A reality check on trekking

The 2013 Bollywood film, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, had a bunch of scenes set on snow-capped mountains and included a little bit of trekking. But it portrayed a terribly wrong picture of trekking. Bharti Arora, who has made the trekking world a big part of her life, throws some light on where the movie went wrong. Here’s a reality check, Bollywood.

Yeh jawaani nahi hai gawaani

I have been a movie lover ever since I can imagine. I was the friend in Dil Chahta Hai, the lover in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, the passionate Ranchod in 3 Idiots, the traveler in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.

Recently, when I saw the much awaited, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, I have to admit even my indulgent movie sense was alarmed. The movie was a total misnomer of the trekking world that I love so much.

I am no Bollywood critic, but having known the world of mountains for a while, it was very hard to digest what I saw on screen. It was not the thought of exploring the mountains in the storyline that worried me; it was the blatant ignorance – an ignorance that could come with a heavy price.

Here are some things in the movie that really left me dumbfounded. I also offer a few suggestions that can make you trek better.

Yeh jawaani nahi hai gawaani

I have been a movie lover ever since I can imagine. I was the friend in Dil Chahta Hai, the lover in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, the passionate Ranchod in 3 Idiots, the traveler in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.

Recently, when I saw the much awaited, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, I have to admit even my indulgent movie sense was alarmed. The movie was a total misnomer of the trekking world that I love so much.

I am no Bollywood critic, but having known the world of mountains for a while, it was very hard to digest what I saw on screen. It was not the thought of exploring the mountains in the storyline that worried me; it was the blatant ignorance – an ignorance that could come with a heavy price.

Here are some things in the movie that really left me dumbfounded. I also offer a few suggestions that can make you trek better.

Tone it down on the skin showing

You are about to start the trek and what do we see? Short skirts and leather boots! There are multiple Bollywood films that showcase actresses in short dresses and boots. Off the top of my head, I can remember Kajol dancing to Zara Sa Jhoom Loon Mein in the Swiss Alps wearing a sleeveless red dress and black boots. This was a scene from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. On an average Himalayan trek, you hike up to 12,000 ft and you do not do so in short, fashionably correct, hot pants and leather boots. Shoes and your trekking gear are two of the most important things to look into before you plan a trek. The temperatures you experience are extreme and climbs are steep. Be well-equipped for the trek before you start.

 We are not talking about picnics and teenage party camps here

A trek in the Himalayas is a treat for your soul. The sound of gushing river, the whistle of the wind and chirping birds put silence in your minds. Simply put, it is the highest form of love-affair. There is a reason why people have meditated in these majestic mountains since aeons. Don’t cloud this with the image of a picnic spot, filled with drinks and party sights. This is not the reason and purpose of a trek.

Drink and trek. Really?

About to start for a 16,000 ft climb? “Let me just gulp some alcohol for quick energy!” I’ll be blunt here: you could die if you attempt this. Unlike popular belief that alcohol can make it easy to face extreme conditions, the truth is alcohol can lead to AMS – High Altitude Mountain Sickness, which can be fatal. You are at altitudes where oxygen is scarce and alcohol intake makes your body extremely dehydrated, making it harder for oxygen supply to reach your brain. If drinking and drive is not safe, drinking and trekking can be suicidal.

Self-decided missions

Unlike the story of a movie, leaving for self decided missions without enough information and equipment can turn out to be a mis-adventure. You could get lost and spend the rest of your life at the foot of a cliff.

I am not against explorations, but it is important to be well-read about the trail and the terrain before setting out. Even our experienced trek leaders have been stuck at high altitudes not knowing which way to go. Know how to use a GPS and plan for unforeseen emergencies.

Trekking is a good adventure when planned and a dangerous gamble if taken lightly. I am already alarmed at the number of casual trekkers, who have been calling us for treks after the release of the movie. They sound too casual and fluffy, mostly headed for comfort.

 

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