Amazing Stories | Real Deal - Madhumathi Muthu - India


In Search of Something Magical

I'm an outgoing person with a hunger and curiosity to see more of my world. I have been at Cisco for two and a half years. In my spare time, I'm a trekker, musician and artisan.

I was in search of something magical, and a little risky; an outdoors adventure to rejuvenate and define me. So, in December 2015 against my parent's wishes, I set off from Singalila National Park in Darjeeling to Mt. Sandakphu, the highest peak (3,658 meters) on the border of the Indian state of West Bengal and Nepal.

I knew I was upping my trekking ante with an ascent to Sandakphu so before I began, I trekked around Southern India to test myself and understand the rigors. I trained my mind and body to adapt in different physical, environmental and mental conditions. I worked out, practiced carrying a rucksack, read about Acute Mountain Sickness and “Into Thin Air”, and bolstered my courage.

Photo of Madhumathi
View from the top of Mt Sandakphu.

From the summit of Mt. Sandakphu, you can see four of the five highest peaks in the world—Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu. I wanted to experience this unique four-for-the-price-of-one-view for myself. Weighed down by my rucksack and winter clothing, my trek was as much about mental endurance as it was about physical stamina.

I believe in an everyday variety of magic—found in the connections I feel with nature, people, new experiences, places, and craftsmanship that gets built into special relationships. The group I was trekking with were a fun and enthusiastic bunch. Many of them were in IT. Using that as common ground, I stuck my hand out and made some new friends. I got a respectful nod or two when I said I worked for Cisco. And later, when I felt unwell, I got by with a little help from my new friends. I re-learnt the value of sharing and caring on my journey.

My climb to the summit of Mt. Sandakphu and the view from it quadrupled my confidence. It was a great achievement for me, one that would not have been possible without the support of my manager and my organization. It tested my fortitude and helped me discover the limits beyond which I could go.

Taking risks and conquering my personal mountain has built my confidence, given me an immense sense of satisfaction, and gained courage to take risks beyond my comfort zone. In my search for something magical, I found myself.

Along my journey I learnt that teamwork resonates everywhere, even on the remote slopes of distant mountains you can find common ground. I don’t have to face challenges alone, when my friends are not around, I make new ones and no matter the turbulence, I can pick myself up, steel myself and never give up.

Taking five on Mt. Sandakphu.
On the trail.
Chubby-rosy-cheeked baby I met on the trail.
My BFFs.

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