FOR those who think the Himalayan trek, a mandatory activity for civil service probationers of Mussoorie academy, a mere outing, here are some thoughts from an IAS probationer of 2012 batch. Harshika Singh writes in an internal publication of Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) that the Himalayan trek is truly a metaphor for life. After eight-day-long trekking, she comes back “battered, bruised and browned” but with a few learning lessons. Here are those:
1) Courage to Stand Up
After climbing steep slopes, jumping across boulders, slipping on pebbles, falling and rising across river streams, the young probationer writes, she has now the “courage to stand up and move ahead in spite of challenges and against odds, and to accept life in entirety.”
2) Inner Will to Bypass Odds
The writer met an elderly woman in her seventies or early eighties who was trekking a long stretch of 16 kilometres at ease. The old woman was so engrossed in her spirituality that she was having a normal walk whereas some probationers found the same a “daunting task”. “Spirituality gives you an inner will to bypass all challenges and achieve your goal” is her final takeaway. She writes “If you have belief and faith in yourself and have absolute conviction about the attainment of the ‘pristine goal’ then an inner will propels you on the path of progress.”
3) Life of an Aam Aadmi
The trekking also gives would-be-administrators a window to get first-hand experiences of life of an aam aadmi. During the night halts in tiny hamlets, the probationers realize the importance of basic physical infrastructure such as electricity and communication network. “As a would-be administrator I was sensitized towards the hardships of life of many a commoner of the region,” she writes.
4) The World is Flat
The young probationer noticed how big corporates were spotting consumers in those parts of the world as well. It was a pleasant surprise for her that there were Kurkure, Airtel, Maggi advertisement bill boards at heights of 4000 plus metres. “…the world has truly ‘flattened up’ and that trade, commerce and branding are immortals in today’s world,” she writes.
5) Group Dynamism
The trek also gave this young probationer an opportunity to appreciate and understand what she calls ‘group dynamism’. “A group of 22 officer trainees (OTs) who just seven days earlier were mere batchmates, became lifelong friends in a week. With each one of us struggling and trying hard to literally break one’s own threshold of physical endurance in some of the most testing times, various aspects of group dynamism unfolded,” she writes.