Friday, April 23, 2010

Into Thin Air - Jon Krakauer - Book Review

"Guy handed me a beer , Caroline gave me a hug , and the next thing I knew I was sitting on the ice with my face in my hands and tears streaking my cheeks,weeping like I hadn't wept since i was a small boy . Safe now, the crushing strain of the preceding days lifted from my shoulders, I cried for the lost companions , I cried because I was grateful to be alive , I cried because I felt terrible for having survived while others had died."

  This is the second book by Jon that I read , the first one was , "Into the wild".( click to read review). This book is an ultimate lesson to life. A story , rather a sad story where everyone lives for himself , where u turn and leave people to die , u turn away just 300 feet from the peak , where your wrong decision affects the entire group, where you just give up and die, where u hallucinate and talk to strange people, where all of a sudden you turn blind , where u never remember that you spoke to your dearest friend. A thrilling book and covers minute mountaineering details. 

About Everest : In 1852 Radhanath Sikhdar , working out of the Survey's Calcutta bureau , had discovered the highest mountain in the world.. Later in 1965 when the computations were confirmed , it was bestowed the name Mt. Everest , in honor of Sir. George Everest , a surveyor general. Since 1852 , it took the lives of 24 men , efforts of 15 expeditions and the passage of 101 years before the summit of Everest would be finally be attained on June2 , 1953.

"Reaching the top of Everest is supposed to trigger a surge of intense elation; against long odds, after all , I had just attained a goal I'd coveted since childhood. But the summit was really only the half way point. Any impulse that i might have felt toward self-congratulation was extinguished by the overwhelming apprehension about the long, dangerous descent that lay ahead."

The author was sponsored by the Outside magzine to cover the issues involved with climbing Everest but one never knew that this expedition would soon be known as, " The everest disaster." The author covers everybody in the expedition and gives a detailed description of everyone. The day of the summit assault was as an auspicious one and the leader of the group Rob Hall had successfully led many expeditions. But one never knows what can happen to you in Everest. among the people who made it to Everest , not everyone was luck enough to return back. Many were caught in struggle with life and death , while some men just walked out of their death many succumbed to the fatigue, cold , lack of Oxygen at such high heights.The description makes me shiver. 

Trip Milestones:

Phakoing - March 31, 1996 - 9,186 feet
Lobuje -    April 8 , 1996 - 16,200 feet 
Camp One- April 13, 1996 - 19,500 feet
Camp two- April 28, 1996 - 21,300 feet
Lhoste Face- April 29, 1996 - 23,400 feet
Camp three- May 9 ,1996 -24,000 feet
Southeast Ridge- May,10,1996 - 27,600 feet
Summit - 1:12 p.m., May 10 1996 - 29,028 feet.

"The one greatest advantage which inexperience confers on the would be mountaineer is that he is not bogged down by tradition or precedence. To him, all things appear simple, and he chooses straightforward solutions to the problems he faces. Often, of course , it defeats the success that he is seeking , and sometimes it has tragic results , but the man himself doesn't know this when he sets out on his adventure."

A thought

Just look back and recall , how many sunrise have you seen in a year , probably that will give you an answer to what you have made out of life.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Delhi nights revisited

Culmination of a long journey with someone whom i will never forget.

Ganga 374 A (31 st July 2005) - Goa (May 12 th 2007 - June 15th 2007) - Arunachal (25 th Dec 2007 -2nd Jan 2008) - Delhi ( 21st May 2008 - 14th July 2008) -  Daltonganj ( Last week of July 2008) - Chennai (21 st April 2010)

[Plenty of 36 hours train journeys together:)]

" To gain that worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Run for water

A good initiative by  Isha Foundation  to to create awareness and raise funds for water conservation projects

Chennai could not have been more hotter and at 2 p.m i was already feeling sick to stomach. But I had made up mind and this was in the agenda for the day.

Completed the 6 Km race in 40 minutes and felt great.

Had told a friend in the morning that it has been enough being selfish time to do something  for others.

"You will find, as you look back on your life, that the moments that stand out are the moments when you have done things for others."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Teachings - Buddha

Have  started reading about Gautam Buddha and really liked few of his thoughts .

Gautama Buddha speaks:

The greatest achievement is selflessness.
The greatest worth is self-mastery.
The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
The greatest precept is continual awareness.
The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
The greatest action is not conforming with the worlds ways.
The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
The greatest patience is humility.
The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances."

Friday, April 9, 2010

Moving up to the stars

Few people are lucky to have great friends like mine. I know I will never have the chance to celebrate a b day with most of the friends around. 
The beer bath , the cake on my shirt and face and the awesome gift is something i will never forget. 
"Happy b day bachcha."

Saturday, April 3, 2010

One Life to Ride- Ajit Harisinghani- Book Review

I have heard so many many people speaking about  the dangers of biking in  Ladhak but when Ajit can do it at the age of 54, I surely can do it. This book has not only given the confidence but also has enlightened me more about the climatic conditions , dos' and dont's and the fact that if you have courage you can surely do it.

"But now I am actually riding my dream , the road speaks to me one-to-one.I didn't know roads could talk. This one does,exuding warmth and welcome."

Best  way to read this book is to just feel that you are there on the bike, riding all alone. His feelings , the description of the landscapes and the food (Most of the times it was rice and dal), the dhabas where he had his food, the tea and sutta stops, the places he stopped to stay at night makes you feel that you are there traveling with him.. The talks with the jawans , the sufi baba , other motor cyclists was thrilling.Somehow this book has increased that desperation to get started. 

Good that I read this book before my trip to the same place in June. I read a lot about the various places mentioned in the book:Hemis Festival , Nubra valley ,Rohtang Pass, Khardung la .

"And I realize mine has got hit in an unexpected ambush.For the 21 days that I've been riding , I've kept myself entertained in a self sufficient kind of way. I have had numerous conversations with myself,sung aloud many songs inside the dark buble of my helmet,crooned out to lovers past and lost and lately ,I've been roaming with the Gods. But now i am empty of all internal dialogue."