India never suspected that China would ever launch an attack, but it did. India was attacked on October 20, 1962, in what came to be known as the Sino-India war of 1962. Trade between Tibet and India’s Himalayan regions was halted, with bitter consequences for those in the Indian Himalaya who depended on it. Then in 1974, the Line was redrawn and it had far-reaching consequences for the entire nation.
It actually ignited the fire of Independent India again, the spirit of nationalism amongst its citizens. I could see those protests, strikes, and armed forces trying to find peace but have mourned the fate of divided lands along the ‘border’ lines. Not only I could feel the trauma of ravaged farmlands, charred trees, smoky environment, but wanted to help those innocent humans who weren’t even aware of the situation. Even after trying hard, I couldn’t move, help or even talk but felt dizzy, my eyes feeling heavy and I could feel was falling deep…deeper…
And with that I opened my eyes, my head sweating and fear glittering in my eyes. I always have this strange nightmare disturbing me every night! Taking a deep breath, I looked around the snow-capped mountains kissing the bright blue skies on three sides, murmuring of my friend Baspa and the sun rising in the backdrop.
Telling Baspa about my nightmares, she always says it might be because I stay at the Old Hindustan-Tibet road located 70 Km from the actual border. Growing in Chitkul, the last inhabited village near the Indo-China border, my heartbeats always fastens when I see any foreigner coming towards me. The Indian road ends here…! Such a scary shit! However, the Indo – Tibet border check post is just a few kilometers apart, I serve not only Indian but locales from Tibet to enjoy a cup of coffee, Maggie and a bonus of an amazing serene view.
If not serene, then traveling through the zigzag roads surrounded by tall deodar trees, the entire journey will tire you with the breathtaking views. Not only the craggy narrow roads, landslides on the way and listening to my companion Baspa throughout but traveling through one of the world’s most deadly roads will give you a whiff of an idea of the adventure existing in this fabled valley.
Apart from the scenery created here, I always think that borders have their own ambiance, amplifying the patro-meters of every Indian like me. Constant nightmares of wars do haunt me of the consequences of nationalism which took place 60 years ago. Not only has that but also would make my heart sink when I saw my visitors wearing a crown of two-minute patriotism while visiting me today! I saw them widening their eyes, shouting loudly over arguments and turning over to the defensive mode for the country. But when it comes to their duties…..they were the ones who break the red light, litter on the streets or smoke in public.
What do you think patriotism is all about? Stiffening the pose for National anthem, respecting flag more than your life, arguing about the politicians, the law, the system, the taxes, the roads, the society, the causes, and the remedies?
Or maybe….knowing the history and geography of your country? Accusing other religions, nations, and citizens of the attacks? Wearing blue T-shirts in an Indo-Pak match? Debating over corruption and religion just before elections? Dividing the country as supporters of BJP and Congress? You call it patriotism? I call it seasonal patriotism!
Your driver, your hotel manager, your vegetable vendor, your ticket collector…are they not patriotic? No? Really? Why? Because they perform their duties without failing? They contribute to lifting the country up with their actions and devotion?
I tried explaining them but I think apart from the world famous potatoes and walnuts, I think my village also offers this one-time seasonal patriotism to all the visitors!
Going back to sleep after such a rough day…still want to save those innocent souls, trying harder to open my eyes, I saw a similar structure with similar furniture engraved ‘ Hindustan ka akhiri Dhaba’ serving the visitors in the same smoky air and sheltering them into its reach! When I tried calling him from behind….he turned and I was transfixed and flabbergasted by what I saw…
It was me…. capturing the unified world where your religion, caste, category or nationality may not bring a smile on anyone’s face, but your good deeds do!
From that day my nightmares ended forever! From that day I celebrate every day as Independence Day because I accept criticism and try to rectify. Unlike my friends, I serve all the countrymen with respect irrespective of their religion or caste.
I am proud to be an INDIAN. Are you?
If you want to experience the same, you can visit me:
Delhi » Chandigarh » Shimla (2200 mt) » Narkanda (2708 mt) » Rampur(1350mt) » Karcham (1813 mt) » Sangla(2696 mt) » Rakcham(3048 mt) » Chitkul (3450 mt)
Nearest Airport to Chitkul is Shimla (247 km). Bhuntar Airport near Manali is approximately 275 km from Chitkul.
Shimla is the nearest Railway station to Chitkul and then you need to travel by road from Shimla to Chitkul.
The road leading to Chitkul is as adventurous as it gets. It runs along the famous Hindustan – Tibet Highway or NH – 05 (earlier called NH-22).