Meet Arjun Vajpai, the youngest Indian to climb Mount Everest.
For Arjun, getting this far has meant a lot of hard work, rigorous physical training and maintaining a sharp balance between academics and training. Arjun says, "I spent a month-and-a-half acclimatising to the cold climate. During my training period, I practised yoga in order to increase my lung capacity. My body had to be ready to handle the strain of a two-month-long expedition of which the last five days, when I climbed the final summit, were the most demanding."
Talking about his love for the mountains Arjun says, "The mountain has always fascinated me! And it was indeed a proud moment for me to be the youngest Indian on top of the world. When I reached the top and looked all around, I saw the most spectacular view ever. No camera could ever capture this view - the Himalayas were below me and nothing obstructed my view. It was an awesome feeling to see the sun rise from below the eye level. I felt like I ruled the world!"
His school has been very supportive of his mission. Arjun says, "My teachers made sure that I got all the notes and didn't miss out on anything. When I decided to scale the summit, my teachers ensured I gave my class 11 examinations. My director, Madam Pinto, and my principal, Anuradha Sharma, were also present to welcome me when I returned back to Kathmandu."
Arjun believes in dreaming big and aiming high. 'The sky is the limit' is his favourite motto. But he also believes that one needs to put in a lot of hard work to achieve one's dreams. He wants to climb Mount Everest again and also hopes to conquer the world's seven highest peaks and go to the North and the South Pole. But for now he is only concerned about his class 12 examinations. "My parents are very supportive but they also want me to focus on my academics. These activities have a short life. Only good academics can take you further. I want to join the Indian Army and am working towards a course at the National Defence Academy."
Arjun plays football and basketball at the state level and Taekwondo at the international level. He has also competed in karate, swimming and skating at the school level. Arjun's expedition was eco-friendly and his team came back having collected around 26kgs of waste. He and his group collected all the waste they created during the journey and then disposed of it using bio-degradable techniques.