25 Mar 2018 18:06 IST

The torturous journey from paralysis to Everest base camp

It takes a lot of mental strength to refuse to give in to problems

Book: Mind over Mountain: A Corporate Leader’s Journey

Author: Hari Kumar

Publisher: Konark Publishers

Pages: 267

Price: ₹395

What happens when the body we take for granted turns its back on us? What are the choices a person is left with when life hits him or her hard? Life is unpredictable and can completely turn a person’s fortune in a few moments.

Take the case of Hari Kumar. A successful corporate leader, living a fast-paced life and flying between countries for work, Kumar’s life comes to a screeching halt as he lands in hospital after a paralytic attack. Immobile and in immense pain, he makes a promise to himself that he would fight his condition, get back on his feet and head for nothing less than the Everest Base Camp.

In trying times, we succumb to the pain that we go through and tend to surrender to our situation. However, it takes a lot of mental strength to refuse to give in to problems of the kind Kumar had.

He didn’t let his determination falter and took his pain as a challenge, recovered partially from it and pushed himself to undertake the daunting task of trekking through the Himalayas.

Mind over Mountain... is not only about fighting through our pain, however major or minor it might be, but also about believing that the mind is stronger than we give it credit for and how, if we push ourselves, even mountains can be overcome.

The journey wasn’t smooth. “Those days of rehab have been the most tearful in my life, a result of both the sheer physical pain and the emotional rollercoaster I experienced. It was not a journey to getting back to normality. It was a journey of learning to adapt to the new reality and making the best of it,” Hari Kumar writes.

After his partial recovery, he consulted his doctor and chalked out a detailed plan to embark on his journey to the Everest Base Camp, with a team of four companions.

Through his journey, the blinding pain sometimes made his eyes water. The pain, coupled with the biting cold up in the mountains and altitude sickness, made the task unbearable at times and seemingly impossible to complete. But Hari Kumar never gave up and ultimately his hard work paid off.

Though one of his friends gave up almost at the start of the trip, he didn’t get disheartened but made sure that the others, including him, could achieve their goal without further obstacles.

Hari Kumar’s book is, no doubt, an inspiration, but the author tends to philosophise a lot and this is a big distraction as readers would rather focus on his story.

Another aspect that is a put-off is his constant comparison of the snow-capped Himalayas, the freezing weather and the natural beauty all round to places in the US, an aspect that not many readers will be able to relate to.

There is yet another distraction. There are boxes with sentences in bold and way-too-bigger font that occupy a part of the page, hindering the otherwise smooth flow of the story. They are from the story itself and so their presence is unwanted and unnecessary.

But on the whole, the book brims with positivity and could be a genuine inspiration to all who get cowed down by trying times.