“I was very scared and prayed every day for two months when he was away. I had been informed about how tough this would be when the officials asked for our permission,” she says.
The Katmode family owes five acres land, half of which is across the border in Telengana. The family sows cotton and reaps around four to five quintals which gives them a net annual income of Rs40,000. “Both my sons, two daughters, myself and my husband have worked as farm labourers. Nobody in the family ever got such an opportunity. We all are very happy that Kavidas could do it,” she says.
It was practice which made it possible says Kavidas. “The fact that I am so connected with nature and have been used to going up and down hills for grazing goats helped me learn the techniques of rock climbing so quickly. The steep climbs and the extreme cold there used to make me breathless,” he says.
It was yoga, breathing techniques and meditation which helped a lot says Kotmode and adds, “I hope to continue with adventure sports and plan to scale Mt. Kilimanjaro.”
The family is still grappling with the windfalls that this feat has brought. “I opened a bank account today for the money to be deposited,” he says about the Rs25 lakhs which the government will be giving him. “We will spend some amount on repairs of the house. I would also like to make a water reservoir here as we have to lug water from far off places,” he says.
His grandmother also wants him to get a well and temple made. “This expedition has changed the way I think. Collectors in every district should initiate such schemes. The children in my village want to study in my school now. I want to change their fortunes too by either joining politics or clearing the administrative services exam,” he says.