I started enjoying the mountains more than 40 years ago. At that time, thoughts of any related honors were far from my mind. The exhilaration and natural beauty of being in the mountains was good enough. I lived in a busy, populous city, Mumbai, India and the need to escape to the mountains was intense. At that time, there was no asking why I felt such a strong desire to go. The questions came much later. But we know, there are no easy answers, if any.
It all started with hiking in the Western Ghats, a mountain range near Mumbai, as a young schoolboy, followed by my first visit to the Himalaya in 1962. I have continued with annual climbing trips to the Himalaya ever since. What started as a physical challenge, soon turned into an intellectual inquiry. Looking at a new range, across a pass or into a new valley was soon more stimulating than any climbing achievement. Later, I felt an inner need to express these experiences in writing. In fact, writing about the mountains is still almost as great a pleasure as visiting them. Like the passion to visit the mountains, I had to write when I felt the desire, there was no escape. Perhaps when this call becomes a spiritual quest then need to visit the range or write may be less compelling – but only ‘perhaps’.
In the epic Hindu scripture, Bhagavad-Gita it is said that “the splendor of the mountains reveal God more than anything else. Every deed of heroism, sacrifice and every work of dedication is a revelation. The epic moments of man’s life are inexplicably beyond the finite mind of a man.” As I recall the beauty I was fortunate enough to witness in my years of exploration due to His call, I find this to be very true.