‘’Starting my sporting journey in skating followed by hurdles, sprints, marathon, cycling, and rugby, I was at my peak of fitness. Having a set career in athletics during my younger days, I excelled at a national level, but later as I grew older and entered the open age category, the height of the hurdles grew while mine remained constant! I had to switch to another sport to make the best out of it.
The first fact I encountered was that the expedition is going to cost INR 30,00,000!
Hailing from a family belonging to the middle socioeconomic status, I recognized this as a major challenge. To my surprise, my grandmother and my mother sold their gold jewellery to partially fund my expedition, while many unknown others contributed in their bits to help me fulfill my dream. My father who was concerned about my life and didn’t want to send me to the mountain to risk my life realized that ‘if someone is destined to die, they will die anyhow.
At 18 years of age, I strived hard, and climbed Island Peak (6189 meters) in Nepal as a pre-Everest test
And later was the team leader for Eco Everest Expedition 2010. As a tiny little girl from Mumbai, this novice experience already had me all excited on my toes and I was jumping of happiness. I was terrified with the thrilling sounds from Kumbhu Icefall and the tiny avalanches during my first-night stay at the Everest Basecamp. It sounded like some heavy artillery bombardment to me.
The lifestyle was totally different, I decided to go local and I started involving myself more with the Sherpas
I was trying to be a part of their community, learning their language, playing some local card games, eating like them (sometimes just boiled potatoes for a meal). I was so happy that I became a speedy climber, but that in turn affected my process of acclimatization! I suffered from high altitude sickness and almost pecked death. But who knew that things would get so challenging. I was amazed at the new things happening to me. They were simple ones, but tricky for me though! Who knew that peeing in a bottle would be rocket science for me!
As I said, it was purely about survival. I had near-death experiences, and that is when I realized the worth of my life.
Mountains changed my entire perspective. I climbed Sagarmatha (Nepalese name for Everest) in 2010 from the South Col and managed to scale 7350 meters and in 2011 I climbed Chomolungma (Tibetan, the now Chinese name for Everest) till 8000 meters. I missed conquering the mountain by 848 meters. The climatic conditions didn’t allow me to summit, maybe because the mountain wants to come back again and again! The impact it had on my life is immeasurable. Climbing Everest does not just mean climbing an elevation 8848 meters, it is stepping out of your comfort zone to listen to your heart. Mountains made me resilient; they made me confront my fears. It is the mountains that define me. Practicing my sport....rather let me say that practicing my passion keeps me alive. We all must continue our sport no matter what because that is what defines us.’’
“Teri jo raftaar ho, Roke se bhi tu na ruke. Haasil kar aisa shikhar, Parbat ki bhi nazare uthe Ashaaye!”