“When I was living in Nashik, my brother Nitesh would often come to my house for a day, just to change his clothes. Then he would set off on multi-day treks.
After coming back, he would share his trek experiences with me. That was my only exposure to the world of trekking.
Recently, he told me he wished to send me for a trek.
I’ve been married for about 9 years now. In these past years, I was caught up with the responsibilities of our home, bringing up my daughter.
Nitesh wanted me to get out of this routine for a short while and do something for myself.
To prepare for a trek, he asked me to start jogging. I struggled for breath even while jogging for a few kilometers. But I kept going. I was consistent.
Just as I started getting comfortable with the healthy lifestyle, I got infected with Covid. I had a miscarriage and later suffered from multiple kidney stones. My health deteriorated terribly.
Merely 3 months after my kidney surgery, Nitesh asked me to start jogging again. This time he had decided that I’ll be going for the Rupin Pass trek.
I had never travelled alone in my life. But he wanted me to do a solo trip. Nitesh wanted me to get a taste of trekking. His plan was to make me do half the trek and then come back.
But I wanted to prove him wrong. I wanted to do the entire trek!
I even carried my backpack! I was motivated by Trek Leader Mrinal. Despite having such a heavy backpack with oxygen cylinders she had a big smile on her face.
At some points on the trek, the backpack gave me a lot of trouble. But I didn’t give up.
I remember the day at Saruwas Thatch sitting in a quiet corner and having a burst of emotion. I was at a place with no network. No one knew where I was and yet I was there with my own self, happy as ever.
Bhanu sitting at the Saruwas Thatch
At that moment, I felt all the struggles I went through were worth it. It was one of my best moments on the trek.
Another experience that moved me happened on the pass crossing day.
We started around 2:30-3 am in morning. When we were crossing the final stretch of the Gully the weight of the backpack had become very painful for me to carry. I was almost about to cry.
At that moment I thought of Nitesh and my daughter. With them in my mind, I just climbed the remaining stretch of the gully.
Bhanu along with her brother Nitesh who's a trek leader at Indiahikes
I will never be able to forget the moment of making it to the pass with my own backpack.
I wrote three letters from the pass — one to Nitesh, the other to my daughter and the third one to my trek leader Mrinal.
I’ve always been referred to as an Army Man’s wife. But crossing Rupin Pass brought my true self identity back. Something which I am really proud of!”
Bhanu after reaching the Rupin Pass