Shekar Goud, a Hyderabadi working as a medical record assistant, was part of a seven-member team led by Bharat Tammineni (of Boots and Crampons) to scale the highest peak in Russia. He becomes India’s first triple amputee to scale the 15,500-ft tall Mount Elbrus.
“I wanted to challenge anyone who thinks people with disability cannot do anything, and to prove my detractors wrong, showing that impossible is indeed nothing,” shares the 28-year-old, who had long endured ridicule from people for his disability.
“I wondered why I wasn’t treated on par with others. I realised I wanted to prove that I am disabled physically, not mentally,” states Shekar.
A triple amputee had lost his left leg, toes on his right foot and his right hand to an accidentwhen he was 18 years old. He was talking on the phone when he accidentally slipped from the wall he sat on and was electrocuted.
Then on, his willingness to prove others wrong and his innate passion to succeed drove him to dabble in different adventure sports. “I wanted to give something back to my family, who have sacrificed a lot for me,” adds Shekar, whose father is a truck driver and mother, a daily-wage labourer.
Summiting the lows of life
The 17-hour expedition, a trial for even a healthy person, was a tale of great endurance to Shekar. “I’d tear up whenever the extreme weather conditions and high altitude troubled my leg. But I took it up as a challenge,” says the spirited youngster, for whom hoisting the Indian Tricolour at the summit was the most gratifying moment. Yet, the power of his determination was something Shekar took a while to understand. “I couldn’t take the pressures of being bedridden for a few months after the accident,” recalls the mountaineer, who’d attempted suicide twice. But he found hope in Swami Vivekananda’s lessons.
Soon, even his hecklers began applauding him. “That gave me a high,” reveals Shekar, who besides making strides on perilous mountain tops is an accomplished marathoner and a long-distance cyclist.
But as elated as he is with his accomplishments, Shekar, who’s eying to scale Kilimanjaro next, also laments the lack of recognition for him. “My own village doesn’t know about my achievement. Sometimes, I feel let down,” says Shekar, who credits his bother Lingaswamy and thanks Dr Manishgour and Dr Mohan Gandhi, his friends and sponsors for all that he’s today.