Rajasthani nurse Jhunjhunu climbed the world’s highest peak after overcoming a debilitating slipped disc to achieve the feat
Nepal, May24:Walking up a flight of stairs was like climbing Mount Everest for Asha Jhajdiya until 2014. But that was then.
The 38-year-old mother of two from Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu climbed the world’s highest peak on Monday, after overcoming a debilitating slipped disc to achieve a feat only a handful of diehard climbers have pulled off.
Jhajdiya, a nurse at a public health centre in Alwar, suffered bouts of nagging backache since 2005. She could barely stand, let alone walk, during those attacks. The pain was so numbing sometimes that husband Ajay Singh Takhar had to carry her in his arms to hospital.
Sustained physiotherapy and medication cured her of the condition in 2014 and the family decided next year to celebrate with a holiday in the hills of Amarnath.
The twisty trails, fresh air and snowcapped peaks injected into Jhajdiya what her husband called the mountaineering bug. “The trip changed everything,” said Takhar, a Haryana police officer.
She chose the difficult route to the Amarnath shrine through Baltal, and completed the journey “really, really quickly”.
“Army officers praised my sister … they were surprised how quickly she finished the trek. It was at this point that Asha found the urge to climb Mount Everest,” brother Vikram Jhajdiya said.
Back then it appeared the studious postgraduate in humanities and business administration had set her goal way too high. The 8,848m Mount Everest is the goliath that only a few have vanquished.
But her grit and gumption didn’t surprise her husband, teenage daughter and son, and the rest of her extended family. They supported her. After all she has conquered a morbid condition that threatened to keep her bedridden for the rest of her life.
Jhajdiya and her husband began looking for sponsorship for her training and expedition after the Amarnath trip.
“They went to politicians, government departments and influential people … but all they got were assurances. So she borrowed money from relatives and withdrew from the couple’s pension savings,” her brother said.
They pooled enough to pay for the expedition — around Rs 28 lakh — and her training at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling last year.
The retired naval officer’s daughter set off for the mountains this April 8.
“She reached the summit at 4.05am on Monday … people from the expedition informed us over a satellite phone from base camp,” Takhar said.
The family jumped for joy after the news. Jhajdiya’s mother, Savitri Devi, summed up the mood. “She made the impossible possible…”