Book Review of The Call of Everest by Brig Darshan Khullar
People say that one can never cross the ocean until he or she has the courage to lose sight of the shore. Similarly, unless one is prepared to be a daredevil and take risks to explore and scale new heights, one cannot achieve what one desire. The Call of Everest by Brig. Darshan Khullar and others is a book that gives a first-hand account of the Everest expedition of 1984 from the team leader himself. Historic since it saw the first Indian woman, Bachendri Pal, scale the tallest mountain on Earth, this one is a read you ought not to miss.
Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was.Dag Hammarskjold
Indeed, it is actually the depth of one’s struggle that determines the true height of one’s success. The courage to soar to greater heights is inside all of us, yet not many of us take the leap and do so.
Mountaineering and scaling heights is something I have always loved to read about since it gives me a sense of freedom and a feeling of pure thrill and joy. Having recently read The Call of Everest by Brig. Darshan Khullar, I was completely caught up in the avalanche of the whole cascade of emotions and experiences he has managed to put forth by way of this narrative. A look back at the history of Indian mountaineering and expeditions, albeit in a manner that is not too technical, is what I feel is one of the biggest differentiators of this write-up.
A recounting of the entire expedition in a more relatable, closer to life, relatable manner, the book highlights it all, from the way the hike proceeded to priceless experiences and takeaways of the base camp to uneasy periods during the hike from avalanches to countless other challenges to many other aspects, this one is a star by itself.
I want to start by mentioning how much of an accepting personality Darshan Ji has, since he has written the entire write-up in an absolutely self-accepting tone of sorts, a place where he isn’t even sparing himself while evaluating all on a fair, unbiased, equal basis. I especially feel that this is a quality that makes him super grounded as well as humble as a person, which is inspiring.
Coming back to the narrative, apart from the frank tones, the narrative gives a brilliant account of the expeditions, which were considerable given the level of difficulties they had, including two devastating avalanches. The team and its core, the entire selection process, how each and every challenge, be it the team permutation or funding for the trip, and several other aspects have been laid out as they are for us to read and explore, giving us a dive head-first into the whole expedition.
What I enjoyed about this piece of writing was how, in spite of coming from a strong army background, Darshan ji nevertheless managed to keep a note of light tones and an element of fun, keeping it relatable to all and also ensuring that the vitality of it does not dissipate anywhere.
It was fun reading about how he came to be part of the mountaineering expedition and the events that took place before the expedition finally kicked off right upto where it finally happened, it was a joy to go through every aspect alongside him
The whole episode about how the funds for the trip were arranged, casting aside all challenges, was great. Giving us a foray into the entire episode, right from the pre-Everest period, Darshan has given a detailed breakdown of what, how, when, and exactly in what manner the extraordinary achievement materialised.
And yet, greater achievements always call for bigger responsibilities and sacrifices. That is evident and has been depicted brilliantly by Darshan here, alongside also highlighting the plight of those who had undertaken this mission back then, when things were not fully feasible for mountain climbing activities on a professional level seemingly.
An unforgettable experience, this book is great not only from a revisiting point of view but also since it gives deeper insights into how, when faced with challenges, it is essential to follow the discipline of not giving up and relentlessly going on towards your pursuit. And not to forget, this one is a reprint, and the original has been a best seller. Hmm, no surprises since it surely is one of the best narratives I have read in a long time.
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I have read Darshan Khullar’s other works too, like A Free Thinker and Pakistan: Our Difficult Neighbour, and yet this one is absolutely versatile and unique owing to its purpose and thought. I have always admired his witty style of writing, and I am glad he brought his fun style of expression to this one too.
A great narrative, one you should definitely be picking up.
Also from the Author:
- A Book Review Of Free Thinker – On God And Religion By Darshan Khullar – Explore The Unexplored
- Pakistan Our Difficult Neighbour and India’s Islamic Dimensions by Darshan Khullar-A Book Exploring Indian Politics and Islamic Paradigms and Their Impact
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