- 17 Jun 2019
"I was born in a small town in Telangana. My father is an auto driver and worked very hard to send me to school. When I got an engineering seat, I couldn't join because it was too expensive for us. So I did my diploma and started working in a company. Meanwhile, I participated in a 10k run and came first. That was the start of a journey that I'd never imagined. The local administrative representatives encouraged me to join the Bhongir Rock Climbing School and then try mountaineering. After a brief course, I set out to climb Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro. I had no professional training in mountaineering and the little I knew was because I practised on the small hills of Bhongir. Just travelling all the way to Africa was a dream come true. It was a 10 day trek and I was accompanied by two others from Andhra Pradesh and a local guide. The day I landed at the starting point, I was nervous. I was doing something for the first time in my life in a different country. As we began trekking higher, the oxygen levels fell and we could see the effects it had. Breathing got difficult and energy levels also kept falling. At one point, a fellow mountaineer dropped out and that scared us a bit. But I came so far and this was the only chance I had to accomplish this. I gave myself all the strength and reached the peak in 7 days - ahead of the actual schedule. As I stood there, on the highest peak of Africa, everything seemed surreal. I couldn't believe all this happened and I achieved something I never even thought about. It's a journey I didn't plan but I'm so happy it happened. It opened me up to many more things. The experience taught me so much about life. My parents were worried for the 7 days when there were no signals but the moment I told them I did this, they were extremely happy and proud. No matter what our financial status was and where we came from, they always encouraged me to do what I want. My next target is Mount Everest. It's only my parents and their strength that keeps me going. They're the reason for who I am today and what I'm doing."
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