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Showing posts from 2011

An Indian veteran recalls his Antarctic experiences

An Indian veteran recalls his Antarctic experiences
Dr. Ravindra can never forget his experience of surviving a seven-day blizzard with only a tent as shelter.

The first Indian expedition to the South Pole successfully reached the Pole last year, almost a century (99 years to be precise) after the Norwegian Roald Amundsen became the first human to reach the southernmost point of the Earth.
The eight-member team left the Indian base station Maitri situated in an ice-free area known as the Schirmacher Oasis on November 13, 2010 and reached the South Pole in nine days on November 22, 2010.
No comparison
“We travelled the entire distance of nearly 2,500 km in special vehicles got from Iceland,” said Dr. Rasik Ravindra, who was the Leader of the team. “We can't compare our journey with Roald Amundsen's and Robert Scott's. Theirs was a heroic effort. They did a hundred years ago something that we can't even dream of.”
Dr. Ravindra is the Director…

100 years — Amundsen's dash to immortality

100 years — Amundsen's dash to immortality

This day (December 14) 100 years ago, Norwegian Roald Amundsen became the first explorer to reach the geographical South Pole — the southernmost tip of the Earth. If his ambition to be the first man to ever set foot on the North Pole was scorched by Robert Peary in 1909, he immortalised himself by being the first to arrive at the South Pole.
“So we arrived and were able to plant our flag at the geographical South Pole. God be thanked!” wrote Amundsen in his diary soon after reaching the Pole.
The British team led by Robert Scott managed to arrive at the South Pole only on January 17, 1912, 33 days after Amundsen had hoisted the Norwegian flag.
Scott's entry in the diary reveals his great disappointment. “The worst has happened… All the daydreams must go…Great God! This is an awful place and terrible enough for us to have laboured to it without the reward of priority,” the diary entry reads.


Please click the following link for a slide show :

TREKKING TO ROOPKUND - the mysterious lake

I heard of Roopkund in 2002, when, after having returned from the US, I wanted to accompany Vasu for some trekking trip in Himalayas. Since time was short and I doubted my physical preparation for a trekking trip, we decided to go for a driving trip to Himalayas up to Dharchula. Pithoragarh and Dharchula had been in my mind ever since I found out that Kailash Manasarovar yatra passed through these towns. It was also reinforced by many patients who came to AIIMS for their health concerns, and talked about trekking opportunities in those areas. Motor Mama (see my post on Pindari Glacier) and Prakhar also joined us, and we started in our old but faithful Maruti 800. We had reached Gwaldam, a small sleepy town, late in night after leaving Rishikesh early morning and driving through Rudra prayag, Dev Prayag, and Shri Nagar (see post on Hemkund Sahib and Valley of Flowers). Next morning, the caretaker of GMVN guest house told us about the importance of this town as a kind of base for expedi…


I first came to know of Sardar Fauza Singh in June of 2004 while I had just begun my job in the National Health Services as consultant in Leicester, England in 2004, while watching a BBC programme. I wrote the following piece then to share with my friends. I thought to share it with the web community now.


June 2004

What is common between Mr George Chambers and Sardar Fauza Singh, well, both are nonagenarians.
As you are probably aware, I have been appointed as Consultant in Adult Psychiatry at the NHS. That effectively means that I should normally be seeing people between the ages of 16-65 years, though, sometimes I may continue to see a patient beyond 65 too if he/she were receiving care from our services earlier also, and the reasons of consultations have not changed. I have enjoyed looking after elderly people at AIIMS, New Delhi. They have many interesting stories to tell and enrich you with their vast experiences. An…

CENTENARIAN Fauza Singh does it once again : with a marathan

(Pictures and text from the Toronto Star)

TORONTO—Fauja Singh secured a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records on Sunday at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. The 100-year-old accomplished an amazing feat, becoming the oldest person ever to complete a full-distance 42-kilometre marathon. It took Singh over eight hours to cross the finish line — more than six hours after Kenya’s Kenneth Mungara won the event for the fourth straight year — and he was the last competitor to complete the course. But his time wasn’t nearly remarkable as the accomplishment itself. “Beating his original prediction, he’s overjoyed,” said coach and translator Harmander Singh. “Earlier, just before we came around the (final) corner, he said, ‘Achieving this will be like getting married again.’ “He’s absolutely overjoyed, he’s achieved his life-long wish.” Although event workers dismantled the barricades along the finish line and took down sponsor banners even as Singh made his way up the final few h…


Double click on the image to have a larger view.


(photo courtesy: Ashit Swain)
(Group photo and text from The Hindu dt 12/11/2010)

Cooking was toughest: Indian South Pole expedition team

The Hindu Rasik Ravindra, Director, National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (third left) along with team members of the first Indian Scientific Expedition. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar
It was not the bone-chilling minus 54 degrees Celsius, the difficult terrain or even the cold gusts blowing at 150 km/hour, but lighting a stove and cooking that posed the biggest challenge to the eight-member team of India’s maiden expedition to the South Pole.

The team led by National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research director Rasik Ravindra traversed the shortest path to reach the southernmost tip in just eight days.

Speaking about his experiences during the expedition, Mr. Ravindra said: “The toughest challenge was to cook, as in temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees Celsius it was difficult to light the stove.”

“We were carrying ready-to-eat meals with …