Reach for the Top
· The chapter ‘Reach for the Top’ is divided into two parts – one is dedicated to Santosh Yadav and the other to Maria Sharapova.
· The chapter is compiled of the excerpts from the interviews given by Santosh and Maria on different occasions.
· It beautifully strings important incidents, episodes, difficulties and achievements in the life of Santosh and Maria.
· The chapter highlights important qualities, strengths of character and mental toughness of the two personalities who can inspire the children and youngsters to pursue their dreams unto success.
· The chapter is a beautiful message to the young minds to keep their determination unshaken and will unwavered. It teaches us that we have to pay a price for our success.
Summary / Synopsis
Part I – Santosh Yadav
§ Santosh Yadav was born in a society where the birth of a son was regarded as a blessing and a daughter was not welcome. A holy man blessed Santosh’s pregnant mother to have a son thinking that she wanted a son. But Santosh’s grandmother requested for the blessing of a son. She was born as the sixth child, a sister to five brothers.
§ She was named ‘Santosh’ meaning contentment. Santosh began living life on her own terms. Other girls wore traditional Indian dresses, but she wore shorts. She said that if she was determined to choose a correct path, others were to change themselves, not she.
§ Santosh’s parents were rich landowners and could afford good education in a good school even in Delhi, the Capital. But they sent her to the village school following the village custom. Santosh decided to fight the system quietly. When she turned sixteen, she refused to marry and warned her parents that she would never marry if she did not get proper education.
§ So she got admission in a school in Delhi. When her parents refused to pay her fees, she told, she would work part time to pay her fees. Then, they had to pay for her education.
§ Santosh passed the high school. She joined Maharani College in Jaipur. She got a room in Kasturba Hostel. It faced the Aravalli Hills. She used to see the villagers going up the hill and disappearing after a while. She went there and saw some climbers. They encouraged her to take to climbing. Then, there was no looking back.
§ Santosh saved money and enrolled herself in a course at Uttarkashi’s Nehru Institute of Mountaineering. She went there directly from Jaipur and wrote a letter to her father to apologise for not going home during the break and not taking prior permission.
§ Santosh went on an expedition every year. She developed a remarkable resistance to cold and the altitude. She had an iron will, physical endurance and mental toughness. In 1992 she conquered Mt. Everest when she was barely twenty years old. She thus became the youngest woman in the world to achieve it.
§ During the 1992 Everest mission, Santosh Yadav provided special care to a climber but could not save him. But she managed to save another climber, Mohan Singh by sharing her oxygen with him.
§ Within twelve months, Santosh was invited by Indo-Nepalese Women’s Expedition. She then conquered the Everest second time and became the only woman to have climbed the Everest twice. She was honoured with the Padmashri.
§ Describing her feelings Santosh said that it took her some time to take moment to be true. When she unfurled the Indian tricolour on Everest, it was a spiritual moment for her. She felt proud to be an Indian. As an environmentalist she brought down 500 kilograms of garbage from the Himalayas.
Part 2 – Maria Sharapova
§ Maria Sharapova, a Siberian by birth clinched the world number one position in women’s tennis on 22 August 2005. It took her four years to achieve the top position.
§ Even before celebrating her 10th birthday she was sent to Florida, America with her father. She suffered from separation from her mother, Yelena who could not join her due to visa restrictions. Her father also couldn’t see her due to work load to keep her tennis-training going.
§ At hostel, her seniors would wake her after 11 pm and make her clean the room. This made her more determined and mentally tough. She also learnt how to take care of herself. She never thought of quitting as she knew what she wanted. This toughness made her pursue her dream till the end.
§ She bagged the ladies’ single crown at Wimbledon in 2004. She became world’s number one in 2005.She touched the hearts of tennis fans. She didn’t have any grudges as she knew very well that her sacrifices were worth it. She says that she works hard at what she dreams. This is her mantra for success.
§ Maria speaks with an American accent. America is an important of her career but she is proud to be a Russian and wished to play the Olympics for Russia if she got a chance.
§ Sharapova’s hobbies are fashion, singing and dancing. She loves reading the novels of Arthur Canan Doyle. She is fond of evening gowns, chocolate pancakes and fizzy orange drinks.
§ Sharapova can’t be categorised. She has talent, a desire to succeed and readiness to sacrifice. These qualities have lifted her to the top of the world. She accepts money is a great motivation for Tennis which is a business and a sport. But the most important thing is to become number one. This dream has kept her going.