This Republic day Neha Naik Pavaskar, a 46 year old visually impaired trekker is going to attempt something that has never been done before, at least not by someone with disability. She is going to attempt the Tyrolean Traverse, a method in mountaineering where the adventurer attempts to cross the cleavage between two high points on a rope, without any external support. It’s more like being on that rope of the Gondola/ Cable car, without the car. The rope would be hanging at about 1200 feet above sea level across a high cliff in Konkankada.
This is not going to be her first encounter with a life-threatening situation. Before this, she has successfully completed the Tyrolean at 800 feet above sea level across the Duke’s nose. She also found place in the Limca Book of Records for being the first visually-impaired woman to trek to KshitiDhar peak, which is 17,200 feet above sea level, DNA reported. She also received the National Award in 2010 by former president of India, Pratibha Patil.
Apart from mountaineering, Neha’s interests also lie in Chess, Judo and Swimming, for which she has also won various gold medals.
Neha was not born blind. Due to a hereditary disease, she lost her eye-sight at the crucial age of 14, when its body image lays a crucial role in self-image for everyone. Her solace came in her newfound love for treks when she joined the Young Hostel Association in Darjeeling, an institute that organized trekking trips for the visually impaired.
Women are a marginalized majority, especially in the Indian society and that’s a fact. Being a woman with disability means double marginalization and that would have come at its own cost. She agreed, saying, “There is always an underlying discrimination against women, when it comes to such activities, but I have proved that not just as a woman but also as someone with visual impairment, I can do such high-risk activity.” Her life partner’s support has had a great role to play in her successes. It always kept her going.
Full DNA report can be read here
Pic Credit: DNA