Everyone I have spoken to since the day this solo Trans-Himalayan cycle trip of mine became public knowledge, has asked me this question at least once – “Why?”
And my answer is a very clichéd – why not?
Today, as I enter Nepal after completing the first phase of my #RideForChildRights with CRY – Child Rights and You, I have already completed more than 1500 km in twenty days. And yes, I feel good.
To say that this journey is special is an understatement. There are very few people who have attempted to cycle through this entire Himalayan stretch. Cycling in the Himalayas is a different thing. But this solo unaided ride through three different countries (India, Nepal and Bhutan) … I am sure this is a first. Moreover, this journey is not just about cycling through the mountains. What I will attempt to do over these four months is to build a relationship with the people of the mountains, with their culture, with their lives. For me, however, this ride stands out because I am doing it for the children of my country.
In my fifteen years experience in mountaineering, I have observed very closely that under every circumstance, and especially when the situations are not conducive, like living in the mountains, it is the children who are the most vulnerable. This has always made me do something for them. And while I have always been very actively involved with the children of the mountains, I have always wondered how a single person could make a sizeable impact.
I very firmly believe that education has the power to transform abilities to possibilities – and I have always felt so about children who live in the mountains. When I was planning this trip, I came to know that CRY is launching “School the Spark” – their initiative to ensure the right to education to more than 2.5 lakh children in their intervention areas.
I was supposed to begin my journey from Sri Nagar. But due to political unrest and the curfew there, I changed my plans and started from Kishtwar (in Jammu and Kashmir). On my way, I have already covered the Kishtwar – Keylong road, one of the most dangerous mountain trails in the world. I have encountered landslides on my way punctuated by spells of torrential rains.
And that brings me to the question again – why am I doing this?
To answer it very simply – I am doing this #RideForChildRights to raise awareness about the importance of education. Because children of our country face many hurdles to get what is rightfully theirs. Just like the natural hazards I am facing on my way, our children face innumerable barriers to education.
So why not? Why not reach out to people to just say that I am doing what I do best to help children – won’t you?
To know more about my journey and to keep track,click here.