On 26th June 2018, I attended an event organized by Sandeep Kochhar and team; and during the event was thinking whether would I have done this 5/6 years before. And the answer is definitely no. So what has changed in these 5 years which made me register for such an event where I would be meeting people whom I don’t know personally, talking to some whom I met over the cloud only.
I was searching for an answer and finally discovered that such step was possible since I stopped wearing customized masks for last few years. We all in our life have to wear different masks for different occasions – some we wear to satisfy our parents, some to please our spouse, some to make fun with friends, some to satisfy our bosses, some to please society, and over the years, these masks make us forget our own self, own identity; and that makes us someone else we unsuccessfully pretend to be. This also makes us worry fearing what will happen if somehow our own self, however beautiful or acceptable it is, is exposed, or which mask to wear when going to a place I never been to or meeting someone I never met. And there our own mask only can save us and present the truth to others.
Removing such masks is not so easy and needs some courage. I still remember the day I stopped wearing the masks. It was a 15 seconds moment on 23rd May 2014 when while descending from Roopkund summit at 17k ft, I slipped and was sliding down towards the valley on slippery ice. My crampons could not stop the fall, pole went out of control and I could see death around 100 ft away and this distance was coming down with every passing second and it was quite obvious that if it continues, I will be thrown out of the cliff just like a projectile. Don’t know where from I gathered strength, somehow I just shouted and stood up and hit the snow a few times with my crampons till it stabilized. I was just 15 ft away from the edge of the mountain. I was in a trance and without realizing further, started walking and reached the camp. After a month or so, it was a nightmare for me and every now and then, I woke up with a fear engulfing me and it continued. I was not able to come out of that 15 seconds of my life and finally decided to do something.
With nightmares and sleepless nights going beyond control, I decided to go for one more trek and registered for a winter trek to Kedarkanth in December. It was a small trek but in extreme cold of around -15/-20 degree, this small trek of 5 days was also a tough one. But as I was more focussed this time to get rid of my nightmares, I knowingly took all risks and did all the actions which I could not even think of in my Roopkund trek – I walked on the edges/I did sliding on the ice where risk is involved and surprisingly after that trek, I never had that nightmare.
Reason for sharing these experiences is nothing but highlighting the very fact that when we face an extreme situation, suffer for the very vital necessity, we mentally become strong as nothing worse can happen and can stop wearing those masks we wear to make others happy. Rather if we start liking and believing our own self, we will find more people loving us as we are. And even if we don’t find anyone, still we can be happy as we are answerable more to our own self than to become a “Loving Thing” of someone else.
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