“Deewaro ke bhi kaan hote hai” they say. Well, my wall has much more than that. The Podar rock climbing wall or my everyday post office hangout has a zeal which keeps me driven!
I started rock climbing in 2004. Most people didn’t know it was a sport then. Most don’t know it now either. But that doesn’t affect my love for the sport.
My first tryst with rock-climbing was during a RSS camp at Telbaila, a trek more popular with amateurs. After looking at the rock-face I decided to climb it up in hiking shoes without any protection. A group of professional climbers seeing a spark in me, suggested I go to an indoor climbing facility back at Pune and learn the ropes of climbing.
After a lot of chasing around and being shunted about, I finally found my first practice arena in a quarry behind Ferguson college, Pune. I would cycle 15 kms daily to reach there and would spend hours on improving my skills. The first time I participated in the zonal competition at Jaipur, I lied at home about making it to the finals despite it being a qualification round. 2000 rupees was a big amount to shell out for my mother. I failed miserably. But then if failures would have deterred me, I wouldn’t have made it to the nine national competitions and won the multiple climbing competitions that I have over the last decade.
I’ve never taken rest days. Climbing has taught me to be humble, to never underestimate a competitor or a route, to observe and not just to see. I’ve learnt that in this sport, its not the fastest or the strongest guy who wins but the guy with the strongest desire and the best technique who eventually does.
The climbing community, though small, has been extremely kind to me. I remember once practising with a Spanish climber and not being able to complete the route because of my torn shoes. Few weeks later, I found a parcel delivered at home from Spain with 16 pairs of the best climbing shoes.
In my own way, I try to contribute to the community as well. Over the years, I’ve trained young climbers for competitions, most of them from underprivileged households, with nothing but a burning desire. Today, I am more happy to take a backseat and see them winning competitions!
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