P.C. Raj Dey
On one of my trips, someone once asked me: What do you prefer over the other? Mountains or beaches?
Well, for me, the mountains have always been home. I like gazing at the pristine blue water and walking on the golden sand, but that feeling of the chilly wind in my hair while I stand tall on the edge of a cliff is but above all. I love the seclusion of mountains where nature has not been manipulated by the hands of modern man.
I left home for my first solo trip, at the age of 17, to Meghalaya and since then I've only realised it more and more that my love for the mountains is much beyond seeing those mighty peaks or snow-clad ranges. It's more about the remoteness of those places where mobile networks struggle to protrude.
It's about the montane aura, the humble people and their modest livelihoods far far away from all the modernisms. It's more about waking up amidst the mist, with the view of the lofty Kanchenjungha penetrating the clouds. And above all, it's about trekking through trails less travelled only to be on top of those huge mountains that are much larger, much older and much wiser than me. That gives me a sense of achievement comparable to none.
And walking through these picturesque mountains over all these years has bestowed me with enormous knowledge, wisdom and life lessons that no book ever could. These lessons from the mountains have played a role bigger than those four walls of my classroom in shaping who I am today.
P.C. Anitirtha Mustafi
1. Overcome Your Fears
The steep cliffs, the forbidding peaks and the deadly cold are just some of the few dangers that we stand barely exposed to when in the mountains. But, once you overcome these obstacles to stand at the peak of a mountain, there's nothing as exhilarating as that moment.
2. Hard Work Always Pays Off
Climbing a mountain while battling unpredictable weather in a zone of thin oxygen is definitely strenuous. But the views from the top and the satisfaction of the moment really pay off.
3. Love The Journey As Much As The Destination
The journey might seem way too hard sometimes. But you've got to fasten your laces and pull your socks up because in the end, know that it's going to be much more than what you'd signed up for.
4. Take The Roads Less Travelled
And don't be afraid while doing that. Routes where you feel lost at the moment will lead to a beautiful destination you never thought existed. Believe in yourself: It's absolutely okay not to have a plan for everything.
5. But Preparation, At Times, Is The Key
While climbing high-altitude mountains, your preparation could draw the differentiating line between life and death. It's mandatory to have the necessary water, food supplies, proper warm clothing and, most importantly, the requisite knowledge. If one is missing, your adventure could end up in tragedy. Isn't it the same with life?
6. Stop Being Too Heavy On Yourself
The secret to travelling in the mountains is travelling light. You need to carry only what is of utmost importance to live (read, survive). It's pretty much the same for life-you leave the irrelevant behind, rise above it and never stop moving forward.
P.C. Jitaditya Ghosh
7. Admire Silence
It can be the most satisfying sound to hear sometimes. And it's in utter silence that you hear the reflections of your beautiful mind-the beautiful stories it houses.
8. Respect Every Small Thing In Life
Remember how grateful you were to every single bite of food while you were climbing that desolate peak? Mountains teach you to be grateful for everything in life, big or small. And remember having a steamy chai in that worn-out, montane hut with the locals? Or that night in the tent under the starry sky? The best things in life do not always come at a cost.
9. Don't Ever Give Up
You know, once you're in the mountains, giving up is not an option.
10. You Owe Everything To Nature
Those beautiful flowers, the sparkling streams, the majestic waterfalls and the mighty snow-veiled peaks-everything that we get to cherish around is a blessing in the form of nature's gift. Don't mercilessly ruin it!
I've often compared a demanding hike with the difficulties of life: Both can be dealt with a lot of patience, sharpened skills and, of course, some luck. The ones above are just a handful of lessons that mountains have taught me over all these years of trekking across uncharted geographies in extreme altitudes.
And it's the same mountains that brought me to one of my life's biggest realisations, a great lesson that school would have never taught me or anyone else: Maybe, you know, maybe home is a place we have not been to yet.
Share with us what impact mountains have had on you and your life. Or for any other travel-related queries, reach out to us any time just by dropping your message in the comments section below.