I come form an middle class, moderately conservative Maratha family in Maharashtra state of India. Nobody in my entire family or community ever saw or heard of a girl climbing a mountain. Two years ago, I became that girl. I completed a Kriya Expedition - a monthlong Himalayan trek that culminates with an attempt to summit Stok Kangri (6,150m).
It shocked some people especially those who do not think climbing mountains is a feminine action.
But for me, it was a dream come true. I climbed though harsh cold and through deep snow. And with every feet that I climbed higher, I became more and more confident in my own ability. I felt, I have the power the change my destiny and to decide about my life, my future. I do not have to tell you that very few girls in our India use this power today because they never get a chance to do this.
I went up as a sports person. But when I came down, I was a leader - a person who can set example for others. That was the difference.
Today, I am helping many other girls follow the path I took. As the coordinator at Kriya - an organization based in Pune. It is Kriya which organizes these mountaineering expeditions and I am training and preparing other girls for such expeditions. I am also recruiting girls for Kriya's sports-based events. I believe, I am actually helping the girls to move to a place in life where they gain self confidence, and discover their own inner strength.
Recently I became a fellow of the Collective Impact Partnership or CIP project (where World Pulse is a partner) and through two rounds of training, I learnt a lot about leadership, advocacy and digital empowerment. I am going to combine all the knowledge I have gathered to carry forward my next dream: to build a new society where all the girls are powerful, self-reliant and in charge of their own life. And yes, along with them, I will keep climbing new mountains myself.