Akriti Jamwal. Updated: 11/25/2019 1:32:06 PM People and Interviews

Sangeeta S Bahl

Sangeeta S Bahl became oldest Indian woman to summit Mt. Everest on 19 May, 2018, at age of 53, making the clichéd adage ‘age is just a number’ true. Before Mt. Everest, she had successfully climbed five peaks, in five continents in last seven years and is now striding towards accomplishing Seven Summits. She is not only a mountaineer but a successful Entrepreneur. Read on her conversation with ‘Jammu City’

2011- Mt Kilimanjaro
2013- Mt Elbrus
2014- Mt Vinson
2014- Mt McKinley ( Denali)
2015- Mt Aconcagua
2016 - Mount Kosciuszko
2018- Mt. Everest.
What is Sangeeta S Bahl up to these days?
Well, there are mainly three things I’ve been indulging in lately. One, a coffee table book, that will most likely release early next year; my experiences from my teens to the point I summit Mt. Everest constitutes this book. Two, it has been over an year now that a hard core meat eater like me has turned vegan and I believe it is my responsibility to spread my learning, so I become part of, kick-start and march forth in various events and marches. Finally, I’ve magnified my work in an organization that I started in 2015, Impact Women Power Association, which is working for uplifting vulnerable and underprivileged women by providing them skill development training. I have included animal welfare as part of activities
How has Everest changed your life?
Among many other apparent as well as subtle changes, I feel my getting inclined towards spirituality has been most impactful; I’ve been attempting to reach deeper into Vedas and understand the purpose of life. And this has been a journey in itself. Now, I start my mornings listening to Bhagwad Gita, not something that I’d have find myself doing before. I have always believed in sharing my learning and now I do that more.
You became the oldest Indian woman Everester back in 2018, at 53, defying all odds. What’s your take on the tag “Old”?
It doesn’t bother me; for me it is just a state of mind, a number. In fact, I embrace the number and add it in my motivation talks to put it forward as a reminder that it is never too late. I attended a health conference in Bangalore lately; there were doctors, nurses and other care-givers who were younger to me but looked older because even those who take care of others’ health forget to take care of themselves. When I told them I am turning 55 in few months, they were surprised. It’s all about taking care of yourself holistically.
You have been taking up various social issues and even posting online to motivate and inspire others. Is there anything you feel particularly passionate about with that respect?
Like I mentioned, I have started an NGO for women, so that, and animals. As mentioned earlier I have turned vegan and that has had an immensely positive influence in my life. I feel passionate about helping the animals and that is why I have set myself on building small houses for the stray dogs in my locality. I am striving to build more than half of their count.
Last time we spoke you mentioned about Seven Summits. Any update on that plan?
I am training hard for the Seventh Summit. But ever since I have had a spiritual bent of mind I have found myself less anxious about it. Don’t take me wrong, I am still focused and determined but I am calm and peaceful on my way towards my goal. I have realized that summits are God’s will and there’s no failure; in fact I can speak from my experiences that failures could be saviors.
Congratulations on making it into Limca book of records. What is next big goal you are eyeing on now?
There are two lists of Seven-Summits and I aspire to achieve both of them. Other major thing I am looking forward to is climbing up the Everest base camp with my 77 year old mother, Indu Sindhi, in first week of April. She has been insisting to be part of mountaineering adventure and her feat would be my accomplishment as well.
What do you love the most about Jammu?
Although I’ve settled in Delhi now, Jammu never ceased to give me sense of familiarity and belonging. I connect with the place and find myself embraced in immense love and warmth that this place has showered me with; so, it is the people that I Love. Also, I cannot miss to mention that I love the food, when I am talking about the things I love about Jammu.
Anything you want to mention to people of Jammu?
I’ve noticed that most of the people in Jammu let go of themselves and have stop caring about their bodies and general health. The consumption of alcohol is high and every other person is pot bellied. This must not be the case. Jammu must learn to take care of its health. Make exercise and healthy diet a priority. Also, start participating in marathons and other such events of physical activity.

Updated On 11/25/2019 1:32:58 PM

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