We all love travelling, going to mountain peaks and satisfying our thirst to be in nature’s lap for once in a while. Those who travel to mountain-tops are half in love with themselves, and half in love with oblivion. We all love mountains. In some or the other way, they help us sort out what’s important in life.
Then there are some people who take up mountaineering and travelling as their career, as their sole purpose of life. There are people who are not doing this just for fun but they are actually exploring and bringing out the local art and artisans from our top travel spots.
One such mountaineer is Shilpi Siwach who left her corporate world in order to go to mountains and help the local artists there show their talent.
It is really astounding that we, being Indians don’t give value and respect to our own local art and artisans. At times, they are much more valued by foreigners than by us. So there is this girl who is working for them and also working to educate kids about outdoor adventure activities. So let us hear it more from Shilpi.
Tell us about yourself?
“I was a non-medical student in school. My parents, just like any other typical ones, wanted me to do medical or engineering only but I was more interested in literature. So after school I took English Honors course in Delhi University. After my graduation, I did regular MBA in Marketing. I got a job in American Express and after working there for 7 years, I finally left it last year”, says Shilpi.
How did Mountaineering happened while you were just doing your job?
Miss Shilpi explains, “Actually it is a funny story. As any other family, mine was also forcing me into marriage but I didn’t want to get into it so soon. I wanted something more from my life. That was not the time for me to settle down, so I called my friend and asked her to go for a trip. I kind of ran away from house. So that was how I started traveling. It changed my life forever. We both went to Mcleodganj in Himachal Pradesh. We went there with no proper planning. After reaching there in morning at 6 AM, we were trying to figure out what to do now. It wasn’t exciting until we got onto the top. After traveling for 2 years, I started climbing mountains.”
What my heart wanted was something else, not a smooth and steady life
“When you start traveling once, you develop interest for trekking and hiking too. So that is how I got into it. I started exploring everything on my own. Yeah I realized all this very late in my life but I was happy that I finally did. I got to know that there is a lot of scope in this field and you can even make money out of it”, Shilpi adds.
So what are your programs majorly based upon?
The mountaineering girl speaks, “We are trying to promote local art and artisans through Ruhaniiyat, my own startup. There seems to be no importance of local art in India which I have myself learnt after travelling. So now we go to different rural villages in different Indian states where people are already engaged in some local work. We provide them a better condition to work, collaborate with them and then sell their finished products in Delhi-NCR to get a better pay for their local talent which generally goes waste otherwise.”
What projects and programs you have worked upon so far?
“We did projects in Sikkim and Assam. Now we are also working in Himachal Pradesh with a group of ladies. I have got a designer with me. We are trying to bring forth their local artwork of designing shawls and trying to mix it with the designs that our professional designer has. So we are coming out with some contemporary design which we can sell in the international market and build a community in Himachal Pradesh for these ladies. The profit is going to go back in this society only. In Sikkim, we did a project last year in August to help villagers there. People were really cooperative during these projects”, Shilpi speaks about her projects so far.
She counts these projects as her biggest achievements because she never knew it would be that easy to talk to local people and make them understand what she wanted to enact there.
Any future project or plans?
Adding to this, Shilpi says, “Presently I am just working on conducting outdoor adventure program in schools where we can teach students and tell parents that how important outdoor activities like mountaineering, trekking and hiking are in the upbringing of a child in today’s arena. So firstly we are trying to reach out to schools in Delhi and NCR. I also have top 4 mountaineers of India with me who are actually certified doctors because I know myself how important it is for parents to be sure of their kid’s safety before letting them go for any camp.”
Any interesting person that you have met so far, that has influenced you in any way?
“There have been many fellow mountaineers who have inspired me all through my journey. They have been very helpful and supportive. “
The biggest thing you have learnt since you started climbing mountains?
“I have had enough of learnings since then and the biggest of all is that you can survive with no money. People try to live in a perception that if you have a lot of money, you will be happy but that happiness is different. I have lived that happiness when I used to earn enough salary from my job. That was more of a materialistic feeling but after travelling just for 3 months, I realized that I can be even happier without any money. If your heart desires something else, that is where your happiness lies”, says Shilpi about her biggest learning.
Any message for our readers to do the best of their lives
“If there is a dream you want to pursue, this is the right time. Take a risk, don’t be afraid and for mountaineering, I would like to say that it is something really different, something that schools generally don’t teach children. Most of us are not even aware of the importance of outdoor adventures in a child’s growth. So I want to create awareness about that”, Shilpi concludes.
To reach out to Shilpi,