Sunday, February 28, 2010

Marriages are made in Heaven and Honeymoons...??

Marriages are made in Heaven and honeymoons ...??

Well, honeymoons are made in mountains and what better mountains one would find than those in Ladakh.

I had attained marriageable age when i got posted to a unit in Ladakh in 1982. Ladakh is one of the hardest field areas of the Indian Army. It would have been wise for a bachelor to wait till completion of the non-family-station-tenure (which ranges between two and half to three years) and get married after getting posting to a peace station. But then the marriages, as they say, are made in Heaven. Schedule for my marriage was also fixed 'Up There' and the marriage was solemnized on 20th May 1983 ie,. during the midst of my Ladakh tenure. Our Commanding officer was considerate enough to allow me to get my wife immediately after marriage to Ladakh. A few families are allowed for a limited period of time in some of the areas of the field stations. Hence, after our marriage, Jeet accompanied me to Ladakh.

We had planned our travel by road from Jammu onwards with a view to enjoying the flora and fauna on the way, but when we reached Srinagar, we were told that the Srinagar--Leh road had not yet opened. The said road closes for vehicular traffic due to heavy snow fall somewhere in September and reopens in May. As I was traveling to Leh in first week of June i did not anticipate that the road would still be closed. I had reported at Srinagar transit camp and was put up in a beautiful hut, appropriately named “Aish Mukam” (a place of joy). 

We spent our waiting period in Srinagar, going around various gardens and other places of tourist interest, checking every day about the status of Leh--Srinagar road, but the same was not showing any signs of opening for next few days. The single officers having reported in the transit camp, on their way to Ladakh, were in a position to avail the airlift by the IAF transport aircrafts but since I was accompanied by my wife, I could not do so, because families are not permitted to travel in service aircrafts. After a few more days’ wait, the formation headquarters at Srinagar decided to send the Ladakh bound officers, accompanied by their families, by Indian Airlines flight to Leh. So, instead of undergoing two days’ journey by Army bus with a night halt at Kargil, we reached Leh in less than an hour, though, as i  have mentioned above, i was in favour of traveling by road, so as to enjoy the scenic beauty along Srinagar--Leh Road.

Well, not writing any more words here, i would rather let our Ladakh photographs do the speaking, which i was able to dig out from different places and have uploaded here. For the ease of identification, i have circled myself and Jeet, wherever we are in a large group. The images can be enlarged by clicking over them.

                                                                                                         On top of the world !! with Jeet at Khardung La, the highest motorable road of the world at 18380 ft above mean sea level.

Pangong lake. The brackish water lake stretches across 160 kilometers and has an average width of eight kilometers. It attracts Siberian migratory birds, including the near extinct Black Neck Cranes. Two thirds of the lake falls under Chinese occupied area of Aksai Chin. One can enjoy boating in the lake in summers and can drive a heavy truck over it in winters.Picnic with Unit officers and their families.
Now com'n!!we  couldn't have done such a quick job to produce so many children. They belonged to the battalion officers and mostly hanged around the bride.
At Fukche, the highest Operational Airfield of the world which was put into operation during 1962 Chinese aggression.                                                                                                                                                              
"कोई सिख, कोई जाट, मराठा
कोई गुरखा, कोई मद्रासी
सरहद पर मरने  वाला
हर वीर था भारत वासी
जो खून गिरा परबत पर
वोह खून था हिन्दुस्तानी
जो शहीद हुए हैं उनकी 
ज़रा याद करो कुर्बानी" 
Memorial at Chushul, in the memory of 1962 war casualties.

Humor and high spirits are what keeps Army going in the adverse conditions too.

The ladies had organised Husbands' Nite and gave us just half an hour to wear some fancy dress and come to the Officers' Mess. We grabbed whatever came our way in our rooms and this was the result. I have circled my mug.


Latin Sardar said...

Nice memories and great pics, sir. I turned 1 at the time of your wedding :D

Shas said...

For a moment i had mistaken all those kids to be yours, had forgotten that u were recently married then :b

Sharmila Ganguly said...

This tugs at the heart strings. Jeet is a lucky lady to have had such a remarkably different honeymoon.

Renu said...

Thank you for sharing such beautiful being a woman loved the overcoat Jeet is wearing:)

BK Chowla, said...

On top of the world?
My best wishes to you and your wife Jeet.
The pictures are so nice.

Madhu said...

I would say that one of the most memorable times of anyone's life time is the Honeymoon period. I am glad that you have made yours so memorable that you can still recount the moments like it happened yesterday. Good luck to you.

I loved your fancy dress. Nice idea.

Balvinder Singh said...

Latin Sardar, nice to hear that your birthday falls on 20th May.

Shas, you very rightly mistook the kids for those of ours and that is why i have given the clarification under the said image :-)thanks

Sharmila, yes we both were lucky to have enjoyed such a different experience. That is what takes the Army ahead in tough times -- the memories of such small but significant and unforgettable moments.

Renu, all these photographs have been uploaded after scanning as these were hard copies. Had these been digital ones the result would have been better. you have rightly noticed her coat. It really looked good on her.

Mr. Chowla, thanks,yes the pictures are nice and i have done a lot of hard work for digging them out from my different relatives and friends. Soem are still missing.

Madhu, yes i vividly remember those days and courtesy blog world, i am able to share them with friends. Thanks for liking the 'fancy dress'.

How do we know said...

fantastic pics!!!!and a great story too... you havent told us though, what mam thought about the whole adventure... would you like to put that up sometime too...

Anonymous said...

Very nice photographs that too on the high altitute depicting the sense of duty with honemoon

Capt jaswal

Balvinder Singh said...

HDWK, thanks for appreciating pics and the story. And you have raised a very pertinent issue here ie,. to hear her side of the story, (though her smile in every pic says it all) will certainly ask her to comment here.

Capt Jaswal, thanks, yes sometimes pleasure also becomes part of the duty of a soldier.

shail said...

My husband was at Leh in 1981/82. We got married in '82 when he left Leh for Chakrata and so I never got a chance to see Leh.
Unfortunately the pictures aren't loading. I will have to come back and check when I get my regular net connection back.

Balvinder Singh said...

Oh Shail, you missed a lot. You can still visit Ladakh and have second honeymoon there. This blog is also posted on Facebook and Buzz, the pictures may open there.

Thanks, will wait for your comments on the photographs too :-)

J P Joshi said...

A very nostalgic and wonderful post and the photographs are 'sone pe suhaga'. Trust the fauj to be very considerate to girl friends, fiancees and newly weds.. in that order.

You were lucky to get stuck at Srinagar, but were unlucky to get IA. We, my wife, daughter and I, did the Leh - Udhampur route by Officers bus... it was breathtakingly beautiful.. from the arctic desert in Leh, to the river sangam at Kargil, and then through Dras, the high altitude meadows, the Zoji la pass and Sonmarg.....yeh wadiye kashmir hai jannat ka nazara.

Thanks for sharing and for also taking me back to our Leh stint in 1984.

deep said...

nice snaps.. and very different :P
would look ahead for more such.. :)

Balvinder Singh said...

JP,yes, we were lucky to get stuck at Srinagar. A friend posted there had made his vehicle available to us to roam around the valley. But there was much more excitement bubbling in both of us to reach Leh as soon as possible. IA lift was a pleasant surprise thrown our way by the authorities. You have rightly pointed out the order of preference adopted by the faujis in being considerate.

We also travelled back from Leh to Jammu by road which compensated for all that we had missed while going up.

Kashmir is rightly called paradize on earth.

And yes, this must have made a nostagic reading for you too as you were in Ladakh almost the same time.

Balvinder Singh said...

Deep, thanks, yes very different, will sure be coming up with much more.

Reflections said...

A honeymoon is always special but for ur wife & u to spend it in such a beautiful place it must have been doubly special. Thank U for sharing ur memories and photographs:-)).

LOL at the daakus, pirates and dulha's in the last pic;-D

Anonymous said...

Loved these beautiful pictures - the one with the beautiful lyrics... couldn't have been more appropriate!

And in the fancy dress, husband's nite picture, you are a pirate? :) :)

I have to say, even Honeymoons are planned in heaven sometimes :)

Anonymous said...

Loved these beautiful pictures - the one with the beautiful lyrics... couldn't have been more appropriate!

And in the fancy dress, husband's nite picture, you are a pirate? :) :)

I have to say, even Honeymoons are planned in heaven sometimes :)

Balvinder Singh said...

Nancy, yes it was a very special honeymoon and i often boast to my friends for my having enjoyed it in that way. so you liked all those dakus and pirates ;. Thanks :-))

IHM, the lyrics are the excerpts from that famous song by Lata Mangeshkar "Aay Merey Watan Ke Logo" Yes IHM, i have put a circle around myself in that sleeveless jacket with patch on one eye, if you call him the 'pirate' well it is a compliment because that was the easiest make up. yes this honeymoon couldn't have been planned outside Heaven :-)) thanks.

sm said...

very nice article
thanks for sharing pics and such beautiful lines

CY|\|O$|_|RE said...

very nice pics and an equally nice post.....keep going.....w8ng for more to come.....

Balvinder Singh said...

SM, thanks. Yes beautiful lyrics actually written for the 1962 war casualities and sung by Lata.

CYNOSURE, thanks , yes much more coming in next posts. Thanks for keeping me company.