A night to remember

Firstly, here’s some background information. Floods hit Leh and surrounding regions in the year 2010 washing out many people’s lives and properties. A lot of my friends, who work at Splash Ladakh, witnessed it first hand and ran for their lives. And some like Govind Adhikari, Santosh Karki and Nabin Sunuwar have also seen their houses being demolished by the Nepal Earthquake.

I remember calling Govind during that time and he was like “Arre hill raha hai yaaar!!”. Funny guy.

Now coming to the night of 21st July, we were all at our campsite close to the river near the village of Nimmoo. Rains are quite unexpected in Ladakh during that time. But that night,  black clouds covered the entire star lit sky of Ladakh and it poured cats and dogs. It’s not even funny how unpredictable the weather is in the mountains some times. On one of our drives, we had experienced rainfall, snowfall, extreme heat and cold within a span of about 2 hours.

Heavy rainfall is considered to be dangerous in these regions because it can cause landslides, cause water to collect and gush down all at once. A phenomena well known to mankind. Floods.

Our camp was close to many tiny streams which would swell up in case of a flood. And apparently in 2010, just 1 hour of similar rains had caused the disaster. It was a tense situation and some had packed their bags, wore shoes and were ready to run.

It was exciting to see people’s different reactions at this moment. Some didn’t care and said “Jab marna hai toh marna hai. Kuch nahi kar sakte ho” and went back to sleep in their tents. Some were playing cards, still gambling for money like it was really important that time. And some, including myself, were ready to run for their lives.  Why not be prepared? The most funny part was that all the alcohol bottles were running empty. I guess everyone wanted to be high on their last night! I was one of them.

All of us finally decided to sit in our vehicle ready to run. The entire village of Nimmoo was out on the streets. There were buses filled with children, mothers, fathers and grand parents. All ready to escape. It was a unique experience in my life. The rain subsided and we went back to our tents to sleep.

About an hour later, I heard screams saying “Baad!Baad!Bhago”. And it was pouring very heavily. This time everyone was seriously running. I just left everything I owned, except my sleeping bag(In case I was stranded and wanted to sleep 🙂 ) and ran to the car. We drove to a spot which is considered to be relatively safe. A lot of cars were parked there. It was supposed to be a tense moment but everyone was laughing a lot and having a really good time. I remembered my family a lot and tried contacting them. I also realized I had no regrets in life because I had always done what ever I wanted.

Most people live thinking they have a lot of time, planning their pensions, retired life etc. It takes disasters, cancer and things like that to remind us that life is limited. And we suddenly wake up then and cry about that fact that we’re going to die. But honestly who doesn’t have cancer? And which one of us is immortal? None! Why can’t we live everyday like it’s our last?

All this made me realize that I’m on the right path. I was exactly where I wanted to be. I had asked for adventure and I got it. I asked for a life in nature, by the river, I had it. I’d rather die doing what I love than be secure and unhappy. Because we’re all going to die anyway!

My dreams are now reinforced, my path is clear and I’m definitely more fearless.  I am going to kayak in white water as long as I physically can. Because nothing else has taught me more about nature and nothing else constantly reminds me that life is limited. This makes me ‘live’ a lot, lot more.

Get out there and do something that makes you feel alive. Today!

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