Facing adversities of life: Two years back in April 2011, Arunima Sinha, a national level volleyball player in India, was travelling in a train where a gang of hoodlums tried to snatch her bag and her chain. Being a brave girl she pounced on them to save herself but being alone she was overpowered by them and they just threw her off the moving train. While getting up she was hit by another passing train and received serious bodily injuries. She was taken to hospital by some other young man. The doctors in order to save her life had no other option but to cut her one leg below the knee and put rod in another leg.
Challenging herself: Fighting the trauma of amputation and tired of being shown pity by visitors, Sinha decided to challenge herself by doing something which is unthinkable for even the able-bodied persons: scaling the Mount Everest, the highest mountain peak in the world, 8848 meters above sea level and where every mistake has to be paid with life. In an interview to TV channel she said, “..I never wanted myself to be seen as a handicap or a helpless person, so I decided to conquer Mt Everest while I was still in the hospital...I decided to do something that would inspire others....I decided to challenge myself with the toughest sport.”
Preparing for adventure of life: After resolving to reach the top of Everest and getting an artificial leg, Arunima Sinha underwent a gruelling physical and mental training regimen for almost one year under the guidance of Bachendri Pal, the first Indian woman to scale Mount Everest. Before Arunima, one American amputee woman 61 years old Rhonda Graham had also scaled Mt. Everest in 2011. On 1st April 2013 Arunima Sinha started her ascent to the peak of Everest as a part of the Tata Group sponsored expedition.
Struggle and victory: The journey was full of struggle, physically as well as mentally. Due to her artificial leg she had to struggle more than normal mountaineers. Rough climb and unpredictable weather had made the gel in her prosthetic leg slip out and bleeding had started but she could not either remove her gloves or bare her leg for fear of severe frost bites. But showing exemplary will power, she endured. During her ascent she saw bodies of some mountaineers who had had fallen while reaching their dream destination. One climber even died before her eyes because of losing his oxygen supply. At one time the oxygen in one of her cylinder also had decreased fast and her team members advised her to return but her grit and determination strengthened her to refuse to give up. After 52 days, on 21 May 2013, she reached the summit, becoming first Indian female amputee to scale Everest.
Inspiration for others: Arunima Sinha’s victory is an inspiration for all who tend to lose hope facing adversities in life. Arunima made her physical weakness a source of her mental strength. Her legs were broken but she strengthened her spirits. She proved that more than physical attributes our inner courage, mental strength and will power help us win the struggles of life. When everything seems lost, we must not lose hope that we can still make something out of life. When there was no guarantee of success of Everest expedition for a person like Arunima, she took a leap of faith and defying all odds, achieved success which will definitely inspire every human being.
As Rhonda Graham, the first amputee woman to scale the Mount Everest says, "A leg does not define you. This leg does not make me who I am. I have my heart and my soul - without the leg or with the leg. ....I want people to realize they're still who they were before the amputation. I consider myself modified, and think that most people don't get out of this world without being modified in some way.”
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Written by: Ashok Kumar