Sanjeeva Narayan
7 min readFeb 19, 2024



1. In an earlier blog I had written about the richly enthralling experience of my first trekking adventure to the Annapurna Base Camp in the Northern region of Nepal. Apart from the adrenaline pumping thrill that naturally came with the process, it also reinforced in me certain life/managerial lessons — the result of a prolonged communion with nature at its wondrous and, sometimes, unpredictable best.

2. The entire process involving traversing pathways with varying degrees of difficulty and terrain (sometimes steep, sometimes irregular) against the backdrop of the towering Himalayan Range brought home and, in fact, reinforced in me the value of certain attributes important for us in our daily lives and vital to maintain mental equilibrium and physical well-being.

3. Foremost amongst the lessons learnt was the importance nee significance of patience merged with equanimity. For an explosive personality like me, with an extraordinarily edgy personality, and an inexorably short attention span the need and importance of patience while traversing the mountain-scape was nowhere more patently manifest. Walking, sometimes trudging ,along the pathways where even after an interminable gap, the destination seems far, patience adroitly mixed with an adequate dose of perseverance was the most sought after mental attribute.

4. Trekking along the mountain paths with their inbuilt and inherently complex circuitry, where the ultimate destination does not appear on the horizon until the very last (hidden as it is behind a seemingly endless series of mountain ranges and valleys) without an indefatigable attitude can be profoundly deflating. Of course, the presence of guides and porters does tend to soothe nerves and alleviate doubts the fact remains, the need for a an uncluttered mind-space, bereft of edginess but overflowing with patience was and is necessary evermore.

5. The occasion was perfectly ripe to appreciate the old saying -

“Patience brings happiness;

It brings near that which is far”.

6. Aligned not just metaphorically but also practically with the need for patience is the absolute essentiality of exercising “caution”. Again while walking along the mountainous pathways, with their often uncanny ability to offer unbeknown surprises, ranging from sudden turns, seemingly unsurmountable and irregular steps with rickety stone slabs, there is no room for any irrational exuberance or ungainly manoeuvres but the need is to be ever watchful — for any small mistake can, rather, is bound to result in, most likely, unmanageable consequences — with ungainly falls and the unwelcome accompaniment of a litany of injuries being the most likely but absolutely highly potential outcome.

7. Risk taking might be somewhat welcome, nee necessary, in certain life situations, while navigating the mountainous terrain the absolute need and importance of a patient outlook and cautionary attitude cannot and should not be undermined. A cautionary attitude might sound somewhat staid, boring and even hackneyed the need to exercise discretion coupled with a cautionary approach is necessary specially in a case where the possibility of injury or other fatal consequence is undoubtedly high.

8. The age-old proverb “He who is not cautious is the architect of his own downfall” nowhere felt more relevant and topical.

9. The other lesson that I learnt from this, may I call it an adventure was the need for absolute concentration. It might sound repetitive, but while trekking along the mountainous pathways (even on a trek graded as “moderately difficult”), the need to concentrate with unidirectional focus and an unwavering mind on the task at hand can, in no way, be undermined. While the trekking experience in itself is infinitely meditative, the entire process calls for unwavering concentration not only to savour the sights but more importantly to navigate the pathways.

10. Mind you, the pathways are never regular but invariably full of stones/rubble and can be intermittently slippery with untold potential for slippages/falls and the series of steps, invariably, of varying heights often difficult to surmount with stones protruding often at garish angles and precariously perched wherein the need to solely focus on the process at hand is absolutely paramount with no scope, even miniscule of any deviation whatsoever.

11. While many people and even organizations may swear and rely on the ability to multitask (an attribute of which to my mind the efficacy is somewhat questionable), the mountains emphasized on me the ability to “ unitask”,(the capability to do one thing at a time) to enhance productivity, foster mental well-being and to prevent you from being overwhelmed and exhausted.

12. The importance of the age old adage “wherever you are be there”

came home and manifested itself in me nowhere better than on this trek.

13. While patience, caution and concentration are, even if somewhat related, mind frame attributes, the need for strategic thinking and an ability to indulge in quick witted, perhaps, edge of the box thinking also gets proactively manifested. At first glance, this might sound opposite to the need for caution practically, that definitely, is not true. I personally observed at various, not very infrequent, intervals the need for strategic planning when nature in its infinite mystery, indefatigability and unpredictability provided multiple options for covering a particular path. Faced with such situations, the need for quick-witted (not at all to be confused with short-sighted/risky), strategic and even lateral thinking to determine the most effective path by arriving at a golden mean between effort and risk becomes most important. Mind you in the limited time at your disposal unnecessary delays will only lead to a host of other complications. Of course, Gods ordained will of imbibing nature and destiny with myriad mysteries, inherent complexities and inbuilt unpredictability and uncertainty is what makes life exciting.

14. Apart from quick-witted and out of the box thinking, the importance of strategic planning is all the more evident while pacing your trek. The need for optimal expense of energy while maintaining a steady pace in the increasingly rarified upper echelons of the atmosphere does also call for a bit of intricate strategizing. The impulse could be to cover the easier paths with a somewhat accelerated pace, which could result in rapid dissipation of energy leaving you out of breath and out of shape for traversing the more difficult pathways entailing increasing heights-even if gradual. I myself was guilty of some indiscretion in the initial stages, when a somewhat gentle path beckoned and in a foolhardy endeavour, moved into a higher gear, only to be warned and getting chided by the tour guide to desist from such ventures for it could entail unforeseen and in fact dire consequences.

15. All this apart, while the various attributes- patience, equanimity, caution, concentration and the need for strategic behaviour are universal attributes, eminently desirable and interminably sought after, for me personally this trek was a miraculous confidence booster (not be confused with an egotistical maniacal exercise). Having been a conservative Accountant all my life with an almost negligible tendency to wear off the beaten track, venturing into an area, so far removed, overcoming the stoic (of course perfectly understandable/resistance of my scores of well-wishers) undertaking a daring venture of somewhat magnified proportions and completing it successfully within a respectable time (given my somewhat advancing age and inexperience) definitely was a confidence booster and has done a world of good to my mind frame.

16. The net result has been that while somewhat compromising my naturally risk averse personality but definitely not beyond the realm of prudent behaviour and rational thinking, I would tread, somewhat fleetingly, from a time weary beaten path to venture into areas unknown. Again, a word of caution here — this is neither a prescription nor even a suggestion to indulge in foolhardiness but to impress upon the need for injecting some excitement into your lives by broad-basing its reach and scope. As the celebrated American Jurist William O Douglas very subtly put it: -

I learned early that the richness of life is found in adventure;

Adventure calls on the faculties of mind and spirit;

It develops self-reliance and independence;

Life then teems with excitement;

But man is not ready for adventure unless he is rid of fear;

For fear confines him and limits his scope;

He stays tethered by strings of doubt and indecision and has only a small and narrow world to explore.

17. Or as the wondering monk, Swami Vivekanand put it:-

Don’t look back — forward;

Infinite energy, infinite enthusiasm, infinite daring and Infinite patience;

then alone can great deeds be accomplished.

18. Even the celebrated American clergyman and author Norman Vincent Peale has very profoundly put it :-

Think excitement, talk excitement, act out excitement and you are bound to become an excited person;

Life will take on a new nest, deeper interest and greater meaning;

You can think, talk and act yourself into dullness or into monotony or into unhappiness;

By the same process you can build up inspiration, excitement and surging depth of joy.

19. On a closing note, this pleasurable interlude with nature, set me back to a conversation I had with my late father a couple of decades ago. While due to the overarching circumstances, he had led a somewhat risk-free life, he encouraged all of us to follow our passion and desires and keep the flame of excitement burning. Bemoaning, as I was one day at the lack of predictability and in fact the inherent uncertainty of life and destiny, he very calmly responded, that is what makes life interesting, exciting and of course eminently liveable. Words which came echoing back to me in this interlude with nature and in fact got more ingrained in me. Of course, the entire experience also left me feeling humbled at the extraordinary opportunity that destiny provided to me to assimilate and appreciate the endless bounties of nature