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Step by Step Guide to Summit

This post derives out of a brief conversation I had with a young woman from the audience of young global leaders that I was addressing somewhere in Eastern Europe. After my keynote, when I was interacting with the audience, this attractive young woman cornered me with her smile and laid out her thoughts.
‘Satya,’ she ululated, ‘your talks and words and your life is really inspiring and I totally get your concept of anything is possible no matter what, but I could only understand this at an intellectual level. Not at the practical know-how, how to do it level. A step by step guide in the correct sequence of action that would get anyone to reach a goal.’
For some reason unknown that evening’s conversation came around today on this Valentine Day and I decided to give wings to a young woman’s query several years back. Here’s to you my young unknown lady and to the rest of you out there seeking answers to this secret, which if you ponder adequately, isn’t one at all.  
So let me first begin…
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Never Ending Journeys

It was a hard fought summit. I was only a step below the needle point. And I stopped. No human had stepped upon this summit before though many had tried, few even perished in the attempt. It had taken my team over four weeks of sheer hell to reach where we were. As usual I was leading the pack of the first summit team. Frozen walls of ice, tumbled down into oblivion all around us. They were so steep that I could lean out and see all the way to the bottom of the wall around 1600m below. I had been dreaming of this summit for many years, since I had first set my eyes upon it from a neighbouring summit. Since then I had been dreaming that one day I would step upon the crown of this majestic peak, spearing into the blue sky like a silent sentinel. Yet I stopped only a step below.
I didn’t wish to go any further. I didn’t wish to step upon this elusive summit, of which I have been dreaming for so many years. It was strange. All my anxiety, excitement, agony, everything suddenly evaporated …

Lost in Scotland

It was the international winter climbing meet in Scotland in early Feb, few days before my birthday. I had landed in Glasgow, where I was representing India for the meet. They invited the top two ice climbers from each country’s climbing federation. We were housed in a beautiful manor of stone and woods with all modern creature comforts; that we welcomed after a hard long day of harsh climbing. The climbing mostly occurred around Ben Nevis National Park and the primary ridge of Cairngorms.
In winters, Scotland is truly a mad crazy ice climbing paradise or hell depending upon your attitude. Scottish winter climbing grades are still highly revered and can only be applied to Scotland winter conditions since these are so specific and specialized. I was a real bad ass climber in those days, hanging from the edge of my fingers type and took rather masochistic pleasure of attempting to kill myself in the most challenging manner. That I didn't succeed proves that I wasn’t good enough.

Dur…

Summing Up 2017

I know I am guilty of not summing up the year 2016 and some of you might have missed that annual ritual in my blog so here I am back to sum up 2017.
As always I would begin with some interesting statistics and then go on to some elaborations.
Countries visited (in chronological order) – Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Norway, Greece, Germany, Nepal, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Slovenia, Italy, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Total 17 countries including 3 first time (Montenegro, Kosovo, Laos), which has now taken the number of countries visited to 178. This leaves me around 18 more to chalk up during the rest of my life.  Unless UN adds more recognized nations to its list.
Total distance covered (approximately) – I travelled to three continents, crossing the Atlantic and several seas couple of times, and as per my guesstimate during 2017 I had covered around 148,000.00 km. Of this, around 100,000.00 by air, 40,000.00 by road and water, and 8000.00 on foot. I spent total 2…

A Ramble through Kosovo - Trail Via Dinarica

I am curious to visit and experience new places, especially those that are labelled difficult to reach, hostile (geographically) and otherwise out of main touristic destinations. Since Kosovo declared her independence in 2008, and formed itself as the youngest and newest European nation, it has been on my travel wish list. Formerly considered a war torn and ravaged nation, it is presently a haven of peace and tranquillity. Finally this year, during my European trip, I decided impromptu to dip into this small nation of wonders. Needless to say, I am primarily attracted to the natural bounties, mainly mountains and forests, of a nation. Other attractions like culture, history, craft, museums, and any kind of manmade structures, aren’t that high on my list. Though I like unplanned trips, which takes twists and turns according to my impulses, it never hurts to do a bit of research, especially when Uncle Google is so accommodating. And during this research I came across an absolute gem cal…

Climbing Formula

Once an aspiring mountaineer asked, how to climb a mountain, and I replied, by climbing it. And then the other day someone asked, how to realize our dreams, and I replied, by realizing it. There are no secrets to climbing or achieving anything in life; we simply have to do it, convert our ideas, thoughts, and dreams into action. There is no substitute for hard work. No matter how amazing our ideas and dreams might be, they will remain mere ideas and dreams unless we get up one day and take action to make them really happen.
Newton proclaimed: every action has an opposite and equal reaction. Our life is nothing but a series of actions and reactions. Even when we do not act, there is a reaction, non-action reaction is non-achievement. I wish we could climb a mountain just by dreaming of it, or contemplation, or mere planning. I remember once during a rather precarious and difficult section of a climb, my partner asked me, how she could climb through this pitch. My answer was simple: cli…

Life Above All

No mountain, not even Everest, is worth dying for and there’s no triumph upon the summit of any mountain, however easy or hard fought the summit might be. There’s only exhaustion, trepidation, some amount of bewilderment and perhaps a sense of relief. Most summits are desolate, hostile and unfit for human existence. There’s no pot of gold, no glory, no treasure anywhere on these lofty places where we stay only few minutes after having struggled through weeks and in some cases months of inhuman conditions. Why do this, again and again, is the purpose of the climb to summit, how sometimes we forego all caution and put our very lives at stake to claim that momentary glow of being at the summit, throwing all cautions to wind. How does one single step become more important than anything else we have or love including our lives? And upon no mountain is this more evident than Everest.
When we are too focussed on success or reaching the summit, we often do not enjoy the climb, cursing every m…