124 In Quest of the Last Victory
It was the 12th of September 2004. We had ﬁ nally made it. This vic-
tory was not just the victory over the odds encountered on the way to
reach the top of Marsimik. It was a victory over the limitations of the
mind and the spirit; it was a victory of self-belief over self-doubt.
As I sat next to that stone enjoying my success Robert asked me,
‘How do you feel?’ Inspired by Martin Luther King's famous quote,
I replied, ‘If in your life you have not found something you could
die for, your life isn’t worth living. Life has been wonderful; it will
be even more beautiful after today.’
Sitting on the top of that mountain pass, I stood humbled by the
enormity of life, its vastness and its beauty, a beauty that remains
undiminished despite its pains, trials and tribulations. I would not
need to compete with anyone anymore, not even with myself. I think
we all have a Marsimik in us, waiting to be achieved and realized.
Once this is achieved, we can live at peace with ourselves thereafter!
Gulia, Dharmendra and Upender during their ﬁ rst
attempt to reach Khardung La.
Dharmendra standing between the walls of snow
when the route had just opened.
Ankush and Gulia in front of their tent at Sarchu.
A short break at the beautiful More (pronounced ‘moray’) plains
surrounded by small hills with gentle slopes.
Ankush repairing the car. With ice water ﬂ owing all over the road
and not a soul in sight, had they died no one would have known.
A couple of kilometres short of Khardung, the farthest they could reach
that day, with the Leh valley and Zanskar ranges in the backdrop.
Keshav, Ankush, Gulia and Ajay with their Modiﬁ ed Tata Safari at the
India Gate before the ﬁ nal mission.