“Challenge is what enthralls me and free spirit is what I exhibit. Never Give Up, Never Give In! is a phrase that works miracles for me. ‘Courage and Conviction’ has been a way of expression of myself” -MalliMastanBabu.
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The ace Indian climber and a role model for all potential mountaineers in India and across the globe, MalliMastanBabuwent missing on March 24, 2015 in exceptionally bad weather while trying to submit the Cerro Tres Cruces, a mountain in the Andes (second highest mountain in Chile). Malli’sdeath was announced on April 4, 2015, and the world mourned as the ‘mountains retained their favorite child.’
India’s pride MalliMastanBabu, an adventurer and motivational speaker died doing what he liked doing the most. 40-year-old Mallihas some exceptional achievements in life;here are some of the reasons why every Indian must salute its ace mountaineer.
An excellent student
MalliMastanBabu was a very bright student right from school. Alumnus of Sainik School, Korukonda, Malli went on to graduate in Electrical Engineering from National Institute of Technology, Jamshedpur. He completed his M. Tech in Electronics from Indian Institute of Technology,Kharagpur before working as a software engineer for three years. Thereafter, he completed two-year Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) from Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta.
An adventurer for life
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Giving up on his established career as a software engineer, soon after completing his PGDM,Malli embarked on the lifelong journey of adventure to become the only Indian and the world’s fastest Seven Summiteer ever to scaleseven highest peaks, oneeach in the seven continents in record time of 172 days. Interestingly, Malliscaled the Aconcagua (South America), Denali (North America), Elbrus (Europe), Kilimanjaro (Africa), Mt. Everest (Asia), Vinson Massif (Antarctica) and Kosciuszko and Carstenz Pyramid (Australia & Oceania), all on the seven days of the first week of every calendar month between January 19 and July 10, 2006, in record 172 days, as informed.
The lone ranger
Being a prolific adventurer and a mountaineer, MalliBabu had been solo on 90 percent of his expeditions, which is an achievement in itself. It’s noteworthy that whenever Babu was not on a solo expedition, it meant, he was leading a team of people.When asked in a radio interview why he preferred to go solo on expeditions, Babuadmitted “because it would be difficult for others (mountaineers) to match his pace.”
A man made for the mountains
Just before his death, when he was lost on the Andes, an interesting fact was revealed about him that he did not use a Garmin GPS which he used to carry. He was so used to and well-versed with the terrains of the mountains that he never required a GPS.
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- He was the first Indian to summit Mt. Vinson Massif, the highest peak in Antarctica.
- He was the first Indian to summit Mt. Carstensz Pyramid, the highest peak in Oceania.
- MalliMastanBabu is the founder of Adventure Club in IIM Calcutta.
- At the Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, Babu was conferred with the ‘ConjeeRustumjeeCohoujeeBey Award’ for Outstanding Youth of the Year by United States of America Senator John Kerry.
- He was awarded with the title ‘The Pride of India’ by Indian American Friendship Council at Dallas, Texas.
- Malliwanted to climb the 14 highest peaks of the Andes Mountains. For this, he had become fluent in Spanish, so as to communicate freely with the locals.
- In addition to being one of the best climbers in the world, Malli was a freelance photographer and writer,and was fond of practicing yoga and meditation.
His last belongings
Malli’s lifeless body was found on April 3, 2015 on the Cerro Tres Cruces range in the Andes that he had hoped to conquer. On his last mission, Babu had a Bhagvad Gita, an Indian Flag and a Prayer bead in his bag.
The prolific mountaineer that he was, MalliMastanBabudeserves a salute for his free spirit, courage and conviction, which will continuously inspire all young adventurers around the globe, and especially in India.Malli will be accorded with a State funeral in his native village in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh.