My Chadar Experience

I’m back from the glorified Chadar trek and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to express how I feel about the time gone by in the Himalayas. They’re way too mesmerising. “Chadar” is an Indian word for “Blanket” which in this context refers to a Blanket of Ice. I think I found my zen at 16500 ft in -30 degrees celsius. The moment I got back to the city I hated it – the people, the traffic, the noise, the heat, the chaos, the complaints, everything. It just didn’t feel right – but well this is reality I live in and here is where I have to be.

But what did the Himalayas teach me, what did the journey on the Chadar teach me, what did the people of Leh and especially the people of Zanskar teach me – here are a few things I learnt.

  1. To live life with a purpose – to have a goal and stop doing things because we got to do it or because everyone does it. I always knew this but yet kept doing things that need to be done because they needed to be done. I’ve had enough and would like to STOP. I would like to devote my life to a cause that could be to help people who need it – but who also deserve it and want it.
  2. To stop complaining and stop giving up – we all whine about things we didn’t get, places we didn’t go, stuff we didn’t do – and above all we believe that we deserved it. HA! So what that we didn’t get it, so did half the world who suffers from poverty and hunger and each day is a survival. If we think we can complain while the others who suffer greater than us have a smile – its a shame! A few years back I went through a tough patch juggling priorities while trying to make my career and – I NEVER complained; since then until now I had started to complain and give up quite a lot. This trek changed it. I gave up quite a few times in the start of the trek. Walking and trekking over mountains for about 5-8 hours each day with 14 kgs on me – I surely gave up. But what kept me going were a few things – I said to myself that what are my options – if I quit, I go back but what have I achieved; and if I keep moving where do I go and what have I conquered – I will have conquered my desire to give up. And that was it – I never gave up and hopefully I never will.Yes there are times when we all give up with our failures; we all break down; we all want to cry and shout out loud – but whats the point – time will still pass by, life will still continue and we will still need to move on. So stop, cry, shout but don’t give up. Keep on moving. I cant guarantee that all will be well but atleast you never gave up.
  3. Compete with yourself – On this trek I not only tested my endurance and my limitations but my mental ability to stay focused. This trek was 30% physical and 70% mental energy. And therefore it was a real task to go on. There were many on the trek who were stronger than me or faster than me. That did demotivate me at several points and I said to myself that I wasn’t prepared for this trek. But what kept me on was that I was doing better than what I thought I could – completing with my own self.

Apart from life’s lessons – I did bring back a lot. Initially the entire group went out there totally as strangers and as we interacted, shared, shouted, ate, laughed, pushed, walked, shivered, and shared several moments together; we became one big family. I met some of the most amazing people. What I also learnt and observed was team work and ability to work together.

I urge everyone to go through this experience one – visit Chadar and go through the entire experience. Bear in mind – its not for everyone but if you are an adventurer this is surely the thing for you.

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