I have decided to have a category for Unsung Heroes in my blog in gratitude for the people who often work in the background to make a trip memorable. More often than not, they are doing their job but somewhere they leave an imprint which is as valuable as the memories of the trip.While I am writing about a few whose pictures I have, I am thankful to the entire Ecotrek family, the Tibetan guides and helpers for my trip to Mount Kailash (Part 1 and Part 2) and Manasarovar.
Team Leader Sumek and Sherpa Rinjee carrying oxygen pillow during the trek through the valley. Rinjee was like a shadow, walking at a distance but keeping a watchful eye incase I needed any help. I cannot forget the way he sprinting deep down to get water from Gouri Kund. Sumek is the man for all seasons, taking care of the needs of the entire group and making everyone comfortable.
Shaligram – The chef whose fingers doled out the tasty soups, noodles, sandwiches and other Indian fare during the trip in extreme circumstances. The first to wake up to ensure we had hot breakfast ready in the morning and a hot tasty meal at bed time. Gave us unlimited access to the make shift kitchens, generously sharing a tip or two.
Patu, our driver from Tibet who drove us through the difficult terrain in Tibet. Well, language was an issue but universally the sign language works. He introduced us to some foot tapping Tibetan tunes like Tsampa Thukpa Chasuma Ho Ho. A devout Tibetan who never missed his prayers introduced us to different chants of OM Mane Padme Hom.
Finally, my Helper for the journey and I am extremely apologetic and embarassed that I do not recall his name. Helpers and Horses are assigned by lottery. I was ashamed that I got someone years older than me, how could I burden him!! At first, it was difficult, since we did not understand each others language and he was not co-operative. I saw him soften when I chanted along with him loudly and parting after 3 days was emotional. He wanted my shoes and sweater and I did not have a spare one handy!! next time, I will come prepared.
Incase, you are travelling there and you happen to come across him, please give him a pair of woolens or shoes on my behalf and I will be ever obliged. Infact, I will suggest that carry extra pairs of woolens and shoes that you can donate to the people who live in such extreme circumstances and feel what gratitude is all about.