Angam had been to the cold mountains of Himachal, and he had been to the hot deserts of Rajasthan. But he had never had the opportunity to visit a cold desert and he was looking forward to his upcoming solo trip to Leh, Ladakh.
Ladakh was a breathtaking myth until one visited the land of the monks. The North is the beautiful, industrially untouched part of India that is considered a treat for motor bikers. The gravity defying Magnetic Hill, the majestic view of the Great Himalayas, and the world’s highest lake, all make for attractive tourist destinations. Despite this, Ladakh seems untouched by the surge in population that seems to take over every metro in the country. This was because of strict regulation that protected the land and maintained its grace.
Angam had liked constantly surprising himself on his birthdays. He worked hard and was a significant member of his company at just 38 years of age. He liked to make up for his consistency and dependability at work with spontaneity in his personal life. Everyone agreed that this made him the interesting and balanced individual he was. The spontaneity and enthusiasm for life was something to strive for, his wife agreed.
She often accompanied him on work trips, and they went for a holiday every other month together, but Muskaan had been shocked at the revelation that Angam had never been on a solo trip before. She had been on several in her early twenties and considered this an essential experience in life. She had made numerous friends as parts of tour groups, sometimes to the Tirthan Valley, sometimes to Gokarna, and quite often, to Meghalaya. She loved the cultural differences between the North and North-East and found the dissimilarity in the two cultures in sync quite unique.
So, for Angam’s birthday, she had planned a 7-day solo trip to Ladakh for him.
When he had arrived, he had finally been able to the gauge the level of planning his wife had done for him. There were small post-it notes on every item in his luggage. The bag containing most of his clothes said, “Shower as Often as You Find Hot Water”. His iPad’s cover had a small sticky note saying, “Miss your wife, call your wife, with technology, it is a simple life.” But one of the bags stood out the most. It was a small black bag labelled “Outer Woods”. The post-it note on it said, “Open at night for a wonderful delight.”
Angam decided that the bag was way, way too small for Muskaan to have fit herself into as a prank. So, he opened it up to look inside. The bag held two bottles of white wine and two small wine glasses. There was another post-it note on the wine glass that read, “Make a Friend, Share a glass.” Another post-it note that had detached itself from one of the glasses read, “If you break my wine glasses, I won’t let you back into the house.”
Angam smiled and facetimed Muskaan before turning in early that night. Tomorrow was a big day; he was going to rent a bike and ride it down to Nubra Valley after breakfast.
The next morning, he found a bike to rent quite easily and rode it down to the Valley. He had to make several stops to take a picture from every single angle he found appealing. He stopped more often that he sped up because the Sun glistening on the icy blue mountains looked good from every single angle. Several army trucks passed him by, and the camouflage print formed a stark contrast to the desert that seemed to stretch on for forever.
Angam decided to stop by the Dikshit Monastery before heading back to his hotel. The Monastery was splendid, it was a different world altogether. Angam couldn’t fathom how close he was to home but how far it felt at the same time. He spotted a small tour group that was staying at the same hotel he was at the same time as they spotted him. They walked up to him and introduced themselves.
They all rode back to the hotel and Angam invited them to a glass of wine around the bonfire. Despite the fact that Muskaan had packed two glasses with the bottles, they weren’t enough. Some of the new friends he had made ended up taking their wine and sipping it from their water mugs.
When Muskaan called that night, he informed her of this, “You thought of everything but not the possibility of my making 5 friends in a single day.”
Muskaan smiled and said, “I’ll forward you the link for the bag and you can send it to your new friends. They should start carrying their own wine and wine glasses in Outer Woods bags if they are going to travel together.”
Angam laughed and said, “Ha-Ha, that would be perfect.”
“Traveling alone doesn’t always mean you’re alone. Most often, you meet marvelous people along the way and make connections that last a lifetime.” - Jacqueline Boone
Check out the range of Outer Woods Insulated Bottle Bags here.