The whole day had been crazy, the Mahadra Predesh province has not been our best and once again we had been kicked off the land where we wanted to sleep. Eventually the crew found a new spot, but just off a road and right in the path of local traffic which we try and avoid, as if you are seen, the bush telegraph goes out and every villager in a 3km radius will be there to come and have a look.
We call this: ‘bush TV open-time’ as the locals arrive, they all find a perch, sit around you and just stare. We have learnt that the best is just to sit there, do nothing, don’t unpack any thing so that the situation becomes really boring for them and they switch channels and move on. Then you can start getting ready for the evening.
We had been through a big session of this, it was already getting dark before we could really settle down, but finally we ate, and crawled into our tents, there was a lot of traffic noise from the road and truck hooters, but finally it was dream land.
Suddenly it was headlights, hooters and voices; I did not know what the hell was going on. At first I thought that maybe some truck had left the road and nearly took our camp out. The hooting carried on and on and so did the shouting. Finally I heard Andy get out of his tent.
I just heard him say “Oh Shit bandits”, but then it changed.
Straight away he started to sing the song. “I am Andrew from South Africa, we are running from Srinagar to ——–“.
I knew that this was an official raid again and by the tone someone was pointing something not so nice in his direction, I just stayed in my tent and listened as last time when I got out and blew my lid we were really in the dwang. Then I heard Ramveer the driver’s voice and he took over. I heard him say Andy Sir get back to the tent and then the whole story picked up pace and volume as they went at Ramveer. On and on it went, I knew it was going to take a while as there is always the scare tactic of authority that we have experienced a bit. Then it started to simmer.
What had happened was some villagers had reported us to the police, as they were worried about this group that had moved into their area and did not feel too safe about us. Fortunately the situation sorted itself out and we all went back to sleep