Tuesday, January 31 2017, 09:44:34
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Avantika Singhal

Teen JWB Curator/Blogger

Shalini Sharma’s Story PEAKS The Sky With Her Expedition To Mount Everest

  • IWB Post
  •  January 27, 2017


Trekking is no child’s play. It requires physical energy, mental strength and lots of focus.

And trekking to the base camp of Mount Everest is another glorious scenario altogether. Shalini Sharma spilled all the beans to Indian Women Blog about the recent excursion with her husband.

With dozens of questions, I camped at her place for a good hour. Her story triggered the avalanche of the scenic images in my mind. Ready to slip downhill?

Me: What kind of perpetration did you have to do before commencing your journey to Everest?

Shalini: I started preparing two months prior to it. I walked and evaluated my progress. I increased my body’s stamina by gaining some weight also. And, I would wake up at 4:30 AM every day.

Me: How did the idea to go come about?

Shalini: When I was little, I was fascinated by a TV serial called ‘Himalay Ki God Mein’ and ever since I had wanted to go there. On my 38th birthday, I could fulfill my dream and all the credit goes to my husband. One day, he said he wanted to go to the Everest base camp and I decided I would be his accomplice.

Me: Did anyone raise objections at your decision of going?

Shalini: No. But my in-laws were concerned about how safe it was and they were obviously intimidated by the unknown. To diminish their anxiety, we had shown them a lot of YouTube videos. This gave them the reassurance that a lot of people did it and it wouldn’t be just us there.

Me: Tell us your daughter’s and son’s reactions.

Shalini: Their reactions were the opposite of what I had expected. They appreciated my decision heartily and were very supportive throughout. They are so young but they were very mature about this!

Me: What was the most inspiring thing about the orientation you attended after reaching Nepal?

Shalini: They told us that nothing is impossible and if you have the belief that you will reach the top in one piece, then you definitely will. Nevertheless, we were very scared on the first day.

“Trekking is not as difficult as it looks. It just demands a lot of practice beforehand.”

Me: The most beautiful point during your journey?

Shalini: Namche Bazaar is a village at 3,440 meters in Nepal and from there, we caught a glimpse of Mount Everest. It looked as if it was heaven itself descending from the sky.

Me: One thing that would force me to pack my bags and leave for this trekking expedition right away?

(I am a lazy bum but some inspiration does not hurt anyone, right?)

Shalini: Mother Nature is bountiful and it’s a giver of invaluable gifts. If you want to be at the receiving end of it, you must go there once in your life. You will realize how precious life is. Further, you will observe how unimportant things like TV and smart phones can be when you are surrounded by such sublime scenes.

At this point, Shalini’s son, Chinmay joined in and I think he knew more than Mamma about her trip and her experiences. He blissfully explained to me that porters accompany you in your trek so that they can not only carry your luggage but also explain the culture of Sherpas and cook food for you!

Me: Did the porters share any interesting stories?

I hope they did not share spooky stories. Can you imagine an out of breath Bloody Mary climbing the peak just to scare you? Because I can!!

Shalini: Yes, they told us about the people who die while climbing the Everest and how there is a special cemetery dedicated to them. They also showed us various Buddhist monasteries with a gigantic statue of Gautam Buddha. It is in Tengbuche, Nepal.

“In our ten-day adventure, we bathed only once. In Nepal, they charge Rs. 500 for a hot shower!”

Me: What delicacies did you eat up in the mountains?

Shalini: We had a lot of Dal Bhat-lentil soup served with steamed rice. And, Momos, fried rice, and noodles as well. The common ingredient of all the food is garlic. It helps to thin out the blood in your body.

Me: Tell us about the Americans and Russians who accompanied you during your journey?

Shalini: There was a girl named Paula. I derived inspiration from her when she would walk. She would walk nonstop and was always in her own little bubble. It was serene to see her dedication that way. She was also an ardent preacher of Buddhism.

In another group, we saw that Russian women had also brought their kids with them. That was empowering.

And the cherry on the cake is that we also have a WhatsApp Group to keep the memories alive.

Me: How is the culture of Sherpas unique?

Shalini: It’s unique because it is so different from ours. They keep walking, they are wanderers. They do not have a hankering for materialistic things. They are also highly accustomed to the cold weather. Lastly, they love what they do. They climb the mountains with you, recounting anecdotes and precautions all the while carrying 100 kgs of luggage. Sherpas also have the ability to carry gas cylinders at 5,800 meters and build a fire there!

Me: When were you the most scared and skittish in your journey?

Shalini: On the second day, we were supposed to walk for ten hours and somewhere, a thought that haunted me was that I would never be able to make it to our destination.

We also came to a point where there were no trees. There were only rocks encased with snow. It was a white blanked of beauty and desolation. It was smoggy and the only sound reaching our ears was that of water from a nearby river. That was precisely the moment in which I felt conflicted and a little upset by the fact that I was thousands of miles away from my kids.

In those troublesome times, my husband was obviously my shoulder to cry on. He lifted my spirits. We listened to some retro music and felt much better.

“There was another Indian boy from Bangalore with us. After reaching the base camp, we three proudly placed an Indian flag atop the summit.”

Me: Three things an amateur trekker should never have or do?

Shalini: Don’t doubt yourself. If others can do it, so can you. Next, don’t be a huge fan of dieting in the mountains. That is downright stupid. And, don’t be alarmed by how much you will have to walk, eventually.

“People of Nepal are famous for their hospitality but another quality about them is they don’t honk continually and cause noise pollution. It’s more peaceful there.”

Me: What was your last thought before sleeping and the first thought after waking up?

I would be slightly worried about how we would go on the next day. Sometimes, I would also be in awe of myself for how I had managed to climb so much.

The first thought in the morning would only be of anticipation and excitement. I would also get ready in a hurry so that we could start the walks soon and explore.

Shalini is also constructing plans to visit Leh Ladakh next year. We wish her the best in her future climbing endeavors.

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