Normally at this time of the year I am away from civilization and any gadgets opting to stay away from hullaballoo of celebration and inebriated minds. This year is different. I am a student at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmadabad and no amount of wishing is going to whisk me away from this place into my snow covered summits. As an alternative my mind tried to grasp at how or where did the year go? This is a summary. I am also aware as I jot down my thoughts that perhaps none of you have any interest in the content of this post even then, as my social media friends say that a blog is your own diary. Anyone else reading it is incidental and someone finding it even remotely likeable and readable is intensely rewarding and fulfilling.
At IIM, we are told almost every day that ‘we must believe only in numbers’ so a play with numbers first. Among 31536000 seconds that 2009 has (every year except a leap year has the same) or had I spent 10368000 on expeditions that included two major and few minor ones; also crossed the Arctic Circle several times, climbed two icy summits and many rock and ice walls. Slept through 6570000 seconds (give or take few hundred perhaps). Around 1314000 seconds went gobbling up food and god alone knows how much to digest. Traveled over land, water and through sky for around 5184000 seconds using all kinds of manmade modes of transportation except a submarine. Scribbled on a computer or on a piece of paper to come out with articles, posts, etc for around 3628000 seconds. Around 1080000 seconds sitting or sleeping through classroom instructions. Close to 72000 seconds attending musical or theater performances and the balance 3320000 seconds engaging into various sorts of activities that included twiddling my thumb, day dreaming, lecturing, having fun, making and losing friends, reading books, photography, socializing and smiling.
Few things of note happened around me during 2009. Navy finally decided that it had enough of me and accepted my pre-mature resignation. Two interesting expeditions where I did glacier mass balancing and honed my skills at scientific methods of studying glaciers and climate change. Did few first ascents in the outer Himalayan ranges. Represented India in BMC’s International Climber’s Meet at Scotland. Gained virtual presence through this blog. Became a TED Fellow. Delivered several lectures on my climbs both in and outside the country. Several of my articles got published worldwide. Had only one near fatal accident. Lost nearly a dozen friends in the mountains. Made innumerable friends from across the globe; several of them with the potential to be life-long ones. Met two people I have always admired and beyond meeting them, becoming really good friends. Two dear friends got married. I gained and lost a really good person as a friend within the span of less than a month due to my sheer misdemeanor. Managed to raise substantial funding for my villages. Finally attended an organized institute of knowledge (IIM). And on the personal front I failed miserably on an aspect I thought I would succeed.
2009 has been a journey of learning and rediscovering myself as it has been a wonderful voyage. I am now a year closer to eternity or perhaps one year further from mortality. Whichever way I might look at it, I am still a traveler with a mountain in the horizon beckoning his eager heart who is destined to his journey without destination. Wishing you all a wonderful new year.