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I am Bachendri Pal, First Indian Woman to Climb Mount Everest, And This is How I Work

I am Bachendri Pal, First Indian Woman to Climb Mount Everest, And This is How I Work

Not many people know that Bachendri Pal, the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest, had fear of heights for a long time. Her acrophobia was so severe that she could not look down from the terrace of her one storied house. However, it was this fear that motivated her to reach the top, quite literally, and create history. "If you want to overcome fear, face it," has since then been her mantra in life.

When everyone, who ventured on the Everest journey along with her in 1984, decided to come back after a deadly avalanche struck their camp, she decided to go ahead with her expedition. She took the fact that she escaped death as a signal from God that something bigger was waiting to happen. Thus she ended up conquering the mountains. Today she is 63 and still continues to lead many mountaineering expeditions. She is currently the director of Tata Steel Adventure Foundation that offers leadership classes to corporate and young mountaineers and this is how she works.

Current mobile device : iPhone 6S
Current computer : ThinkPad
Current Gig : Director, Tata Steel Adventure Foundation
Location : Jamshedpur
One word that best describes how you work : Positive

Tell us about your journey and how did you get where you have?

Growing up in a small village in Uttarkashi, I was clueless about the world. The turning point in my life was when late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi visited our village. I wanted to be a woman of substance, just like her. So I decided to complete my education and give my hundred per cent to it. I studied really well and completed B.A and M.A.

Women in my village were not allowed to study, so I wanted to break that pattern. I was always a dreamer. I wanted to be financially independent and be highly successful in life. It was then that renowned mountaineer, Premchand, advised me to take up mountaineering. So, I decided to give it a try and joined Indian mountaineering training academy. From there I went on to climb Mount Everest.

I went with a team of 13 men and women. But after a deadly avalanche everybody with me went back. Some were wounded and some were demotivated. However, I went ahead. I went up and up just keeping the top as target. I didn't focus on facts like I was 24,000 feet above or that I was climbing an 80 degree slope or that I was in deadly freezing temperature. I didn't look at the dead bodies on the way. Even when I reached "Death Zone" I knew I would come back alive. And I did.

What is the current project you are involved in?

After this interview I am heading to Everest base camp to motivate an all-women team to fulfill their Everest dream. I have trained them and I want to see them off with a positive frame of mind. I also take regular leadership classes for corporate.

What is your success mantra?

I am always committed to what I do. I give my hundred per cent to everything I do. I don't give space to any negative thoughts in my head. In every situation, I always look for something positive.

What is the best advice you have received till now?

It should be the one by Indira Gandhi. She awarded me for becoming the first woman to climb Mount Everest and said, "I want you to spread courage and create 100s of Bachendris in India". I have only been doing that since then.

What is the one word that best describes how you work?

You might think that I would say that I am fearless. No, I am not fearless. As I said I had fear of heights. If there is one word that best describes me, it would be 'dreamer'. I keep dreaming big. Even now my aim is to encourage women to take up mountaineering. Why don't you take up mountaineering? (She asks me).

(Also read: I Am Peyush Bansal, CEO Of Lenskart, And This Is How I Work)

What are you currently reading? A novel, comic book, website, magazine? Or what's something you'd recommend?

I'm not much into reading. The only thing I read is people around me and their behavior patterns. Whatever I am today is what I have learnt from everyone in my life. My brother worked with Border Security Force. So, whenever I met his colleagues, I would observe the way they spoke, ate and behaved. I learnt a lot from them at a very early age.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without and why?

I have always believed in fitness. Only a fit woman can conquer the world. So, the gadget I love is my Fitbit. It encourages me to keep a check on calories I burn through my workouts.

How do you recharge? What do you do when you want to forget about work?

Spending time with my extended family is my ultimate idea of joy. We have many kids in our family and they are a riot. I feel totally at peace when I am with them. I become a child again with them.

What's your sleep routine like? Are you a night owl or early-riser?

I go to bed early and wake up early. All mountaineers do that. That is because we do the maximum climbing early in the morning. And that makes me hit the bed early too.

What's your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?

I take lot of train journeys as I keep travelling to the mountains. I use that time to finish lot of my work. I also utilize that time to write down my future plans and dreams.

What is one advice you would like to offer to all mountaineers with an Everest dream?

Always remember that the worst thing prepares you for the best. Stay focused on your target. Don't let negative thoughts spoil your dreams. Change your thoughts and they will change your life.

(Also read: I Am Deepak Chhabra, CEO Of Crocs India, And This Is How I Work)

(Image Credit: Indiatimes)

The How I Work series asks heroes, experts, and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more. Have someone you want to see featured, or questions you think we should ask? Email Ishita.

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