Himalayan Summer - A Captain’s Note
- Jul 30, 2022
- in Articles
- Dr. Krishnakumar Mechoor
Flemings’95, Batch of MBBS 1995. Yes! We were different from others. Whether people would agree or not, we were a class apart. We lived our college days like no other batch did and 27 years later we decided to relive the dream.
The idea of travelling to Pangong first took root in my heart when I happened to see a photograph by my mentor Praveen P Mohandas. During our travel to Corbett in 2018 Linto, Pakkers and myself along with our families had a virtual tour to Ladakh through our discussions. Linto and Janet leading the way on an Enfield bullet followed by Pakkers and me in a Scorpio (enikku swayam alpam pucham thoniya nimisham).
The dream was hibernating when ,out of the blue, during Lockdown 2.0 ,at 9.30 AM I receive a call from my old GF( hope Anoop would forgive me for hiding the fact !) and she asked “ Can we go to Ladakh”. Thank you Smiji darling for reigniting the thought. I immediately got Linto and Sanjeev on the line and hey!...the program was finalised in no time. At that moment none of us ever imagined that it would turn out to be a trip of this magnitude.With very little hope of getting participants we ventilated the idea in our college WhatsApp group but the response was dramatic. Many came on board.
The plan was for 2023 summer. Smiji was still apprehensive and used to ask “ Will this materialize?” Covid and health issues were a concern but we kept our hopes alive. And then, one fine morning we thought 'Why wait till 2023? Why not 2022?.”And that’s how it all started. Looking back, planning the trip was as spirited as the trip itself. We started our ground work in October 2021. Tickets booked, we searched for a local travel guy and got hold of Bijoo ( bless u guy!) who was our Ladakh link person. Thanks to Mohanji (Mohan Thomas) and Amit Bhai (Amit Rane) for all the support and inputs.
Finally, on the 5th of July 2022, 14 of us broke the shackles and boarded our flight to Leh and thus began our journey of a life time. Nine unforgettable days . The days which reminded us that we were still young. The days which gave us the faith that the fire of our dreams still burn brightly within us. We believed, like SRK says in Chak De “ No one can steal these 9 days from us” ( ...and bloody hell no one dare!)
The terrain was unforgiving but with the company of 22 like minded people we embarked on the journey in style. The early morning tea sessions, the travel through exquisite landscapes, Antakshari and Dumb Charades at 17000 ft, fried Momos of Tibetan kitchen, the photos sessions at Khardungla, the beauty of Pangong, the hypoxia scare and the blitzkrieg bike ride to Magnetic hill....we blazed through it all, relishing each and every moment. The greatest relief was hearing your room mate snoring( signalling he/ she was alive and kicking!).
What made this trip dwell in the most cherished realms of our existence was the camaraderie we shared amongst us. It was as if we had rewinded to our college days and were reliving those times. We had our special moments like madama and Lama @ Thiksey, Smiji’s Mongaling @ Pangong, Tiger scratched by kitten ( that’s me!), music with body show @ Khardungla by Pakkers and Sudheer , an Indo - Pak war averted by timely intervention when Adam and Unnikuttan tried to cross LOC and many more hillarious ones.
Zubair became a photographer, Sanjeev proved that you can survive at oxygen saturation levels of 80, the eternal romantics Mr and Mrs Jaja and Universal bro Sudheer were rocking. Pakkers was probably the only guy who thought about the friends back at Kerala ( though we mistook him to be homesick). Linto’s attempt to defeat migraine @ 18000ft was a monumental failure. Anu and Asok, the two guys who were the same guys from their college days. Jp was more chilled out. Praveena, your last minute crash landing would be one of the best decisions you took in your life. Julie, one of the first persons to confirm for the trip fought against all odds and made it happen. Hats off to your determination and willpower and you keep on inspiring us.
Janet, Sandhya, Chandni, Anisha and Rehna, you guys were rocking. You hopped on to this crazy team and added the right vibe . Consider it as your greatest luck that you are married to a Fleming!
Personally, for me it was a trip with a difference. At some point of time, someone started calling me captain ( I still haven’t figured out who) but I enjoyed it to the core. Leading a team on an adventurous trail is something I love.
Whatever little effort that I have put in planning and executing the trip is dedicated to my greatest buffer and buddy, Smiji George. If not for you this trip would have never materialised. A heart full of love and special thanks to my captain at home who tolerates and enjoys my madness.
For those who couldn’t make it for this trip, try to make it for the next one. Keep aside your responsibilities for a week and live for yourselves.
As far as a medico is concerned, batch trips are common but a batch trip to Ladakh is something which not many would have attempted. For friends and family who often ask, “ Why is it that you guys are so attached to each other?” The only answer to that is : Flemings’95 is an emotion and you need to be a Fleming to understand it.
This is your captain signing off with a note from Ladakh,
“we are Flemings’95. We dominate the indomitable!”.
Hoping to dream our travels and travel our dreams till jab thak hai jaan.
Dr. Krishnakumar Mechoor
Nature & Wildlife Photographer,
Managing Partner, Green Cap