After working for 10 years with the Indian Air Force, Squadron Leader Toolika Rani took a premature retirement in 2015 to pursue her passion for mountaineering.
“Apart from my family and few friends, others call me crazy to quit a financially secure job to roam around the mountains,” says Toolika.
In 2012, Toolika became the first woman from UP to climb Mt Everest. But when people came to know she spent Rs 21 lakh — her and her parents’ entire savings — they were baffled.
“The choices I make are unconventional in a society that emphasises on fulfilling financial security and then pursuing one’s passion and hobbies. Apart from the fact that I love to travel, I am in awe of the feeling when I stand in front of a gigantic mountain. It’s there that I am taught to be humble and appreciate the beauty around us,” says Toolika, who has already been on two expeditions this year — Mt Annapurna Base Camp and Mt Kilimanjaro.