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Women mountaineers share their journey to the top

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Jamshedpur : It proved to be a motivational as well as brainstorming session for more than 1000 students of 59 schools in and around Jamshedpur to draw inspiration from the success stories of three women India’s first amputee mountaineer, Arunima Sinha as she along with her mentor Bachendri Pal and Jharkhand’s first and India’s oldest women to scale Mt Everest Premlata Agarwal.

The occasion was Sky is the Limit, an interactive programme organised by the Tata Business Excellence Group at the Fasy auditorium in Loyola School today.

Recollecting from her rich experiences, Premlata Agarwal spoke about her challenge to conquer the peak at an older age. Agarwal spoke about her challenges yet the extra-ordinary journey of climbing Mt. Everest.

“My family has been my inspiration and pillar of strength in my forays into the exciting and dangerous world of adventure sports. Otherwise climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, Mt Aconcagua, and Mt Everest would only have remained a distant dream,” she noted.

Sharing nostalgic moments of her life she recounted: “I just used to JRD Tata Sports Complex just for my evening walks.

However, during one of my visits I came across an Adventure Sports Foundation nestled in the stadium. I met Bachendri Pal and her personality inspired me to follow her route and the rest as it is said is history”.

A short documentary was also screened before the programme began. Students also questioned the three ladies. The questions ranged from whether they felt to withdraw while they were on this journey to the peak or what these mountaineers would have liked to suggest their parents to let their children follow dreams and how did they manage their family with this goal.

“I must say that we have only 24 hours in a day and that is same for everybody. Whatever we do manage time wisely. So it’s time management. I as a mother, a wife have done it and I think all can do the same,” said Agarwal on a question being asked the way she managed family and mountaineering together.

Prior to this, N K Sharan, vice president, Tata Business Excellence Group provided the background behind the initiative. Ruchi Narendran, executive committee member of Tata Education Excellence Programme (TEEP) Jitu Singh, professor, XLRI and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

A woman of indomitable spirit, Arunima Sinha who scaled Mt. Everest and became the first differently-abled woman in India to conquer the highest peak, encouraged the participants to challenge themselves, aim for the extra-ordinary as opposed to the average. She reinforced the importance of making repeated attempts, to strengthen your resolve with every failure you’re faced with, until you emerge a winner.

“Victory is in the attitude you carry during the pursuit of your dream, it’s not merely the act of achieving something. Our ability never restricts us, our thoughts do. Don’t be afraid to fail,” she noted.

She said that the journey to Mount Everest started when she was at the trauma centre in AIIMS, Delhi. She was thrown out of the train because she resisted a crime and later she got to know that she was there on the tracks for seven hours with 49 trains which had already crossed that route. “I realised if I was alive, it was for a purpose. We all have qualities but everybody doesn’t recognise it. For me the best moment was scaling Mount Everest, for you there may be something else,” said Sinha while speaking to students.

Bachendri Pal, who is also the chief, Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF) said that her journey began after conquering Mount Everest. “I had climbed the highest peak but then what. In a male dominated arena, I decided to lead others those who wanted to reach that peak”.

Bachendri Pal, Premlata Agrawal and Arunima Sinha answered over 20 questions from students. The questions covered a wide range of topics from leadership qualities, challenges faced, interests and career choices, parental pressures, turning points in childhood and student experiences.

Inspired by Tata Steel’s “Window on the World” programme, Tata Business Excellence Group (formerly TQMS ) had started a platform called “ SKILL-Sky is the Limit” for senior school children at Jamshedpur under its Education Excellence Programme (TEEP).

The objective of this initiative is to enable students to interact with accomplished personalities and derive inspiration from them.

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