You have barely heard of the name Border Roads Organisation as you start off on the highest motorable road* in the world. And as the ascent begins it would not escape your eye how the road has been cleverly carved through the ruggedly masculine and majestic Himalayas, widening when needed and arching into a narrow and lengthy curve where appropriate. The road undoubtedly is treacherous, but you never feel unsafe even for a moment.
The scene that flanks you beside is a textbook fairly tale image which would never fail to marvel or move any heart. You climb along the misty trails and through the progressively dropping temperature to find your lungs pumping the freshest of fresh airs. There is no civilization in near sight, only the pure white sky and the near bit of road ahead. The far distant peaks promise panorama and peace.
The drivers communicate in their own language, dippers, honks, unfathomable gestures etc all through the demanding drive. It is then you begin to realise, how hard it could be to manage and maintain the road throughout such harsh weather and uninhabitable terrain and as you continue wondering about it you start to notice heavily clothed men and bulldozers working to clear off the fresh snow from the road, often holding traffic. As you drive further higher up, the signboards marked Border Roads Organisation become more frequent guiding you through to safer futures.
Somehow as you manage through a bumpy ride on one unhealthy segment of a longish curve with its metalling worn out off the road, you are greeted to a better maintained segment with a board which reads Inconvenience is Regretted, BRO.
In a nation that is India, to find such a courteous signboard here, in this desolate corner, at an altitude of 15000 feet or so above the sea level under such rough conditions melts your heart away. As they say great deeds go into history books but its the smaller gestures that find their place in the heart.
And as I think of that road and Border Roads Organisation now, I can only infer how it is a rare symbol of what a spoonful of will and discipline can do to India. On their site Shramena sarvam sadhyam reads the sanskrit motto of Border Roads Organisation, i.e With hard work every thing is possible.
*Highest motorable road- Connects Manali to Leh through several passes inc, the famous Rohtang and Khardung La.