My journey to nowhere & the story of how your spit can save your life
All the above pictures are a snapshot of where I was and all were taken with an ancient mobile phone’s camera and each one of them is 90 degrees apart. All the pictures give a 360 degree view of where I was.
First of all, let me put some facts on the table.
I was not air dropped for the shooting of India’s very own version of Man Vs Wild.
I was there for some official purpose (Read There as barren, water & life starved wasteland!!). You must be thinking that there is, in fact, no office to be seen in the vicinity (in all the pictures), so how does the question of something official pops up? Being in the energy sector, my organization regularly sends officers for patrolling purposes in remote areas. And this was the very reason for me being where I was. And just to gain some more points portraying myself as someone heroic, I would like to tell you, that I was 15 Kms away from the nearest road / highway & 8 Kms away from nearest living thing (Don’t count trees here). J
With a cap on my head, a cloth to cover my face, full sleeved shirt and jeans on, safety shoes in legs and a water bottle and some documents, I was ready to start my journey. Here I need to mention the time of starting my journey. The time was 11 am. I am emphasizing on time because it is going to play major role later on. Temperature, I am not sure, but it must have been in late 40s!! 😉 …just imagine!
So, what I had to do was to cover my stretch of 6 Kms and meet other officers at a predecided location, around 7 Kms from my starting point.
And please do make a note of the fact that I had to walk it all!! No vehicles or any other means of transport. Just my 2 legs. Reason – Rubber tires would be useless in such a rocky, barren land full of cactus and the other creepy stuffs.
I had to follow certain markers or sort of milestones in the area. Now each of these was around 250 meters apart. To cut the long story short, I completed the first 1.5 Kms with ease. I was actually having fun. And it must have been because I have always been game for testing my limits and doing interesting and sometimes silly things. But all was not fine. At the place, where I should have found a marker of 1.75 Kms, there was nothing. I thought that may be it must have been stolen away or been buried under the soil. I kept moving. Now came the point, where I should have found the 2 Km marker. Again it was absent. At this point I started feeling the heat. And I am sure that temperature at that point must have gone to around 50!! And just to make the matters worse, I decided to take snaps of the barren wastelands I was in. And in doing so, I moved around a bit. I turned back and took snaps; then again some on the left and right and so on.
The result was that I completely lost my sense of direction I came from, with no markers in any direction, I was in a state of shock!! Though I knew that I was mere 5 Kms away from my colleagues, what I did not know was the right direction. And unluckily, there were no telecommunication signals. I could no longer make any calls. And that is not all. At 12 in the noon, even my shadow ditched me. I couldn’t even get the sense of direction using my shadow as a compass.
With no mobile signals, extreme heat, without directions and with a ditching shadow, I was really at the mercy of the nature. I could really feel what Power of Nature exactly meant.
Now one of the greatest questions that I have ever faced had to be answered then and there.
In which direction should I head?
At that point I remembered something. Just before reaching the very spot I was stranded on, I had spitted some water while drinking. That was the only mark I could have found. It was indeed my last hope of finding the direction from which I came from. But I had to find that spitted water fast. Or the heat would have evaporated it. So I put a mark at the point at which I was standing and with a radius of about 20 meters, I searched the entire area of the resultant circle. And with god’s grace, I found it. I found my spit. I had never imagined that, one day I will be so happy to see my spit. I had never known that, my spit; my very own spit will save me one day.
Having got my sense of direction, I started moving ahead. And finally after walking for about 300-400 meters, I found the marker. I was finally on the right track.
Lesson for life : Anything. Absolutely anything can save your life one day. Even your spit.
Though I was on right path, I still had to walk around 3 more kilometers. Only thing that was missing from my ‘hot’ adventure was dehydration. And that was the very thing that started catching me wrong footed. I just had half a liter of water left with me for the next 3 kilometers. But I had no option, I couldn’t stop and relax as there were no trees in the wasteland to relax under. If I drank all the available water, I might dehydrate even before reaching the end of my journey. I had to keep walking. And that was the very thing that I kept doing.
I could literally feel my blood boiling. I even came across a small wet pond of sorts. But couldn’t even have drop of water from there because a dead animal’s body was lying in that water patch, smelling like hell.
Time went on and I walked on. And finally, after some time and a few bruises, I did make it to the end. Met my colleagues there, who themselves had quite a torrid time in the field. So, finally, I had survived. I never knew that a walk of 6 odd kilometers could be such an effort.
But this official trip of mine did teach me a lot of things –
Nature is supremely powerful. If it doesn’t want, we can never win from it.
Keep a compass, if you plan getting lost around noon time, in the middle of nowhere.
Anything. Absolutely anything can save your life one day. Even your spit. 😉