A Rendezvous with Padma Shri Santosh Yadav

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A Rendezvous with the Legendary Indian Mountaineer Santosh Yadav
It's not every day that one gets to meet one's childhood idol. And, so, when such a rare opportunity presents itself, it becomes nigh impossible to keep one's anxiety in check. One such opportunity came by a few days back as my childhood dream of meeting the great Indian mountaineer Santosh Yadav was finally realized. I was first introduced to her through my school textbooks. I had dreamt of meeting her ever since. Time slowly passed by but the dream had endured. A part of me knew that sooner or later my dream would come true. And finally it did. As fate would have it, I finally got the opportunity to interact with her in person last week.

From the very moment Santosh Yadav stood at the podium, my eyes were fixed on her. I was blown away by her austerity and her saintly appearance. Here was a woman who had defied the forces of nature to conquer some of the most treacherous and daunting avenues on planet Earth and yet no part of her betrayed even an iota of vanity. Although, she spoke plainly, her words carried immense power and conviction. There was a sense of calmness about her when she expressed her concern about the issues plaguing the world at large. While accentuating the importance of selflessness and compassion, she shared her own experiences in life. She also emphasized upon the need to minimize wastage as a means to boost the overall efficiency and efficacy of man force.

As she switched her focus to mountaineering, her eyes suddenly lit up. She looked a completely different person altogether as she began to ooze an ambient energy which electrified the entire arena. She described her various adventures with the ease of an adept storyteller. All those present could vicariously experience the pain of her endless hardships and the ecstasy of her colossal triumphs. It was like being transported to a whole new world swayed by both serenity and chaos. She eulogized the unconquerable vastness of the Himalayas, a formidable realm which can tame even the most ferocious of the beasts. She poetically described her various conquests as mere surrender to the might of Mother Nature.  She also talked about spirituality as a driving force to achieve the improbable. During her various endeavors, as she encountered near death experiences, she relied on her instinctive ability to strike a balance between courage and wisdom.

My interaction with Santosh Yadav taught me, among other things, the importance of discipline in life. In all the walks of life success depends upon disciplined leadership and sometimes the difference between life and death is nothing more than the difference between discipline and indiscipline. When it comes to life, plans can often go awry and so it is of paramount importance that one should be willing to adapt and improvise according to the changing situations. Those who learn the art emerge as leaders while others fail to make a mark despite having all the necessary skills and qualifications. But, at the same time, a good leader cannot afford to overlook the importance of ethics and moral values in today's competitive world. For, only then a good leader can dream of becoming a great leader—a guide and a role model who can inspire others to realize their true potential.

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