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Revival hope for delayed memoir

Fans of ace climber Bachendri Pal can look forward to reading her second book later this year.

Publication of the Everester’s book, which narrates her experiences during an all-women Trans-Himalayan expedition in 1997, had been delayed due to a number of reasons, including Bachendri’s outdoor commitments.

But, the climber has now made up her mind to focus on publishing the memoir, which is yet to have a title. Tata Steel is assisting the climber to find a publisher.

“I have been preoccupied with mountaineering activities. But, now I have decided to focus on the book. Abhi nahin to kabhi nahin (Either it’s now or never). I am very serious in publishing it as soon as possible,” Bachendri told The Telegraph.

The ace climber added that she had finished writing the book in 2009. “But, I would also like to incorporate the memoirs of some of my teammates, who accompanied me on the seven-day-long, 4,500km journey from Arunachal Pradesh to Siachen,” she said.

Bachendri has already started getting in touch with her fellow climbers.

“I will ask them to send pictures and their personal experiences during the expedition. I have some pictures, but they are not sufficient. I need a lot more,” she added.

Bachendri added that she was heading to Uttar Kashi on February 27 for conducting Tata Steel Adventure Foundation’s summer outdoor leadership programme, but she would stay in touch with her seven teammates over phone and e-mail.

The ace climber thanked Tata Steel for extending a helping hand. “The company arranged a meeting with representatives of a publishing firm, who visited the city last year. But, I was busy with TSAF’s outdoor leadership programme in the Himalayas and couldn’t meet them. But now, I will have to adjust my schedule,” she said, adding that editing the book had also contributed to the delay.

Bachendri credited Brig (retd) D.K. Khullar in helping her write the book. “Khullar had even fixed an appointment with a Delhi-based publishing house. But, I could not make it to the national capital for some unavoidable reasons,” the Padma Shri awardee recalled, with a tinge of disappointment.

Bachendri’s first book, Everest — My Journey to the Top, was published in 1988. In 11 languages, it was a hit among bookworms and adventure lovers. Some portions of the book were also incorporated in school curricula.