When life gives you lemons, you pick them and make hot lemon tea 12000 ft high on the mountains. Sounds unusual? Meet Shiva Gupta, who did it and continues to trek closer to his dream. He is a two golds and a silver medalist, BMC-level alpha grade mountaineer of JIM, one of the most prestigious mountaineering institutes of Asia. He never thought one day he would scale mountains and glaciers given his career and family responsibilities at stake.
Clearing S.S.B was his ultimate life goal, but sometimes destiny does not favor and everything is predefined to bring you to some other life adventure. When everything was falling apart for Shiva, the opportunity to explore mountains came up.When financial crunch became a hurdle, he decided to take up a temporary job as gym instructor and save pennies for the opportunity. This, Shiva says, taught him valuable life lessons of saving and managing money to make his dream a reality.
Talking about numerous adventures at his training, he says, ‘Bohot baar aise mauke mile jaha hame team spirit ke importance ka pata chala’.’I was part of a team of 2 Air force officers and working with them gave me valuable insights and survival tactics’. When you are a part of such a strong team,you tend to learn more about yourself and your mistakes.’ Supporting to which he recounts an incident that changed the way he looked at himself — the mistake of ‘self doubt’.
During one of the endurance activities at the trek at JIM, he had to compete 12 km race with 70 other athletes including 5 Air Force Officers, 1 Air Force Garud Commando, and 1 Captain from the Indian Navy. Evidently, the competition was tough. Skeptical at start, he thought he wouldn’t make it, but while racing, all he could hear was his supporters encouraging him to win at any cost more like ‘BHAG SHIVA BHAG’.
And that’s when he made history, a remarkable note in his life by defeating the Air Force Garud Commando who was feared by hundereds when it came at athletics. This made a deep impact by teaching him it is not wise to doubt the capabilities in any sphere of life.
He raises the issue of how mountaineering in Uttarpradesh has not been given enough support and awareness. Our elementary levels lack the basic infrastructure which might instigate spirit of learning and exploring this side. Perhaps post covid we can expect that people explore this less famed profession. The aftermath of this pandemic will be gruelling and strenuous, but let’s hope that the distance between masses and mountaineering profession will be met before long.