Around five years ago, Hiren Gada, CEO of Shemaroo Entertainment, decided not to let his work schedule affect his health, and started scouting for a fitness regime. He first tried yoga and then training for marathons, and both did not really have a hold over him. That’s when he recalled his love for the beauty of mountains. “It made me consider trekking as the best option for me. Along with keeping fit, I could revel in the delights of nature,” he says.
His earliest trek was to Naneghat, in Maharashtra. “We did a night trek and, I often say, that it was one in which we communed with nature. There was no civilisation around,” he says. His group was alone with the gentle whispers of the outdoors.
Gada and his wife go for treks now but earlier he had been on a few with his college friends. Back then, being fit was not the motive, he just went along for the camaraderie of the trekking group. One of their more memorable treks was to Maharashtra’s Visapur Fort. He did this one-day trek during monsoon, which he says turned out to be quite adventurous. “It was raining and we had to climb up a valley along a waterfall trail to see the view from the plateau. As it rained, the waterfall’s force intensified and it got all the more thrilling,” he says. Alongside these adventurous outings, he used to also go swimming and hit gym once in a while.
“After college, like many others, I also got busy with work. Physical activity had taken a back seat,” he recalls. The years that followed were devoted to work. His moment of epiphany was when he trekked Char Dham around Gangotri and Badrinath. “I actually struggled finishing this trek and it surprised me,” he says. In his college days, he had climbed to Manali with his group, which was a tougher trail than Char Dham’s but one they had easily covered. Therefore, the more recent hike to Char Dham, which had him short of breath, set off alarm bells. “I realised that I had to start going on my hikes all over again,” Gada says.
He decided not to let his health slip and hacked out time from his busy work schedule. These days he goes for marathons too, thrice a year. His favourite trekking partner is his wife, also an avid trekker. “Both of us target a maximum of 15 treks a year to Himalayas and Maharashtra. There are a few off-season months such as monsoon, so anything more than 15 treks becomes difficult to achieve. And, I would say, we have been doing reasonably good,” he says with a laugh.
Scaling the heights have taught him many lessons. “Many times, we miss out on the beauty of nature, which has the power to calm one down. It also sharpens your senses and makes you more alert. These treks have taught me that every step we take is important,” he says.