This week, TheVibe continues its interview with The Standard Images Co. about their journey through the Himalayas. Over the course of 43 days, they travelled across magical landscapes that many have seen, but few have saved for posterity. Thus, Send It Upwards was born – a comprehensive, visual motorcycle documentary determined to record the beauty and magnificence of the Himalayas, for those who are not fortunate enough to have seen these mountains in the same way.
Journeys like this one can be a test of your resolve, but not just on a physical level. What were the emotional experiences you had that really stayed with you?
Arjun: A farmer threw his house open to us when he realised that we had not found a place to camp out at. This was at the beginning of Himachal Pradesh, in a place called Daron Devira. As we went deeper into the hills, we realised that people don’t have much, but they have enough, and they are ready to share what they have, even if they don’t really know you! This was our experience, throughout the Himalayas. There are many places around the world that are visually arresting, but to find friendly people living in extreme conditions…that’s not so common!
If you had to go sensorial about the whole experience, what would the highlights be?
Arjun: With respect to sensory stimulation, I’m very glad that we did this journey on motorcycles. On our bikes, we had the full, 360 degree experience. There is no windscreen, no windows to look out of. We were IN IT, and as much part of the scenery as the mountains themselves. The massive national highways from Chennai to Delhi were sedating, but it was humbling to see how vast the country really is. Roads in Himachal Pradesh were non-existent, and that made it adventurous – how many people would’ve ridden/driven on a riverbed for nearly 10 days straight? The roads in J&K were butter smooth and twisty, as mountain roads should be. We rode alongside the river most of the time. The thing is, we saw quite a few other tourists in cars doing the same route that we were on. Most of them were asleep, waiting for the driver to arrive at their destination. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but they definitely missed the immersive experience that they could’ve got on the same road, just by switching to motorcycles.
Nishanth: My senses were most ‘heightened’ while doing water crossings. At the heart of the Spiti valley, we were riding through terrain, which had no semblance of a road having been there; freshly melted ice would find the worst of these sections to flow through, forcing riders to make several water crossings each day. The water crossings vary from tiny 50 feet stretches with ankle-length water to 500m stretches with waist-high water (if you are traveling at the right time of day) The water is bitterly cold, and every part of you resists contact with it; and its hard to balance a 500cc bike, carrying 100kgs, through flowing streams and up heavy boulders! You also don’t want to stall your bike in the center of such a crossing, cause that would mean being stranded in the middle of nowhere! There were no support vehicles to bank on, and there was scarcely any life throughout the region, even in the form of vegetation, let on humans. The trick to not stalling your bike in water, is to accelerate consistently. Again, accelerating when you hardly have any control to start with is unnerving to put it mildly.
Send It Upwards Campaign: The coming two weeks on TheVibe we present to you Send It Upwards – a series of visual montages from an upcoming documentary on the valleys of the north, by our very talented collaborators from the south – The Standard Images co.
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