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Written by Amit Nikam
This story was sent to us by Nagpur-based Amit Nikam, who has been to some of India’s most inaccessible places on two wheels. This incident, however, occurred during his first ride to Ladakh.
A few kilometres ahead of Pangong lake, Amit’s bike suffered a catastrophic failure. The fuse blew and the engine refused to crank, leaving him and his co-rider stranded in the middle of the deserted road, in freezing cold. It was snowing, and the sun was setting. Things only seemed to get worse when the weather worsened. Even if they ditched their bikes, they would have to walk almost 20km for help, so the only option was to sit and wait for someone to arrive, however remote the chances.
Miraculously, help did arrive, in the shape of an Indian Army truck. The driver saw the two stranded bikers and stopped his truck. A few jawaans got down from the rear, and gathered around the poor, freezing Amit and his friend. The soldiers inspected Amit’s bike when one of the men came up with a superb ‘jugaad’. He replaced the fuse wire with a copper one and put it back in the relay.
Like magic, the bike started. Amit was probably the happiest man alive, on hearing the love of his live purr softly once again. The quick-fix worked very well. There was only one problem, though. The engine had to remain on since there would be a short-circuit if they tried starting it once again. Amit also had two fuel jerry cans strapped to his bike, and an electrical fire would mean serious trouble.
In spite of the apparent risk, Amit rode, non-stop, till he reached Leh. The Army truck followed them till Changla Pass, just in case there was another breakdown. The Armymen really were his guardian angels.
He still credits this successful ride to the Indian Army.