Reach for the Top

Introduction: Reach for the Top is a biographical account of the lives of two extraordinary women: Santosh Yadav and Maria Sharapova. It honours the accomplishments of these two strong women who excelled despite adversity.

The lesson is divided into two sections

Part I: profiles Santosh Yadav, the world’s first woman to summit Mount Everest twice. Her tale is truly inspirational. Despite being born into a distorted society that frowned on the birth of a female child and required females to marry off at the age of sixteen, she forged her own path, pursued her ambitions, and attained global recognition.

Part II: It is about a young Russian woman named Maria Sharapova, who rose to the pinnacle of women’s tennis at the age of eighteen. As you read about her, try to make a comparison to Santosh Yadav.

Summary: Part-I (Santosh Yadav)

Santosh Yadav was born to prosperous landowners in the Rohtak area of Haryana. She was the youngest of six children, the younger sister of five older brothers. As a result of the customs, she was compelled to attend the village school. Since childhood, she has been averse to customs, preferring shorts to traditional clothes. She was obliged to marry at the age of sixteen, like other country girls, but she resisted and insisted on obtaining an education before marrying. Santosh enrolled in a Delhi school but her parents refused to support her. She accepted it and chose to work part-time to help defray the cost of her education. Finally, her parents agreed to financially assist her. Her father encouraged her to pursue higher education. Santosh enrolled in the Maharani college in Jaipur following high school and resided in the Kasturba hostel. There she observed folks ascending the Aravalli hills and was intrigued to learn what lay on the other side. She became acquainted with a group of mountaineers and thus embarked on her first climbing excursion. She scaled Mount Everest four years later, in 1992. Her superiors were astonished by her determination, physical and mental strength. Her climbing companions admired her compassion for others and her desire to work in a team. By sharing her oxygen cylinder with a fellow climber named Mohan Singh, she saved his life. She joined an Indo-Nepalese woman expedition and climbed Everest twice, becoming the world’s first woman to do it. Santosh had no words to explain the overwhelming sense of joy and pride she felt when she was on top of the globe. She felt pleased to be an Indian as she raised the Indian flag. As an environmentalist, she escorted 500 kg of waste down from the Himalayas.

Santosh’s Birth and Background

Santosh Yadav is a two-time Everest summiteer. She is the world’s only female to accomplish this feat. She was born into a culture that saw the birth of a boy as a blessing. The daughter was made to feel uncomfortable. Santosh’s mother received a blessing from a holy man, believing she desired a boy. However, Haryana is the sixth child of Santosh’s grandmother.
She has five brothers and sisters.

Non-traditional Santosh

She was given the name ‘Santosh,’ which means ‘contentment.’ Santosh started living her life on her own terms. Other girls dressed in traditional Indian attire. But she was dressed in shorts. She stated that she was resolved to take the right route. Others were to change, but not she.

Santosh’s great desire for education

Santosh was the daughter of wealthy landlords. They may send her to nearby Delhi, the capital, for education. They did, however, send her to the community school. Santosh made the decision to oppose the system. She declined to marry when she reached the age of sixteen. The majority of the females in her village married at that age. She cautioned her parents that if she did not acquire a good education, she would never marry. As a result, she was accepted into a school in Delhi. Her parents were adamant about not paying her fees. She did, however, inform them that she would work part-time to supplement her income. They promised to cover the cost of her education. Santosh graduated from high school. She travelled to Jaipur to attend Maharani College. Kasturba Hostel gave her a room. It overlooked the Aravalli Hills. She used to observe the folks departing as they climbed the hill.

Takes to climbing

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She decided to investigate the disappearance of the climbers one day. She visited the location. Except for a few climbers, she encountered no one. They persuaded her to start climbing. There was no turning back from that point on.

Joins Institute of Mountaineering

Santosh saved money when she joined the Institute of Mountaineering. She enrolled in the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering in Uttarkashi. She drove straight there from Jaipur. From there, she sent a letter to her father. She apologised for enrolling in Uttarkashi in the letter.

A Remarkable Climber

Every year, Santosh went on an adventure there. She gained an extraordinary resilience to cold and altitude. She had a strong determination, physical endurance, and mental fortitude. Her efforts began to bear fruit.

Conquers Mount Everest

She had asked the Aravalli Mountaineers whether she may join them in 1988. 1992 was the year of her greatest success. She reached the summit of Mt. Everest when she was only twenty years old. As a result, she became the world’s youngest woman to do so. She was similarly helpful to the other climbers.

Santosh’s other side as a climber

Santosh Yadav gave extra care to a climber during the 1992 Everest expedition. He died at the South Col. She was powerless to save him. She did, however, save another climber, Mohan Singh. He would have died if Santosh had not given him her oxygen.

Conquers Everest the second time

Within a year, Santosh was invited by the Indo-Nepalese Women’s Expedition. She became a member of it. She then climbed Everest a second time. She established a record by becoming the only woman to have climbed Mount Everest twice.

Honoured by the Government

Her accomplishment was recognised by the Indian government. She was awarded the Padmashri. It is one of the country’s highest honours.

At the pinnacle, there are indescribable moments. Santosh shared her sensations of being on top of the world. She stated that it took her some time to comprehend that event. She raised the Indian tricolour. She can not put into words how she felt at the time. On top of the world, she noticed the Indian flag-waving. It was a spiritual experience for her. She was pleased to be an Indian. Santosh was also an environmentalist. She carried 500 kg of garbage down from the Himalayas.

Value points Santosh Yadav

•  Santosh Yadav is the only woman in the world to scale Mt. Everest twice.
•  She was born in the small village  of  Joniyawas of  Rewari district in Haryana, in a  traditional conservative family.
•  Her parents were traditional,  prosperous landlords and she was the youngest and the only sister of five brothers.
•  Contrary to her name  ‘Santosh’  was not satisfied with the traditional way of life.
•  To start with,  she did not wear traditional dresses in her childhood and preferred shorts.  She studied in the village school.
•  She was pressurised by her parents as she turned sixteen, to get married. Usually in her village girls got married at this age.  But  Santosh threatened her parents to never marry if she did not get a  proper education.
•  She left home and got herself enrolled in a  Delhi school.  When her parents refused to pay for her education,  she politely informed them that she would earn working part-time to pay her fee.  Then her parents agreed to pay for her education.
•  After passing the high school exam, she joined Maharani College in Jaipur, her room in  Kasturba Hostel faced the Aravalli  Hills. •  From the room,  she used to watch people climbing hills then disappearing.  Curious to find the reason,  one day she went there and found only a  few mountaineers.
•  She asked if she could join them.  They not only agreed but motivated her to take to climbing.
•  She started saving money and enrolled herself in a  course with permission and later apologised for it.
•  Instead of going back home,  she went straight for the training.  She went on an expedition every year after that.

Questions and Answers

I. Answer these questions in one or two sentences each. (The paragraph numbers within brackets provide clues to the answers.)

Question 1. Why was the ‘holy man’ who gave Santosh’s mother his blessings surprised?
Answer: The ‘holy man’ who gave Santosh’s mother his blessings was surprised because Santosh’s grandmother sought that Santosh’s mother be blessed with a daughter. This was quite astonishing for the holy man because people mostly seek blessings for having a son.

Question 2. Give an example to show that even as a young girl Santosh was not ready to accept anything unreasonable.
Answer: Even as a young girl, Santosh was not ready to accept anything unreasonable. She was not content with her place in the traditional way of life and began living life on her own terms from the start. While other girls wore traditional Indian dresses, Santosh used to wear shorts.

Question 3. Why was Santosh sent to the local school?
Answer: Although Santosh’s parents were rich landowners and could have sent her to the best schools, Santosh was sent to the local school because of the prevailing custom in the family.

Question 4. When did she leave home for Delhi, and why?
Answer: She left home for Delhi when she was sixteen because she wanted to get a proper education.

Question 5. Why did Santosh’s parents agree to pay for her schooling in Delhi? What mental qualities of Santosh are brought into light by this incident?
Answer: Santosh’s parents agreed to pay for her schooling in Delhi when she informed them about her plans to earn money by working part-time to pay for her education.
By this incident, we get to know that Santosh had a very clear goal of getting properly educated no matter what.

II. Answer each of these questions in a short paragraph (about 30 words)

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Question 1. How did Santosh begin to climb mountains?
Answer: Kasturba Hostel where Santosh used to stay during her college days, faced Aravalli Hills. She used to watch the villagers go up the hill and vanish after a while. She decided to check out the mountains herself. She asked the villagers if she could join them to which they agreed. Then, Santosh began to climb mountains.

Question 2. What incidents during the Everest expedition show Santosh’s concern for her teammates?
Answer: During the Everest expedition in 1992, Santosh provided special care to a climber who was dying at the South Col. She could not save him but she managed to save another climber, Mohan Singh, by sharing her oxygen with him.

Question 3. What shows her concern for the environment?
Answer: Santosh collected and brought down 500 kilograms of garbage from the Himalayas on her way back from the 1992 Everest expedition. This shows her concern for the environment.

Question 4. How does she describe her feelings at the summit of Everest?
Answer: She says that it took her some time for the enormity of the moment to sink in. She unfurled the Indian tricolour and held it aloft on the roof of the world.
She tells that the feeling is indescribable to watch the Indian flag flying on top of the world. She felt proud as an Indian.

Question 5. Santosh Yadav got into the record books both times she scaled Mt Everest. What were the reasons for this?

Answer: Santosh Yadav got into the record books both times she scaled Mt Everest. The first time she climbed Mt Everest, she got the record of the youngest woman in the world to achieve the feat. The second time she climbed Mt Everest, she became the only woman to climb the Everest

III. Complete the following statements.

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1. From her room in Kasturba Hostel, Santosh used to _________________.
2. When she finished college, Santosh had to write a letter of apology to her father because
3. During the Everest expedition, her seniors in the team admired her _________________ while
_________________ endeared her to fellow climbers.

1. From her room in Kasturba Hostel, Santosh used to watch villagers from my room, going up the hill and suddenly vanishing after a while.
2. When she finished college, Santosh had to write a letter of apology to her father because without his permission she had got herself enrolled at Uttarkashi.
3. During the Everest expedition, her seniors in the team admired her climbing skills, physical fitness, and mental strength, while her concern for others and desire to work together with them endeared her to fellow climbers.

IV. Pick out words from the text that mean the same as the following words or expressions. (Look in the paragraphs indicated.)
1. took to be true without a proof (1):
2. based on reason; sensible; reasonable (2)
3. the usual way of doing things (3):
4. a strong desire arising from within (5):
5. the power to endure, without falling ill (7):

1. took to be true without proof: assumed
2. based on reason; sensible; reasonable: rational
3. the usual way of doing things: custom
4. a strong desire arising from within: urge
5. the power to endure, without falling ill: resistance

Also Read: Reach for the Top -II

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