Thursday, August 23, 2007

Triumph of Mind Over Matter

I got back on Monday from a 3 day camping trip at Mukteshwar, Kumaon Himalayas. I had a lovely time and got better acquainted with my colleagues (and every muscle and bone in my body).
I had three days of trekking in the mountains, blindfolded at times, in the dark at others, chatting away with colleagues, sharing tidbits about my life, learning about theirs.

It's funny how you have perceptions about the people you interact with and how they fade away to give away to new ones. Somewhat like the layers of an onion. I never really understood that term until this trip.

I'm a complete beach bum. I attribute this to the fact that I was born on the coast (Bombay), spent 20 years on another coast (Madras) and went on to spend 2 years, under the pretext of completing a post graduate degree, at a wonderful beach resort called the Pondicherry University. I was also allergic to the beach sand as a child and so the beach was out of bounds. So, my connection only grew deeper.

But I've also always loved the hills. There's something magical about being in the mountains. The fresh air, the breathtaking views, the colours, just everything is magical. This trip, however, was about all that and more. It was about me. It was about pushing myself beyond what I thought possible.
At first glance, the view from this cliff was intimidating to say the very least. I had wanted to climb rock faces and all that when I was in college. And this trip was a dream come true in a sense. But it has been quite a while since I finished college and so quite sometime since I had the dream as well.

There I was, with a bunch of folks right out of college, most of them a gentle reminder of what I was 8-10 years ago. The world is your oyster kind of attitude. It was fun being with them. When the time for rock climbing came, I encouraged them to go on and they encouraged me in return. But when I started to climb the rock face, I slipped and fell. Not once, but twice. I was dejected to say the least and went off to eat my breakfast. The timing was off and I hadn't done anything remotely as strenuous in the last few years. That's when a colleague of mine, more a friend actually, said to me, "Arundhati, have you heard the term 'third time lucky'? Maybe that's what it takes. Why don't you try? We're all here."

I wasn't too sure. I decided to try rappelling. I loved it. Absolutely! There's something to learn from this activity, about trusting a man and a rope so much that you're sure they won't let any harm come to you. I did this twice (yeah, kind of like to make up for falling off the rock face twice!). That's me getting ready to jump off the cliff.

After meeting with success here, I decided to try climbing the rock one last time. I was off to a better start and made it half way up the cliff. And then it began to rain. I kept losing my hand and foot grips every few seconds. But there were about 30 people standing all around, coaxing me to not give up. Stuck to the cliff like Spider man, I cried for about ten minutes. Then I figured that I crying was going to get me nowhere. I saw a bunch of complete strangers encouraging me to get to the top. At that point, I thought to myself, "If all these people believe in me and feel that I can do it, what on earth is stopping me from believing that?" I cried some more, caught my breath and set out to reach the top. And I did it.

I cried again after I was done. Some people thought they were tears of happiness. I think I was just plain relieved. Boy was I glad to be back with these people! Happy that my age old belief:

  • if I want something badly enough and have the right reasons for wanting it, I will get it.
  • I will get what I want provided I work hard for it.
  • As long as I believe that I can do it.

still holds good. I am happy to be back, exhilarated that I achieved what I set out to, and thrilled to have lived a dream.


Revathi said...

makes me want to go too

Rajitha said...

well said... sounds like a good trip.

bee said...

yay!! i'm so happy for you.

Damitra said...

terribly uncanny! i had the same experience too...but atleast you didnt have friends making wise cracks about your butt when you were sprawled on a rock like... spiderman!! ;)

prabukarthik said...

Came here through Suganya's blog.
pretty neat blog you have here.
i am yet to conquer the fear of heights :)

Raaga said...

@Revathi: What's stopping you?

Raaga said...

@rajitha: It was a great trip :-)

Raaga said...

@Bee: Thanks :-)

Raaga said...

@Damitra: Thank heavens I had no one like that... that's even more painful!!

Raaga said...

@Prabu: Welcome. I did visit your blog :-)

Pritika said...

Wow, this write-up is inspiring! I hate the idea of rappeling (because of not being able to see what lies ahead or below!) Great going woman! Made me feel good while reading about your experience :)

Preeti Shenoy said...

Really good you did it. The pictures are terrific too.