“So I am standing on the peak of Mt. Apharwat in Kashmir (India) with my snowboard, wondering how will I actually go down the slopes and part of me also wondering whether or not it is a wise decision to be here in the first place”.
This excerpt is from my travel journal when I travelled to Kashmir in March, 2016. It all started three months ago when I was working for a magazine as a casual photographer. The magazine was about adventure sports and stories form all around the world, of people who live life to the extreme. It was hard to not get inspired by all those stories. After documenting adventure sports like kayaking and surfing for almost a year, I wanted to experience these moments of pure adrenaline myself. So I decided to choose something that strikes me the most- snowboarding. For an average Indian snow is nothing less than magic, ok maybe I am exaggerating but it’s miraculous if nothing more. Maybe because I grew up in Rajasthan, an almost desert state I was more drawn to a place with extremely opposite topography.
Knowing about every adventure sport and it’s possible locations was almost an occupational hazard, meaning, I couldn’t not know where the best locations were even if I tried. As the time was coming closer and as I was trying to save money, I realised I didn’t had any money, not if I planned on eating something for the next month but I somehow managed to do some savings . I knew that my leave application would never get approved at least not without some serious subtractions in my salary. What I did next is something I don’t recommend to anyone- I quit my job.
Now I was a free bird ( also broke).The day finally arrived and I took a 25 hour long bus journey to Kashmir. The most gruelling one I have been on so far. when I saw the snow capped peaks of Gulmarg through the wind suddenly my body was aching a little less. The only flaw in my plan was that I wan’t much of a snowboarder (not what I told all my friends) so I decided to devote that day to practise and maybe it was my skateboarding skills which helped but I learned fast. Now the only logical step was going to the top of the mountain despite my below average skills. All I had was a three day budget so I went to the top of Mt. Apharwat on the last day.
I was scared and realised why it was an expert only area. But after tumbling down the slopes a couple of times, I made it. Now I can say I have snowboarded in the Himalayas. That was the time I discovered the power of will.