Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Simhanandini, Kalari, running marathons, now trekking the Himalayas — city’s dancer Vyshnavie Sainath is definitely pushing the limits. Why? “I want to push these so-called ‘limitations’ of being a woman. I want to keep testing my limits,” says Vyshnavie, just hours after returning from a “challenging” Himalayan summit. “The reason I chose Stok-Kangari is also because it is considered one among the tough peaks, at the height of 20,182 feet,” says the dancer, who decided only two weeks ago that she wanted to do this trek and completed it on September 17.
“But people weren’t really all that supportive. They asked me ‘Why are you doing this?’, ‘What is it that you want to prove by doing this?’. Some even warned me that if I can not acclimatise properly, I could die!” she shares. “I guess the worries came from the fact that I had zero experience and it seemed like a very impulsive decision. But dancing and more so yoga came to my rescue, especially the breathing techniques.”
But all that negativity did come back and haunt her at the final leg of the climb. “I managed to reach a height of 18,000 feet with relative ease. But then all that emotional baggage and negativity started to weigh down on me in that final leg. I started hearing those voices, dragging me down. I also knew that this is where most people give up. I had to buck up, keep my sight on the peak and keep pushing. At one point that conviction grew so strong that I was itching to reach the summit,” she narrates of the 20-hour-long trek. “Although it was meant to be a 12-hour trek, crossing a glacier made the journey longer. So after 12 hours, the food and water was exhausted and there was eight hours of journey still left ahead of me.”
She goes on, “Top it all, I was also on my period! But you know what, that was the last thing on my mind. It did not even bother me or slow me down. The only and the very minimal difference it made was that I had to put in extra thought and efforts into disposal because it was a plastic-free zone.”
The dancer, who has carved a niche for herself with as constantly changing and experimenting with dance forms, adds, “As a dancer too, I explored forms like Kalari, for instance, just to test my limits. Then I started running marathons with the same intention and now the trek is the newest height for me. But the feeling of achieving the summit is yet to sink in.”