An initial look at him will make you think of him as a regular techie. However, when you interact with him, you will be amazed by his recent achievements.
Meet Madurai-born Ashwin Kumar Ramasubbu, who recently scaled Mount Stok Kangri (altitude — 6,153 m), individually, without the help of a guide or a group.
Apart from this, Ashwin, who is now working in Mumbai, also raised awareness supporting jallikattu during his expedition.
In an interaction with DC, the 25-year-old speaks about the hindrances he faced, how he trained himself for mountaineering, and his future plans.
“Right from my college days, I had a fascination for travelling. But, as it had become too commercial, I didn’t pursue it back then,” starts Ashwin, adding, “But, over the past three to four years, I visited many states and learnt the art of travelling. Like many others, going to Ladakh was my dream. In order to be different and to know my real capability, I wanted to do it by myself.”
Speaking about how he prepared himself for the task, he says, “Since I’m based in Mumbai, I travelled to the surrounding hill stations and practiced mountaineering for a few months. I also watched several documentary videos and equipped myself both physically and psychologically.”
Instead of reaching Ladakh directly from Delhi, the mechanical engineering graduate decided to start his trip from Srinagar, in order to get acclimatised to increasing altitudes gradually.
“Until I reached Srinagar, I didn’t know how tense the situation was, especially around the time of Independence Day. Since Kargil was the connection point for my travel, I asked an army guard in the airport about the route to Kargil. He replied, ‘No vehicles had been plying in this region for the past 35 days,’ and I was scared.”
He goes on to say that as the roads were abandoned, he sought the help of a few localites and feels that he learnt a lot about Kashmir issues through the interaction.
During his trip towards the summit after reaching Leh, Ashwin faced several challenges — “The first mistake I made was that I was carrying about 23 kg, which is too much. I did not seek the help of a guide because I wanted to test myself, no matter what. Apart from this, I contracted high fever and even fainted twice during my mission. There was a snowstorm too. While facing these difficulties, I had only one thing in mind: ‘You don’t have to be a hero, just come back alive. You have already pushed your limits enough!”
Unmindful of all this, after reaching the peak, Ashwin says that he became emotional – “I just fell in the snow and started to cry without realising it. It is a moment I will savour till the rest of my life.”
When we ask about his effort to raise awareness in support of jallikkattu, he replies, “I had prepared placards even before my journey. Though I come from a well-off family, I was raised by my grandparents — I was intrigued by our native customs and traditions. When jallikkattu was banned, it affected me a lot.”
He adds — “Hence, when I was holding the placard and posted it in several places, foreigners got really excited to know about the custom. Apart from this, even many people from North India are completely unaware about this. I explained the misconceptions regarding jallikkattu to them.”
On a concluding note, Ashwin says, “I have in mind a big plan for the future that definitely requires support from organisations. All I can say is that I will be taking on existing social issues in all my future expeditions.”...