The Kick Start
There is a saying “God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers”, same goes for the Mountains that “You can’t conquer a mountain, though it may conquer you.” I always dreamt about serving in Army, becoming a badass Paratrooper, wearing a maroon beret whose presence would have made the devil stood still but some dreams are meant not to be fulfilled.
In my civil set up I have been living a life of a soldier, dreaming about fulfilling my adventurous and wicked desires. One of the dream was climbing to the summit and doing pushups at the top of the mountain.
I got occupied in corporate job and indulged in daily life routines. I felt happy fulfilling all the small wishes to big desires of my family. I kept on daydreaming about that extraordinary life I always wanted. Climbing a peak was a thought in my mind and a wish deep inside my heart.Then I met Lt. Col. Romil Barthwal – an Everest Summiteer. , whose versatile personality and extraordinary life story gave me a kick. Which took me one step closer to achieving my dream.
The Fighting spirit
As a beginner who didn’t know the ABC of mountaineering, I chose Mt. Friendship Peak. I had no idea of the terrain and no exposure to any previous mountaineering training but my determination and attitude of ‘I can do it’ made me confident. I realised that the time has now come before it becomes too late to start.It’s a new story every time someone goes to a mountain. One brings back the memories and experiences for his lifetime. Allow me to share mine. Says Amul.
It all began with the fitness training. Which played a crucial role in enhancing my mental strength and physical endurance. Acclimatization was done well, I learnt so many things by observing my other team members. Most of them already were seasoned mountaineers .This time I was chosen by the mountains as a new character in the story. Kargil war 1999 has been a life changing event of my life. I got stuck somewhere at that time. Throughout my journey I continued to correlate the events. My present journey became an action replay of similar sequences. We started marching towards the final summit at midnight. I was excited and full of JOSH with adrenaline rush in my blood.
“It was a night mission under the light of stars and in full moon I started pretending this as the situation with the soldiers in the Kargil. “Enemy can see me, and I have to camouflage myself with the white sheet of snow so that I can reach the top quietly and charge with full JOSH to complete the summit.” These were the thoughts going through my mind and I was moving inch by inch breathing deeply and quietly. We were 8 soldiers (trekkers) fighting their own mind and heart; I was the second last and Romil was behind me as the last man making sure no one was left behind.
We kept on moving ahead, pushing harder with each step. I was almost exhausted and running low on energy, struggling to climb up. There is a saying “The more we practice in peace the less we bleed in war”. I started using my reserve energy and pushing mentally. I even said to my trek leader Romil that even if I have to crawl, I will do that, but I’ll reach the top for sure.I was emotional because I was almost gone to the past time of those nights when the brave soldiers fell fighting in this adverse condition claiming their own land of nation. It was the ‘Izzat’(honour) of the Regiment which was on the line the same way with me. I couldn’t join the Army so what? It was like a battle I was fighting within me.
The dream Comes True
I knew one day but not exactly when I’ll be going for an expedition and completing a summit. The Sun was about to come up and this was the time, mountains accepted me and granted me permission but they tested me well and in a hard way.
Though Romil used his energy bars to feed me, my body absorbed the energy quickly and my mental strength was regained. I was already on my knees using my hand to climb the last 30 ft. As everyone was almost on the top, me being the last man before the very final moment guide saab told me if I don’t complete the summit ASAP, he’ll mark me complete at the point where I was stuck.
I collected all my strength and last drop of blood in my veins to climb, thinking of charging into the enemy with a bayonet shouting ‘DHAWAAA’ in my mind and I reached to the top and I fell in the lap of one of my team members.
All were celebrating but I was almost lifeless , recollecting my strength in my fellow’s lap. I asked him to feed me some dry fruits and sweets/energy bar and then a sip of water brought me back to life.
If it wouldn’t have Boots and Crampons and Romil and Bharath, I couldn’t have made it.
Another family I would like to mention here is from my professional team(team members/my manager & senior leadership) took care of my responsibilities assigned to me in my absence and made me free for certain time which helped me focusing on my long awaited dream. Thank you to my wife who believed in me and assured me that she’ll be taking good took care of the her & my little champ so that I’ll be more focused on summit. Thanks to my team who believed in me that I’ll be coming back home winning and B&C who made it happen.
About The Author
Born in Prayagraj (earlier Allahabad), U.P. in India, I am a graduate in Computer Science. I was passionate about joining the Army (as I lived near cantonment which inspired me). I tried a few times but no luck.Incorporating the discipline from the Army in my life I love sports and practice MMA and like reading books (Rachna Bisht Rawat Mam). Married to a beautiful woman Megha, a kathak teacher and blessed with a 2 years old son who keeps storming the house like a tornado. Climbing the corporate ladder in the IT sector , now A Sr. Data Analyst in Boston Scientific (A Medical Product based company) in Gurgaon. “I am privileged to work with Boston Scientific which supported me. I am fortunate in many ways.I have a wonderful family and an excellent team at my workplace, without their support my Mt. Friendship expedition wouldn’t have been possible.” Narrates Amul Jaiswal. This is how a Data Analyst scaled the peak !