Yesterday, we hosted Mark Inglis at Mindtree. For those who do not know him, he is the world’s first double amputee to climb Mount Everest. At an early age, he was fascinated with mountaineering in his home country, New Zealand. As Mark grew up, he became a search and rescue mountaineer.
One day, he and his fellow mountaineer Philip Doole were on top of New Zealand’s Mount Cook when a blizzard hit. It forced them to stay there with five biscuits for 13 days in a snow cave as small as a table that was just enough for the two men to stay crouched. After 13 days, the two were rescued but Mark lost both legs. But he did not give up. He took to cycling and won silver at a paraplegic event. That win rekindled his desire and resolve to get back to the mountains and he climbed Mount Cook again, this time with artificial legs. Once on top, he set his eyes on the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest.
In May 2006, after 40 days of climbing, he was on top of the highest mountain in the world. As Mindtree Minds listened to him in rapt attention, we could not but think that here is a man who climbed the Everest, not with his artificial legs but with his mind. Mark regaled us with his jokes right through one of the greatest stories on grit and determination. At one stage, he showed a picture of himself on the Everest, with his artificial limbs. What do you see in there, he asked us. A man without legs? No, I see someone who would never get a frostbite, he adds! If climbing a mountain is difficult, more arduous is climbing down.
I can relate to that because once we went up the Tirupati hills and coming down was a torture. And here we are, talking about the Everest! On the way down, his fingers in the hands became frostbitten and by the time he reached home, they had to be cut. And what do we think is the only problem with that? In Bangalore traffic, given every possibility of road rage, he cannot show his middle-finger at anyone! Having Mark was an uplifting experience for us all at Mindtree. He is the kind of man who makes you feel welcome to possible.