Wake Me Up When September Ends

Continued from Day 10610


Day 10611
Saturday, 8 September 2018

Day 7 of the trip. Nathu La, the Indo-China border pass.

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I am here! (Key: C=China; B=Bhutan; Ba=Bangladesh; N=Nepal)

Temperature in Gangtok vs. Nathula, even though it is only 55 km away. That’s how high we’ll be climbing. The drive up alone takes 4 hours, maybe longer with rain and clouds.

0831 h: Biggest day of the trip, begins.

0943 h: Tea break at the Acclimatisation Centre 1.

1043 h: Nathu La!

1230 h: Baba Harbhajan Singh shrine, a temple dedicated to an Indian soldier who died there. He is a legend for both the Indian and Chinese soldiers there. They have no religion there. A martyred soldier is their God. (Source: Wikipedia) They place their faith in his soul, to protect over them in the inhospitable high-altitude mountains.

1357 h: Lake Tsomgo. Yaks and crystal clear water.

1612 h: Back at the Hotel Doma Palace. What a day!

1829 h: Going out for a final stroll around the streets of Gangtok, to end a fantastic trip.

1948 h: Back at the Hotel Doma Palace, for dinner and Indian Idol.

They did not allow cameras and mobile phones at Nathula, and they did not allow us to interact with the Chinese soldiers. Tensions are slightly high after last year’s Doklam standoff. They were within handshake distance but we were forbidden to initiate conversation with them.

There had been a landslide along the way. The army had built temporary bridges (capacity 12 tonnes, 1 vehicle at a time) to get us all safely across. Scary!

I bought a souvenir of what appears to be a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 scaled brass model. It was a privilege to interact with the soldiers posted there, and to be handed the fighter jet model from one of them. In fact, the soldier who handed me souvenir wished me all the best when I told him I am an aerospace engineer. I shook his hand and said Jai Hind. He is doing his bit at the border, I will eventually find a way to do mine.

This trip was off-season, so we were lucky there were fewer tourists than usual in tourist destinations in India. That made the sights that much prettier without humans in the frame.


Day 10612
Sunday, 9 September 2018

Day 8 of the trip. Final day. 4 hours to Bagdogra by road, then 3 hour flight to Bangalore… Going home today!

0837 h: Checked out of Hotel Doma Palace.

1027 h: Tea break near Kalimpong. They have the Black Cat training facility up here. Sikkim is their headquarters. 4 of their trucks passed us when we were driving along the River Teesta. It is amazing how they keep the same distance between trucks on mountain roads, as in a parade. Discipline level: 9999

1244 h: Bagdogra Airport. Now, we wait until it is time to board.

Asia Cup is coming! There are billboards and banners up on the roads already. The English tour hasn’t even ended yet, haha. Also, Virat Kohli will be rested for the Asia Cup. India will play without their star player.

1934 h: Home! Only 4 days left. I’m not ready…

I started playing ‘wall cricket’ when I was around 5th standard, and continued it well after my 12th. We changed cities, houses and schools so often, I never had any friends in the neighbourhood to play with, so I invented this game where I played entire cricket matches in my room (essentially throwing the ball at the wall and hitting it on the rebound), role-playing as cricketers, trying to bat and bowl like them. I used to keep scores, maintain statistics, make excel sheets and charts and everything. It was a serious pastime of mine. I played for 1-2 hours everyday for nearly 8 years. ‘Book cricket’, the game the guys in class used to play with the textbook page numbers… It was way too boring for me. It’s a game of chance, like dice, with no skill whatsoever involved. What fun is that?

Konkani… It changes from region to region at the macro level (and family to family at a micro level), doesn’t it? That’s what fascinating about a language that has no single script. The Konkani I know is a factor of what my parents/family/relatives spoke and how much of it I picked up. I will, of course, add some of my own flavour to it when I pass it on to the next generation. It makes Konkani unique and beautiful.


Day 10613
Monday, 10 September 2018

Nothing, really. It was like a rest day. I was at home all day. My exam has been pushed to 20 September. That gives me an additional day. Must use it well.

Why do most Indian girl names end with a and the rest end with i?

India finished 8th at the Asian Games 2018 (15 Gold, 24 Silver and 30 Bronze), I hear it is their best Asian Games tally ever. That is nice to hear. In cricket, India lost the 4th test by 60 runs, and with that, the series. Such a pity.

Hong Kong qualified for this year’s Asia Cup. Ironically, UAE is hosting, and they failed to qualify. At the European division of the World T20 Qualifiers, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Jersey, Norway, and Guernsey will play the European Regional Finals, and the winner will qualify for the 2020 World T20 Qualifiers.


Day 10614
Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Only 2 days left at home! How quickly have the days gone by.

Google Maps tells me I have travelled 30,465 km in the past year. That is twice around Mercury. By the end of the week when I get to Germany, I will have travelled enough to go around the Earth once, since Google Maps started tracking me, that is. I started using Android around this time last year.

“Try the new Twitter” … which is just rearranged layout, actually. The feed is on the left now. Twitter doubled it’s character limit to 280 last year. I wasn’t aware of it. I kept thinking it was 140. I didn’t even notice the increase in character limit. I have posted more through the @L42onHiH account in 2018 than my own account, that is probably because Hogwarts Mystery came out.

2003 h: The 5th day of the 5th game is on. This is India’s final day of the English tour.

So far:
England (1st inning) 332 all out
India (1st inning) 292 all out
England (2nd inning) 423 for 8 declared
India (2nd inning) 290 for 5
India need 174 runs to win in 204 balls with 5 batsmen remaining

2131 h: India lost another 2 batsmen.

2307 h: India lost by 118 runs, and the test series 1-4.

We are fortunate we have no hurricanes here. Scary shit nature tantrums. In fact, the west coast does not get any cyclones either.


Day 10615
Wednesday, 12 September 2018

I leave tomorrow.

I like the garbage sorting system in Germany. The ground floor of our apartment building is an Asian restaurant, so the bio waste bin gets filled up really quick. And the owner does not use bags. What we do is we store our kitchen waste in a plastic bag, and then empty it into the bin once a week, and throw away the bag into plastic waste. Because they produced the most bio waste, the owner kind of takes care of the green bins. Our kitchen waste is too little in quantity in comparison to the restaurant bio waste.

I should start working on my LinkedIn profile. I haven’t touched it in years. I feel it may need a makeover.

The camera shots from the north east trip are really good. Cameras and phones weren’t allowed up at the Nathula border, so I took them after I got back to the car, which was parked like a mile away. Very grateful for the zoom feature in my camera. One of my favourite shots is the statue which is a tribute to the Gorkha regiment that fought in the 1962 India-China war, and Mt. Kanchenjunga in the backdrop. I have been experimenting with monochromatic b&w since Val pointed it out. It definitely seems to suit my style of photography.

Actually, I didn’t click many pictures on this trip because I was kind of annoyed that the iPad seemed to capture better pictures than I could manage on my camera, even though we were pointing at the same landscape. Until we got to Nathula, that is. Ain’t no phone/tablet got zoom like my Nikon.

For now, I am content with experimenting with landscapes and portraits. The only wildlife I tried was at the zoo earlier this year. I didn’t require a telescopic lens for that one. I seem to struggle with high magnification. There was this pretty bird in the mountains I kept trying to capture but it wasn’t sitting still, until I lost it. So frustrating. I got lucky with the full moon session that one time but that is it. I still have a lot to learn before I invest in better equipment. Novi is a novice.


Continue to Day 10616.

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