I have been traveling to Himalayan areas since 2008. I have been so much so in love with mountains that going back to mountain areas is my sole dream. While traveling to Himalayan areas or visiting to different Himalayan ranges it goes without saying that I came across several rocky terrains and without giving much importance to that I moved further. Rather I was so afraid to look at these rocks I would prefer to cross these rocks and boulders as quickly as possible. Strength of these rocks is so much that I couldn’t even imagine to be close to them. However, being an women for me Himalaya and its rocks are resemble to a masculine strong man. They attracted me from the core and I admired them silently without being able to express my thoughts to anyone.
Then come the day when someone invited me to join a rock climbing practice session. His intention was simply to show what this adventure sports is all about. It’s being long I am going through online magazine and journals and following articles, ads, clippings on rock climbing but I never dared to imagine to do it. So when I receives the invitation to join I was slightly skeptical or uncertain about my physical capabilities. I was absolutely in dilemma that at this age accepting such invitation or joining a Rock Climbing course might be a foolish idea.
Then I felt that I can always refuse to accept such extraordinary invitation and can sit back at home in my comfort zone. This is what all the other people do and I do not belongs to that category. I am a different breed and accepting newer challenges and take risks is there in my blood. I started thinking that 20 years from today I might be unhappy thinking that I should have accepted the invitation and should have gone for the Rock Climbing Courses. Hence, when opportunities came to me automatically I should accept it and I should try to read the sign left for me by the almighty. Also it was an extension of my love for the outdoors, and a spiritual thing as much as a physical one. Hence, with all confusions and dilemma I accepted the invitation just one day before the course and headed for Purulia.
When I reached Purulia, and saw the nearby hills which are pretty small compared to what I had seen in Himalayan region. However, looking at those hard, strong and merciless rocks in the hills area it shook my heart from the core. I started feeling sick and so not wanted to go close to those rocks. I was about to throw up. I was not sure what I was doing on that hill areas.
There were few who looked at me and was in doubt that what the hell I was doing there as an odd woman out. Some of them laughed at a distance. Well I was weak compared to the youngest candidate of the troupe. I felt like kneeling down and not to go up. But after all there was no looking back. So whatever it was I decided to go up and try my best to touch or revolve around the rocks and try to climb whichever way it was possible. I knew my weight was heavier than what I am supposed to have to climb a rock. I lacked confidence considering all the negative points that were part of me.
First Day – I couldn’t climb. I was shaky. My legs and feet were shivering. So badly I felt that I couldn’t climb. I felt like crying behind the rocks or deep inside the woods when no one is watching me. I felt insulted experiencing my physical weakness. I felt defeated. I looked at the young girls & boys even at the kids. I was never so afraid of little kids. They were stronger than me . But I never wanted to quit without trying it out.
So I went close to rocks. Further close. With deep feelings I touched them. I weep and whispered at the rocks for accepting me and to keep me safe. Rocks have energy, feelings and if you respect them it will love you back. Somehow I started feeling someone is watching me and helping me. I started bouldering or free climbing in small boulders. Somehow I felt it was not the existing instructor rather than someone else is protecting me with his arms. Someone was blessing me and kept on whispering in my ears saying that – ‘You can do it Susmita. You are stronger than anyone else.’
With fear I kept on climbing boulders one after the other. More I climbed, more I was able to have grip on my feet. It was that invisible power who loved me always hold my hand and helped me to climb all the boulders successfully. Physically it was painful. But I had loved every-bit of it. Such a strange feeling. For the first time in my life I had thoroughly enjoyed doing something I was extremely scared about. That never happened to me.
My first day of Rock Climbing was over with a sense of joy that I carry till the date in my heart. I still remember that how happily I strolled in the dry paddy field at night. Behind the bamboo trees the full moon was watching me happily and the entire environment was happy and romantic. I was attracting the eyes of our instructors too.
Second Day onward – Though the first hurdle was crossed but the path was not so easy to travel. I hadn’t been introduced to the other rocks which were large, steep and with no mercy. Nothing kiddish or any foolish attempt will not be accepted.
So the next phase was far more tough to me. It was all about chimney climbing, traversing, rappelling, joomering. But by then I was an one day experienced Rock Climber. So I said myself keep walking, keep moving and keep climbing.
Then from one day to two days to three days rock climbing now it’s become a repeated practice for me. It’s a strange hobby. It’s all physical. Powerfully Physical. It made me better physically and mentally.
It preparing me for accepting even strongest challenges and teaching me how to overcome challenges and handle difficult situation in every aspect of my life. The core thought process that I extracted from this new experience is patience and discipline.
“Difficult routes demand everything of your core, tendons and your ability to mentally focus on one, arguably pointless goal. There is no monetary reward, only a sublime, temporary feeling of achievement, then on to the next… on to the next. Your goals are your own. They are singularly yours. They do not belong to anyone else; they aren’t comparable. You are hauling your own physical body up a per-determined route. Only you are responsible for the success or failure of this endeavor…”
It’s pointless to discuss that what I am going to achieve by doing rock climbing which can even lead to death of a person. Well I am not going to achieve anything neither I am going to participate in any professional competition. There is no reward indeed. This is my journey I am solely responsible for continuing this. There is no competition with anyone. The competition is my own. I want to reach the next phase of it for the sake of experiencing it. I am addicted to it now. I am gonna back to those rocks soon. I am enjoying every bit of this life.
… Journey Continues so far. It’s now three months that I am practicing Rock Climbing almost back to back every weekend. I no longer scared of rocks. I am deeply in love with them. They loved me back too. I hugged the strong rocks and they hold me back with their love too. I admire their raw and wild beauty and they helped flourishing my beauty too. I look so good on top of rocks and my combination with those strong masculine rocks are awe-inspiring.
Rock Climbing at Mathaburu Hills Purulia
Rock Climbing at Susunia Bankura