The title of my blog might sound weird to some. However, that is exactly what I meant to say. I had recently been to the Valley of Flowers and Hemkundsahib in the Himalayas, and what an enriching experience it was! Spending 10 days in the midst of the mighty Himalayas, being accompanied by the frolicking streams and rivers during most of the journey, and experiencing the vagaries of nature was one of the best things I have ever experienced.

It so happened that on one of the days, I had just completed an arduous part of the trek – a 6 km strenuous walk in the Valley of Flowers and was back in the hotel room. I was then contemplating why I was torturing myself so much. It was exactly then that a few points struck me – real hard. It dawned upon me that what I was going through was actually one of the best lessons in life that I was receiving. I couldn’t but resist penning them down.

I realize these thoughts are nothing spectacular or out of the world, but for me, they were a ‘Eureka’ moment. I hope you, too, find them helpful.

Before I go into the details of what I experienced in the Himalayas, here is some information about the Valley of Flowers:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valley_of_Flowers_National_Park

So, coming back to the topic, what did I learn from this Himalayan trek

Event

On Day 1, we trek 10 km from Govindghat to Ghangria. It was mostly an uphill trek in which we gained more than 4,000 feet of altitude in a single day. Oxygen becomes rare as we gain height, and several avid trekkers suffer from high-altitude sickness problems. As a result, covering even a few km is a challenging task. Though the surrounding nature provided us great relief and made the trek lively, keeping the mind games away took work.

After a few km, my wife and I were about to give up and resort to completing the rest of the journey on horseback. However, I happened to reminisce about one of the tough times we had on one of the Big Data projects we undertook with a tough client earlier. On one of the several bad days, our CEO Kuldeep Deshpande had casually said – let’s not think too far; let’s tackle one day at a time, instead.

This thought struck me, and my wife and I adopted a similar approach. We focused on taking one small step at a time rather than how much distance was left. Say what! It helped us big time. We constantly reminded ourselves that every step we took brought us closer to our destination and that we were making progress. That worked like magic! We soon needed to remember how much distance was left how steep the climb was, and gradually made slow but steady progress. We also had an excellent lunch halt and reached our destination by evening. Our legs and every other limb were aching, but what a sense of accomplishment we felt then!

What I learned

When the going is tough, and the goal appears too far and almost impossible, think of only one step at a time. Aim for steady rather than quick progress.

Event –The trek was organized by Yuvashakti, an avid trekking group based in Pune. We were a group of 22 people across all age groups – right from 22 years to 55 years. Initially, we were sceptical about the dynamics within this diverse group, but our concerns soon proved irrelevant. All group members mixed well, shared ideas, cracked jokes, and supported the others.

The group’s younger members were the most enthusiastic and quick and were the first to reach their destination daily. A few of us were laggards and formed the tail-end almost every time. However, the leading members always cheer the others. They waited regularly, encouraging us to move on and complete the required distance. When a difficult milestone was covered, they clapped when the last person made it.

This small action boosted the others, created good team bonding, and ensured the group succeeded every day of the trek. On the other hand, we, the more experienced of the lot, shared our experiences with the youngsters, thereby adding to their awareness. In short, it was a win-win for all.

What I learned

Rather than restricting yourself to being a part of a homogenous and known group, choose to be part of a diverse group whenever possible. Members of such a group complement each other well and allow members to derive inspiration from one another. A lot of knowledge sharing happens, and it benefits everyone!

Event: The overall trip was for 10 days. It was natural for the group members to spend a long time together. We had discussions of various kinds – right from our personal lives, likes, dislikes, and hobbies to our professional careers. What emerged was something very interesting. I realized that even within a small group of 22, I was able to build a new network of people who could support me in many ways and vice versa.

A Professor taught Mechanical Engineering in a reputed college in Pune. We conversed about how Emergys could consider doing recruitment at his college – a win-win situation for both. His wife is an Officer in the Customs department and knowledgeable about GST (Goods and Services Tax), which has recently been introduced. We discussed how she could help the Emergys Accounts team with GST-related queries.

Two brothers, around 25 years of age, were running a support institute for children from Kashmir. My wife has volunteered to help them during her free time. I discussed opportunities in Big Data and Data Science with two group members. They will be sharing their profiles shortly. What a different kind of recruitment drive it was! All of this was achieved in a short span of 10 days without any meticulous planning!

What I learned

Treks and outings might seem to be unrelated to the corporate world. However, they help you build your network in the most unexpected ways. Moreover, these contacts remain for life as the bonding is not based on professional work but on your memories.

Event: In a funny turn of events, during the trek preparatory meet, I realized that my Emergys teammates, Ashish and Anup, were also a part of this trek. We spend a lot of time together in the office. However, I needed to figure out what to expect as a part of this non-office-related trekking activity.

In the 10 days, we had great fun together and captured several memories through dinners, team events, and photos. However, the most positive part was learning about some of my teammates’ unique traits, which I needed to be aware of.
For example, I knew Ashish was sincere and passionate about work. However, I also got to know of his great physical endurance.

He was always amongst the first few to speedily complete the trek and never seemed to run out of energy. Even on the last day, he was energetic. Anup, too, was very enthusiastic throughout the trek. He assisted the other group members on several occasions and demonstrated wonderful team spirit.

What I learned

Quite a few unique traits and skills of individuals are only revealed in an informal setting. Planning team activities is a fantastic way to know your team better. This indirectly helps team bonding as well.

Event: Life before this trek to the Himalayas was getting monotonous and stressful. However, I wasn’t even aware of it, as there was hardly any time to stop and think. Coming back from the trek, I find myself refreshed and more energetic. I can now view things from a slightly different perspective, which is helping a lot. In a way, I have reset my mind, body, and life.

What I learned

We care for our houses, cars, and bodies in this busy world. We routinely undertake cleansing activities for them. However, we don’t follow the same for mental hygiene. Just as you reboot your laptops/desktops occasionally, it is essential to reboot your mind occasionally. This helps us eliminate our “mental obesity” and allows it to function better. Spending time in nature is the best way of doing it. What better can you aspire for than going to the Himalayas on a trek?

I work in the Big Data and Data Science world, and I’ve gathered a few other learnings that apply directly to those areas. I’ll cover them in a separate blog.

Emergys Blog

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