Now, to begin with, the cover pages will surely pump some adrenaline beneath your neurons while you ponder about the thrill of riding your bike through the mighty Himalayas. Alas! This pomp, with which I began Ashwin’s first-ever work (being high on energy), began to gradually fade away bit-by-bit as does the energy level when one sets to conquer such humongous mountains. To be frank enough, the creativity side of ‘Can You Take Me Higher?’ required much more experimentation, but then again … Dude, It’s a travelogue. Nevertheless, cannot just go on analysing it so technically ignoring the wonderful sceneries, peaks and beauty, after all, it’s about The Paradise on Earth.
A trip of 14 days, beginning from Jammu and concluding at Manali may sound like one good memorable trip of your lifetime in the first instance only, but sooner or later when you get to realise the situations which lie ahead, am pretty sure that you ought to give this thing a third thought skipping even the second thought for sure. Munching just an energy bar for the whole day while riding through the tough terrains (these are one of the toughest tracks on earth) and finally sleeping in some hut or tent with no water to drink or to wash-with is not a bloody joke. One thing that we all do, whenever we try to think of an Himalayan Odyssey, is that we only consider how loud we would be shouting out our name or how high would we be stretching out our hands to touch the sky from any peak but one thing that we always tend to forget is that when you travel through these rough terrains, you need to carry practically everything that you would be requiring. Isn’t it fun now?
Stinking like a garbage bin with the beauty of wearing that same jacket every day is just one part of such thrilling expeditions. And then only, it is possible that one can correlate the serene calmness of a cold desert with the roaring of an RE Bullet 500 engine (ask Ashwin for details). One lesson which we get from Mr Wilson’s travelogue (importantly though), is that on an average these biking adventures do conquer some 250 kilometres daily and mind it, you have to continue riding every day, all the time, doesn’t really matter if there is any pain in your back or you got yourself some broken wrist(s); for there is no medical aid available easily or in the vicinity i.e. next 100 odd kilometres.
Though the journey was extended till Chandigarh from Manali but once you are through this book it appears to be one ad-hoc portion, like not much required type. Lastly, I must say, it takes a lot of courage to even make up a mind, so determined to take on peaks like Khardung-La & Chang-La and then to complete this tremendously thrilling riding voyage. Comparatively even tougher task seems to be connecting all the possible dots to frame one beautiful picture, including minute details like remembering people’s faces, their expressions and stories of Himalayas, so that the reader in actual sense can get to visualise and wonder of one such travelogue, which he/she can also think of penning down one day. Bon Voyage.