While conquering Mt Everest may be the ultimate dream for many, Radhika Gollapalli Rama Murthy completed it in her early days of mountaineering. The Chittoor district Additional SP recently completed the ‘Five Summit’ expedition, scaling Mt Everest (Nepal), Elbrus (Europe), Mount Kosciuszko (Australia), Kilimanjaro (Africa) and just recently, Aconcagua (Argentina). Recalling how mountaineering always fascinated her, Radhika shares, “I went to the Manasarovar yaatra in 2012. It inspired me and gave me the confidence to do mountaineering. Soon, I underwent endurance training for 45 days at Gulmarg to see if my body could sustain extreme cold temperatures. I managed to complete all the three levels and got an A grade.”
Her first expedition was in 2013 when she climbed Mt Everest, followed by Kilimanjaro. Later, she also completed the expeditions of Mt Kosciuszko, (Australia), and Elbrus (Europe).
“These expeditions made me realise that everything in life is temporary, that we need to enjoy the little moments and inculcate humility. We feel proud and arrogant, but we are nothing when it comes to nature,” says Radhika, adding, “I also got the opportunity to experience different cultures. It made me broad-minded.”
Admitting that staying away from family was tough, she asserts that women have great opportunities even after marriage. “If you are determined and set goals that are realistic, you can achieve anything. Women are capable of doing anything even after marriage. There’s a lot more to life beyond being a homemaker and opportunities for women abound if they just explore,” she says.
Notably, Radhika is the first Indian woman police officer to complete the Five Summit Peaks (2018), the Aussie 10 Peak Challenge and Mt Everest in May 2013. And she credits her family for her success.
“My husband is a businessman from Anantapur. He always supports me and takes care of the kids and other domestic work too,” she shares, adding, “When I started mountaineering, I was afraid of missing them too much, but slowly I got used to it. If you want something in life, you need to sacrifice certain things. Now they are grown up, my elder son is a third year B. Tech student while my younger son is in Class X, so they understand me.” Interestingly, Radhika worked as a lecturer before joining the police department, against the advice of many who urged her not to leave a comfortable faculty job for policing.
“Many discouraged me not to join the department. But I was also an NSS programme officer in my faculty days, so I wanted to get into social service to expand my horizons and not restrict myself to just students,” she explains....