Today is day 4 of the pre-departure schedule (-1 of the yatra) – tomorrow by this time we would be heading well out of Delhi.
Yesterday we spent half a day at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police hospital – a small place in the ITBP set up opposite Batra Hospital. Another detailed briefing from an ITBP officer for an hour – I am not sure whether these help or not! It is too late to back out, or get fresh equipment etc… and some of the stuff they say is scary. Like the trek along the Kali River where a wrong step can land you in the 300 kmh running stream!! However, the spirit is amazing and either the enormity does not strike (it helps not to know too much or think too much in some situations) or the faith is so strong that nothing is an impediment.
Following this we all got the reports of the medical we had undergone the previous day (I scored full marks) and it did not go so well for a few – I am not sure how many will actually stay away. We were then served this marvelous lunch by an NGO …
Today we gather at the Ministry of External Affairs for another briefing – and hand over the Indemnity Bond (Making this was where I met Mr Amit) which basically says that i absolve the Govt of all responsibilities and me and my kin will not sue them etc. etc…. Also have to give in 2 declarations, one giving permission for cremation on the Chinese side in case of unexpected death (so, you can see that this is serious stuff) and another that I will pay for helicopter charges in case airlifting is needed. Once all this is done, we will be taken to the Bank to facilitate those who need to get the foreign exchange (to pay for accommodation and services for the 9 days in China) and then go to the Gujarati Samaj near Kashmere Gate where the non-Delhi group has been staying for the last 3 days.
The plan is for a 5 am departure tomorrow towards Almora. Some of the details of the route (for those interested) are available at the MEA website – there is limited telephone access beyond that and no internet. Now, one that itself is going to be an interesting experience.
So, au revoir for 30 days….