Chadar Trek- what makes it difficult?

  1. Walking with small steps when each feet is lifted just least from gound and landing as flat as possible.
  2. Extremely low temperatures with limited Sunlight
  3. Windy weather especially in evenings and night
  4. Balancing on hard uneven and crystal ice patches
  5. Crossing over the broken stretches of Chadar by wading through water
  6. Walking over the steep hills with loose rocks when Chadar is broken
  7. Tuning the body cycle to the trek schedule

Trek begins by 8 am everyday and hence waking hour is between 5:30 am to 6 am. At this hour the fingers and foot frozen. No amount of heating works except to start walking on Chadar ASAP.

The trek is about walking on river bed with steep mountain range on both banks of the Zanskar river. So mostly no sunlight on Chadar.

Face mask covering the nose and sunglasses do not go together during the trek due to fog forming on glasses. Not a single step can be taken without looking ahead where the foot is going to land. If this discipline is not followed the chances of slipping are very high.

The walking style to be adopted involves keeping hip muscles stiff and knees straight. Neck should be facing the ground at 60 degree angle to the whole body. Due to this walking posture, the strain on hips, shoulders and neck is severe. And this can increase manifold if carrying a heavy trekking bag. It’s advisable not carry any bag on shoulders that weighs more than 5 kgs.

Chadar gets damaged if using spike shoes to walk. The porters do not appreciate this and do not mind giving a stare as well. We should use normal walking shoes and gum boots as back-up option when having to wade through broken sections of Chadar.

Some other things to take care of are:

a. Carry extra pair of socks and gloves that are to be used while sleeping only.

b. Stretching of body parts at every resting point will help relax better

c. One of the key things to prepare for is getting up early that is 5 am. Body cycle should be well tuned to this and hence will need to be adopted 3-4 months ahead of the trek.

It’s a trek that will soon be history.

Relevance of a horoscope in life

It’s true for most Indians to have their horoscopes prepared. I am no exception to this. The astrologers prepare a basic horoscope called ‘tewa’ (hindi word for a shorter version of the horoscope focused on planetary positions at the time of birth). But I am not sure if ‘tewa’ as interpreted in the parantheses above is correct.

When kid is a teen, a more detailed version is prepared hoping to address several dilemmas likes of career to choose, probable marriage year etc. This, in my opinion served as a very important guiding resource for parents who were both, ambitious and anxious at same time.

It’s pretty interesting to read the narrative – the least technical part – akin to an essay by an astrologer or a software program (in most cases) uttering it’s own interpretations about your life. I read mine whenever I reach a store box in my closet. The pic below outlines what goes into a box with the horoscope. And accidentally though, it’s pretty logical.

Year 2017 in my life

I have been documenting every day of my life for fourth straight year. Some feelings and thoughts evolve while some stay unchanged and unmoved for years.

I was happy relocating to Chandigarh after staying in Delhi for nine years. We did not take long to settle down and get back to our routines.

I gained stamina with short and intense workouts but still gained 4 kgs.

Mentally, I was restless and unsure. The extract below outlines my thoughts:

The plan for third consecutive trip to Ladakh was well on track. Inspired by the “Data Visualization” book that I was reading, I tried to draw the 15-day bike trip.

Rafting on Zanskar river was the first one of my life. We could get the video shot by the guide as well. However, we could not cover some new places as planned. We were tired and rested for 4 days in Leh.

We had agreed to let-go the invitation for Canada Immigration. My parents had decided to sell the house that I owned in my hometown. I debt-free by August-end after paying-off the outstanding on the home loan from sale receipts.

I lost my grandmother in August. She was 100 plus and left us peacefully.

Back to my longing for activity and adventure, within a month of returning from Ladakh trip, I decided to go for Chadar trek. I am now scheduled to leave for the trek on Jan 13, 2018.

I felt irritated by the amount of time spent on my handphone. I was thinking about it since Jan-17. Finally, I succeeded in Oct. 2017 and deleted my Whatsapp account and uninstalled Facebook from handphone.

I was in bed by 9:00 pm on most days through out the year given short transit time to office and home. My waking times did not change though.

I read “In Praise of Slowness” and attempted adopting the message quite religiously. After a long time, I was taking things easily and was at peace.

I did not click much during the year. Most were clicked using the iphone 5S.

We finally decide to have a pet. On Nov 12, 2017 after returning from Jassica’s annual function, we bought a 4 week old Beagle puppy. We are now spending lot of time with him.

My elder daughter is back from boarding school after completing her academic year. She now rejoins the school in Feb 2018 to complete 10th year at school.

Monica and kids are now at home enjoying winter break. An eventful year is about to end.

Call for action: acts of dishonesty

My friend was critiqued for failing to cover for probable loss due to acts of dishonesty by the Company’s customers. The scheme was a big success till few learnt to exploit it. The loss was a few crores by the time the flaw in the sales promo scheme could be capped.

Most e-commerce players- atleast in India for sure- lose money failing to have a right approach to deal with such acts that, at best, are acts of dishonesty. For instance, the biker assigned the task of delivering the product to customer does not return the cash collected from customer.

When asked to return, he negotiates for having it adjusted in tranches from his earnings as a delivery person. He probably does not consider this as a fraud but a small favor from a large company to attend to his urgent needs of cash.

In such situations, legal help does not come quickly and there is little hope of having a quick recovery of the lost cash. Instead, the delivery person treats this as a good ‘job security’ deal.

There are many such acts of dishonesty we come across in our daily lives and indulge personally, as well. We are so adept at rationalizing our acts of dishonesty that we do not have a ‘guilt feeling’.

“Cheating is lot easier when it’s a step removed from money”, as per Dan Ariely in Predictably Irrational.

For sure a call for action

The anxious me!

I will be completing 1 year in Chandigarh on Dec 18, 2017. I don’t know where do I want to go from here.

My ageing side may asks me to stay and stop. But the anxious side may reason, don’t trust humans to be able to rest except when death wants me to.

So I may move on soon till I am dead. Where now?

An Insight

I was trying to be rational while talking to my mind for so many years.

I presented it with all possible and impossible scenarios on a pending decision. I expected a firm decision in return. But instead it made me indecisive.

Then I learned- anounce a decision to your mind and it comes with all possible ways to action on it.

Indecisivness is gone for sure. Impulsiveness and irrationality may creep in but its a small cost for a great reward.

Let me try if I am bold enough to announce….

Buddy- we have a Beagle dog

I grew up with pets. I recall playing with Tommy- our pet dog when I was 14.

Today, after 26 years I finally committed to owning a dog again. My daughters and spouse demanded to have one for a few years but I did not heed to their demands. I reasoned that we may not be able to take good care of our pet given a nuclear family, frequent outstation trips and lacklustre approach to household work.

But on Nov 6 2017, I told my daughter about the decision. My wife reacted in disbelief, “please don’t tease us. You are never going to have a pet for us.”But I was serious and we had a 25-day old Beagle puppy join us.

My elder daughter will be home soon for her annual break from boarding school. We are sure she is also going to enjoy her stay with Buddy- the name for new family member.

As typed by my daughter:

“We have a dog he is very cute. He Love us we also love him. He plays with me we love him. Thank you and have a nice day.”