ANISSA LAMARE - MOUNTAIN BIKER
Mountains are inspiring. They challenge us, test us. They bring out our core value of freedom. Limitless and boundless. Anissa Lamare found her freedom in the mountains. Found her fountain of youth.
Infatuated with cycling from a young age, Lamare roamed her neighborhood in Meghalaya carefree for hours. She skidded past people and pedaled her way into the open forests. The soil, trees, ferns, and chirping birds gave her a sense of freedom the city life could not. Her first race in the mountains changed everything.
The downhill race that starts at the top and ends at the bottom is practically a free fall. And that’s where Lamare finds her adrenaline rush. The sense of purpose comes from losing herself in speed. In the flash that dissolves her natural surroundings in a blur.
She is India’s only woman mountain biker and downhill racer. When she walks into competitions, she is surprised to see no other woman around. She races with men and that provides her with an extra challenge. She is constantly pushing herself to be a better and freer bike racer, participating in competitions in Nagaland, Guwahati, Bangalore, Pune, and all over India.
The mountains called out to her. And Anissa Lamare has been conquering them ever since.
HARIKA DRONAVALLI - CHESS GRANDMASTER
It is all about making the right moves. Each piece has significance. Every act has a consequence. In the end, all the steps count. To know where a path ends, a move leads and a piece shall fall requires an astute understanding of life. And chess is all about that. You’d think such abilities are connected to age. Harika Dronavalli has a different say in the matter.
She was only 13 years old, in 2004, when she became a Woman Grandmaster (WGM). Everyone was surprised. Harika was not. She knew that age has got nothing to do with performance. Her understanding of chess, and life, was sharp from a young age. Her game had only begun.
Leaving her formal education aside, Harika focused on her training. She traveled to over 30-40 countries. The knowledge captured in the books was not enough for her. She learned from life itself. Appearing at championships around the world, she was obsessed with becoming a Grandmaster and World Champion. She did not waver from her goal or invest her time in anything else. At every step along the way, she always had a plan. A goal and a purpose to pursue.
By 2011, she had achieved her goal of becoming a Grandmaster. Only the second Indian woman to achieve that title. She won World u-14, u-18, u-20 titles. She won the National Women championship, Asian Women Championship, Commonwealth women championship 3 times, Asian Games Bronze Medalist, and World women championship bronze medalist three times. She had opened with a fantastic move that had swept the world off its feet. Her meteoric, yet silent, rise in the game is only making her case stronger, her game sharper.
No piece in a game of chess is too small. Age or size is no factor in determining who will win. Even pawns, with the right moves, can become queens. Harika Dronavalli is an example of that.
DR. ARUNIMA SINHA - FIRST FEMALE AMPUTEE TO SCALE MOUNT EVEREST
It was a tectonic calamity. A cataclysmic shift of monumental degrees. A change that would define glory.
The stories of Dr. Arunima Sinha and Mount Everest are not so different. Both begin with violence.
It was due to natural forces that two continents collided on Earth’s surface 50 to 60 million years ago. An act that irreversibly altered natural life. Most certainly, it wasn’t an easy phase in Earth’s natural history. Vast landscapes were damaged, animal kingdoms were lost and two continents were injured. But something rose from this primordial conflict. A towering spectacle of this planet. A magnificent symbol of determination, resilience, and glory.
Dr. Arunima Sinha felt all those emotions when she stood at the top of the world. She had risen from the depths of a violent past to stand on Earth’s highest summit. Tall and proud. It was pain, struggle, and grit that led her to the top. All it took was one push.
Dr. Sinha had been a national-level volleyball and football player. Hailing from Ambedkar Nagar in Uttar Pradesh, she had always been driven by strength and tenacity. She was to appear for India’s Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF) examination in Delhi. The year was 2011. She boarded the Padmavati Express at Lucknow and took her seat. It was night. Indian rail journeys are filled with stories of dacoits and thieves. Dr. Sinha would soon become a part of those stories.
She wore a gold chain and had a bag with her. She was sitting in the general compartment of the train when some thieves got aboard. They eyed Sinha’s chain and bag. She struggled and resisted. That conflict led to her being pushed out of the running train. Her head landed on the solid steel rail tracks. She could not move. Her leg was lying paralyzed on a parallel track. She saw train lights approaching from a distance. With all her efforts, she attempted to move. She could not. The train rushed over her leg and she lost consciousness.
All it took was one push.
Her leg was amputated below the knee. It took four months to recover at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). She resolved not to stay on that bed for long. To not give up. It was her strength and tenacity that made her look up at Mount Everest. That would be her goal.
She trained silently, avoiding the limelight. Guided by Bachendri Pai, the first Indian woman to climb Everest, she walked the hard path that led her to the top in 2015. Dr. Arunima Sinha became the world's first female amputee to climb Mount Everest. It took her 52 days and one push.
It was resilience in the aftermath of violence, determination during training, and true grit that resulted in glory. Dr. Arunima Sinha performed big, silently. Just like Mount Everest.