The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it. And glory it was along with a moment of extreme pride when India’s daughter, an IPS officer, Aparna Kumar scaled new heights and conquered Antarctica and became the first Indian woman officer visiting the South Pole.
This arduous task was doubly difficult as she had recently recovered from pneumonia. However, this did not prove to be a deterrent to her free and courageous spirit, and the support of her wonderful spouse simply boosted her morale and confidence pushing her to attain the unachievable.
Mission Visiting the South Pole!
Believing in the saying that “great things are done when men and mountains meet; not by just jostling in the street”, Aparna set out to conquer the highest peaks of all the 7 continents. Prior to Antarctica, she had already scaled six mountain peaks of the six other continents of the globe.
High-speed icy wind, bouts of frostbite, chest congestion, a 35 kgs equipment on her back and a broken pair of prescribed specs, just added to the obstacles, mother nature threw in her face, especially as she gained altitude. However, braving these she skied up to eight hours a day at a temperature of minus 40 degrees Celsius.
Antarctica is the driest and coldest place on earth. With constant dynamic weather, mostly cloudy, icy snowy and windy, it is a constant struggle to simply survive there in such extreme conditions. Aparna bore the terrible cold and fear of frostbite and wore double mitts to avoid the same. She continued her drugs for pneumonia and constantly tried keeping her body warm. While others, including her guide, had to leave mid-way due to ill-health, she continued to trudge through 111 km of snow and extreme cold she successfully reached the South Pole where she proudly unfurled the Indian Flag, the Tricolour, making the nation proud.
Having completed all 7 summits, she has accomplished what no other officer could. A woman of grit, passion, and endurance, Aparna is surely an inspiration to all, women men alike of all ages. There is so much to learn from all her expeditions. One should not shy away from adverse or extreme situations. Only when we face a crisis head-on are we able to overcome it. As Sir Edmund Hillary put it, “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves”.
Image: ITBP Facebook
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