Proud to be the first Indian woman cop mountaineer
GR Radhika, SP (Non-Cadre) OCTOPUS, was born in Anantapur and brought up in Kadapa. She completed her postgraduation from SV University. She did MA English Literature as per her father’s wish and worked as lecturer for five years, following, which she appeared for group one exams and has become police official heeding as per her father’s wish again.
When her relatives dissuaded her that it’s risky, she replied that it’s her father’s wish, and she likes challenging jobs. The spirit stayed with her as she took up the challenge of taking up mountaineering and scaled the Northern Route. Unfortunately, her father passed away by the time she secured the job. She emotionally shares that her mother was happy for her but feels sorry at the same time as her father was no more to witness the success.
Recalling the mountaineering experiences, 43-year-old Radhika says, “It doesn’t matter how many peaks we climb, still we need to climb down. Whatever the heights we reach in our career, we have to stay grounded.”
How did it begin?
Once, Radhika was on Manasarovar pilgrimage. People take help of potters or ponies to carry their luggage. But she was climbing on her own carrying her luggage. Fellow traveler Deepthi (Mumbai-based advocate) recognised Radhika’s fitness and advised her to pursue mountaineering course. She has been encouraged by her higher officials especially Rajeev Trivedi, Principal Secretary, Home.
This is how, in 2013, she opted for mountaineering course in Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir. As part of training she scaled Mount Golep Kangri. She scaled Mount Menthosa as part of IMF all-women expedition. She is the first woman from south India to scale Mount Menthosa.
Ultimately her goal was to scale Mount Everest. She underwent skiing course to get herself adopted to the temperatures in Himalayas. The rigorous training for six weeks in extreme/freezing cold conditions gave her confidence to climb Mount Everest. “It was Telangana government that provided the financial support to scale Mount Everest,” she shares.
“While I was getting ready for expedition, my son asked me - what if something happens to me. I scaled the mountain and while coming down, seeing dead bodies lying there, my son’s words flashed in my mind. Mountaineering is like a war; we won’t have any other option, but to move forward.” She adds, “While I was working in Adilabad, the district collector advised me to scale Mount Kilimanjaro. That heralded the desire to scale seven peaks in seven continents.”
Every mountaineer comes across a question ‘What is the use of mountaineering?’ I have been fond of games, cycling and swimming since my childhood. That’s why I also enjoy mountaineering because it teaches us to know our limitations. We are minute beings when compared to this huge universe. And while on mountains, we let go our egos. This experience we get not when we fail to scale the mountains, but when we taste the success.
Age isn’t a hurdle
“There are people, who discouraged me stating that it would be difficult once you cross 40 years. Lese Jatki of Norway (61), Silviki of Canada (54) and Busha of Morocco (48) are those who scaled Mount Vinson in Antarctica along with me. I was the youngest in our team. All it needs is fitness. ‘A sound mind in a sound body’ is applicable to every place and every generation. Our thoughts will be healthy when we are healthy,” Radhika advises.