vendredi 18 février 2011


I heard from my friends, many stories about the country know for it's cultures related to religions, myths, foods and the Kamasutra. I was curious to live my own indian experience. By luck, gods sent me into the unknow country.

Everything went very fast in the organization of this trip and I found myself on the 23th february 2011 at 3am at the Bombay's aeroport, still sleepy by these flights hours. Somehow, I crossed the border and took the direction to the hotel guided by Abhjeet “Bong” Burman. First test on my nerves with a rickshaw ride wich spins at high speed though the stressts of the vast city. I saw the reality of my dreams and finally I am in Bombay. Arrived at 5am, I collapsed in bed, already impressed by the town.

9hours later and the jet-lag, we went to the 8th Trophy International Givihar Competition that combines koreans, japaneses, israeli, swiss, frenchs and indians. The motivation of the climbers in India is without flaws. Remember that the famous video of the crazy climber, Jyoti, jumping from hold to hold on a rock wall ? Indians almost climb like that, sometimes awkward but very light, they pull on all the holds (sometimes nonexistent), cheered by “full-power” and dance during the finals. At least, it's never boaring (as the cricket competitions). I am surprised by the professionalism of the route setters, led by Vaibha Mehta, who created the original problems for climbers who have not a real climbing culture. They are just starting to write their history.

Before, I went to Puna, accompagned by Kunal and Viraj to share a moment with an NGO called “NIMALY TRUST” whose prupose to create jobs for the disabled. My visit seemed really important for members but beyond that, it's their kindness and humility that I impressed. I understood later during the climbing initiation to them “how with so little capacity they could reach the happiness ?”. They liked it so much, that some want to really try the new discipline.

After a good exchange with everyone, I left with sadness and to join the group with I would go to Pachmari. This place is located in the state of Madhya Pradesh and offer many virgin cliffs to explore. We go to the train station of Bombay for 14h trip with lots of surprises like calls for “Chaï” every two hours or in the night, the visit by the “lady-boys”. Damned ! On arrival at Pachmari, while we were waiting for the taxi, some people were scrutinzing me every 5 minutes, making comments or taking photos. In fact, in India, the handicap peoples don't really have friends in the sense that being sociable is a rare thing. So I went to meet them and finally whith smiles, we ended up shaking hands. The first laces of the road were performed at a fast pace -the indian's way – and I discovered with the child's eyes all these monkeys crossing the road at the risk of their lives to try to steal fruits of traders. Just as we had dropped the luggages, we went to make a meal. So all feasted on spicy sauces, I was hanging out to finish my plate. That was when Sharad – official photographer- wondering if an other food would be better for me, seeing me with dripping with beads sweat. Gently, I refuse trying to not be a good westerner, I obey and indians also use this miracle potion. In fact, nobody would not admit that the food were too powerfull for them. Funny Indians !


The next day, we traveled to the climbing site and start looking for news projects. Luckly, some boulders are oon the side. With Martin, I spot a good roof of 45° and no marks of the chalk. How it's possible ? In one afternoon, we set three new problems, nice and fresh in the shade. Sarcastly, we look Vaibha who is under a strong sun, sweats to bolding up a new 7b that al braves will attempt later. Satisfate with our discovery, I suggest at the whole vgoupe to come over to solve the problems. A little bit so enthusiastics, sometimes, Indians start on high balls that are generally unwelcome. So after a short session on the art of the spotting, they realize that the bouldering is a risky subject. We are not in the gym !

Run on the boulder...

The next day is a welcomed rest, because bodies are aching and the shredded skin of the fingers screams of pain. After fews days and just the time to blink my eyes, I returned to Bombay. And what is a beautiful surprise when the groupe offered me a present of “goodbye”. I still have that the tears on my cheeks. I joined the officials from Petzl by the train. Always in incredible epic experience ! After a day of “shopping” with Ram Vengurlak, I go to the college where were waiting for me at least 300 children and their parents. The surprise is huge in size when I see all these kids welcome me as a very special guest. Waouw, how without money, we can give a little we have ? I am intimided ! After the climbing demonstration, I present my climber's life and my experience and I saw all these eyes wide open starting at me. Ah innocence ! It's getting late and after a good diner, I go to sleep. The next, I went to a foundation called “ wich is an organization for te development of sport that works with childrens and youth from marginalized communities. They use the community sports and outdoor activities to help them to discover and to develop their potential and to create opportunities for a better future. Another beautiful day but all good trips come to the end.


My impressions about this mission :

Indian became independent after the departure of the British colonies in 1947. Even if today, India is among the major powers emerging along side China, Russia and Brazil. It is currently the eleventh largest economy in nominal and the fourth in parity purchassing power. All that is numbers, and it's true that the India is poor country on the edge of supportable for a westerner. We discover with astonishment the state of the houses, streets, rivers...and peoples. The reality is catching up fast fiction and I often wondered “How in 2011, we can keep a country in the misery ?”. We all know the answer...They don't seen to be more happy or unhappy that westerns, they only know that this facts. So what ? My mission was to demonstrate that the climbing - the sport – is a factor of socialization and the integration. We can start form nothing, subbomly pursuing dreams and one day ti have the satisfaction of helping the world.

Freedom has become dear to write their story.

Philippe RIBIERE

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