There was one phrase which we heard more than Jule. It was “Rasta band hai na!!”
Whenver you look for something or ask which is other than ‘Apricot’ or ‘Alu’ or ‘Dal’… This is what we hear in response. Some people take the pain to explain ‘Season nahi hai na’.
We almost survived on Rice, Roti, Alu, Dal for the duration of our stay. These are the only things which are available throughout the winter season in the Ladakh region.
The staple diet is noodles / Aata balls and few rare vegetables in a soup which is prepared sometimes in milk. This is called ‘Thukpa’. This is had during lunch / dinner or even breakfast. Another variant is called ‘Sku’ which is also prepared in a similar fashion.
Nestle seemed to make one third of their total revenues by selling Maggi in the Ladakh region. This can also be called their staple diet or our saviour. It was one of the few food items we could connect to in the initial days.
We rarely drank water as we invariably had teas atleast 4- 5 times in a day. The tea prepared here is a variant of black tea and is called ‘Khunak’ or ‘Namkeen chai’ . It was slightly salty in taste, but is refreshing after lunch / dinner. Tea is also called ‘Sulja’ with respect!
The most interesting one was of course 'CHHAANG' !! It's a local beer made from rice / barley., though my friends downed litres of it enthusiastically. One particular day we were sitting in a home, they started fiesting on Chaang. The locals were expecting them to get a high and do something crazy. Unfortunately they were not aware of the 'Capacities' of sunil, Ankit and Satya ! They finished the entire ration of Chaang of the household, without getting even a high :)