Sunday, February 19, 2017


There is, always, an inspiring story behind every journey we embark upon… every mountain we resolve to climb… Like a little child, I am perennially curious to hear this story… the story behind why people climb mountains and why they sweat through the deserts… and why they brave those storms in the rough seas!

 Pic.: Shaping Yin

I had taught Chetna more than twenty years ago. She was in her final year B.Com. I got in touch with her only a couple of years ago, when we got connected on FB. By now, Chetna had permanently settled in the US with her family. Just as my thirst for blogging makes me visible on FB - and invariably everything I do on FB revolves around my blog posts – I could sense quickly that Chetna’s reason to be active on FB was her hunger to journey through the mountains in the beautiful land called America… Barring her occasional pictures of her adorable daughter, Sana, and vivacious sisters – yes, barring those occasional ‘other stories’ – Chetna’s daily stories revolved around her mountain treks… What would bring smile on my face was that many of her candid pictures were captured by her fellow adventurers – like Hakim, Shaping Yin, Jerry, (about whom I only learnt through Chetna’s descriptions) in impressive sarees!

“Sarees on the mountains!” So often I have smiled in my heart… “Probably, this must have been the lady Mark Twain had seen while writing his famous words, “Life is short… Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile!”

A couple of weeks ago, Chetna shared in my FB inbox a video of her journey produced by one of her fellow hikers, Hakim. She wrote, “GM Sir just sharing a video of my hiking journey of last year. You have always been so positive and encouraging. Thought I would share it with you before I share with everyone else. Let me know what you think of it. Thanks Sir.”

I was impressed and immediately urged Chetna to publish it with a brief story behind her mountain-calling. I knew, to keep doing what you do, day after day, and year after year, there must be a strong reason… No man and no woman climb mountains unless something strong has compelled him or her. So, I wanted Chetna to share that story…

“There ‘is’ a story, sir, and it still needs to unfold,” Chetna replied to me, “but I am just sharing the journey.”

What is Chetna’s story? Well, as she said, the journey is important as of now… not the story, not the reason… If the journey has brought a smile on your face, that’s worth it all the way… Life, indeed, is short… why waste it with regrets and self-pity... why waste in with blame and anger… why waste it with thanklessness and abuse… yes, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably… and never ever regret anything that made you smile along your journey… through the mountains, rivers and  deserts of life.

I am happy that Chetna does it like a wonder-struck child, along with her buoyant friends… Shaping, Hakim, Jerry and so many of them… I am happy that she and her friends have heeded to that calling of the mountains… and chosen to celebrate Life.

Thanks Chetna and all your lovely friends for inspiring that smile in our hearts, too… Yes, day after day.

Pic.; Hakim

Pic. (First): Shaping Yin

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