In an attempt to cross a ridge, a bunch of trekkers follow each other’s footsteps on a ledge for one and a half hours, all the while singing old Bollywood songs as they walk surrounded by absolute serenity. They are on their way to the Hampta Pass in Himachal Pradesh, located at a height of 14,000 ft. Dramatic, isn’t it? But this isn’t a scene out of a movie. It’s actually one of Sukanya Dutta Roy’s most memorable experience as a trekker. “We had two new trekkers with us, and they froze in the middle of the trek. We had no option! We felt silly singing those songs, but it was meant to serve as a distraction, and it did,” she reminisces.
The managing director of Swarovski Consumer Goods began trekking in 2012 with a trip to Dodital in Uttarakhand. What made her pick up the hobby in the first place? “This was my mid-life crisis – the desire to be closer to nature,” she explains. So, with the sudden desire to discover nature and to discover herself somewhere along the way, she tagged along with a friend who was going for a trek organised by Vistas India.
There are many who trek for the sake of conquering certain locations. Dutta Roy, however, does it for the joy of the journey. She believes that mental preparation is more important than physical training. “You need to build up your stamina, but also prepare yourself to lose touch with the rest of the world.” She further describes how much the first trek can teach you. “As a first timer, you end up entertaining the rest of the group. For my first trek, I was such a novice that I carried a pair of Crocs,” she laughs. But Duttaroy was hooked on to trekking right from her first expedition. The sky full of stars, snow-clad mountains, the solitude — what was there not to love? “Now I am a passionate advocate of trekking as the best way to detox and rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit.” She adds how the experience taught her that there was a life beyond home and work.
Often trekkers prefer solo trips, but Dutta Roy thinks otherwise. She revels in the company of a small group — be it friends, or strangers who end up becoming lifelong friends. “Since there is no other form of communication, you end up getting to know each other and it is truly a great team-building exercise,” she adds. As a working professional, it has helped boost her confidence. While trekking, she says, “You have no option of giving up. You might take longer than the others, but you know you have to get there.”
She now aims to mark out dates on her calendar every year for atleast one trip. The adventure seeker has Spiti Valley and Mount Kilimanjaro next on her to-do list. A non-athletic person for most of her life, Dutta Roy always loved travelling but never pictured herself as a trekker. Now she smiles and says, “I would climb any height to be one with nature. I simply can’t get enough of it.”