology, whatsapp, fb, listening music, news…. what else??? I don’t think I missed anything, did I?

Searching answers for all this and trying to motivate for better tomorrow is like reaching everest summit but need to do something rather than nothing…

One day for sure I will revisit this post and have better explanation and answers as well.

– Rax

Mountaineering Expedition to SarPass, a journey of Lifetime – Part I

It all started in late June 2013 while coming back from the Mountain Biking Expedition to Jalori Pass when Prashant,Shiv and myself were discussing about going for some tough treks organized by YHAI and we had few option like Sarkundi,SarPass and Chandrakhani, we finalized on SarPass due to snow factor. Soon after reaching home a WhatsApp group was created as “MB-21 Jalori Pass” which later I changed to “SarPass-2014” to get the ball rolling and create interest in people.

The discussion started on and chunk of us agreed to be a part of it. As the booking period started, the realistic figure came down to five of us namely Ananth,Ankit,Ranjith,Vishal and Me. 😦
We decided to carefully choose the right dates and plan the expedition which was going to be of 11 days so that we can utilize 2 working weeks. We chose the batch which started from Monday the 5th May 2014 and would end on 11th May. Also the other benefit was that it was only 29 People Batch hence less clutter more fun. We had few days buffer hence we further planned for Bungee Jumping and river rafting @ Rishikesh, Uttarakhand.
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