The skin, bones, and essence of our trip: the faces and personalities behind the efforts. I thought it time to properly ‘introduce’ the team with some thoughts, some colour, and some quotes from our magnificent team.
We begin with Suresh who at his best is an absolute bear. Proud, strong, and the perfect man to delegate, he is a great point-man with a voice that comes close to a baritone. A tale teller of fabulous analogies, he is prone to moments of epic passion and explosive outbursts.
Moving with grace and smooth speed, Dharam was the equivalent of our scout, always moving on the periphery with his long strides. Seemingly unaffected by sun or thirst, Dharam has the blood of the desert movers. A gentlemen with steel in the tendons.
A presence relentless in his calm, that would eventually (with his calm competence) become a kind of deity and leader on our journey. Not once did his voice raise above a hush (and I tried to get it above a hush), and it was to him that we looked when there wasn’t an answer forthcoming…and an utter god in the cooking department.
Handsome and buzzing with a relentless energy, Kaku is the figure who would and could do it all. No task is too dismal, no distance too great, and no request too ridiculous. An understated essential who is a key to all of our momentum.
Tashi of the fiercely muscular calves and the giant smiles, was also Tashi of the smooth abilities in the mountains to lead. A leader who leads through quiet and competent action day after day, with a voice that should be doing voice-overs in animated series.
There could well be a small book on the lives, the loves, the words, and the character of this very special man. Stubborn to a fault, tough beyond words, and almost a thing of fables, Sadanand not only added some neurotic hysteria to the journey, he also reminded again and again of the wonderful characters to be found in the mountains.
Who else could possible deal with my own rambling, at times non-sensical queries and expeditions into the complete unknown? Relentless friend Michael, who manages to stay somehow elegant even while losing half his body weight sweating. A man who will not steer away from much that is out there and who managed to smile the big smile when hitting Parang Pass. And last but certainly not least, the man whose tireless wanderings to yield yak wool for ‘kora’ is nothing short of remarkable.
Put the hint of a mountain trail, a trade route, or simply a strand that veers into the mountains in front of me, and I’m gone…needing only a hint of a schedule and a very large quantity of tea.