My Real Life hero: Sujoy Das
Sujoy is one of my younger cousins (though none of us are that young any more). His mum and my dad are first cousins. Growing up, we lived too far away to really know him but one of the marvellous things about reconnecting with your cousins as adults is that you discover how much you have in common and what wonderful people they have become. Sujoy has always been obsessed with mountains (as far as I remember) and this recent article in The Telegraph in India is proof. He has made this obsession combined with his phenomenal photographic talents into a successful business. He is a stickler for details and I am hoping that he will be taking a bunch of my family and friends to Leh for my 60th birthday in 2016.
As I write this post, he is leading a trek to Annapurna in Nepal. I am personally looking forward to the photographs. Hope he has a safe trip up and back.
A man of few words at the best of times, I sent him my heroes questions and here are his responses:
What inspires you?
Who is your hero? Why?
I think it would be Joseph Dalton Hooker the British botanist and explorer who way back in 1849 did an amazing tour of Sikkim and documented the country for the first time. He wrote a book called Himalayan Journals which became a classic in Himalayan literature and is sadly now out of print. When I went to Sikkim in 1986, the shadow of Hooker was always in front of me, and many of the trails which I followed were in his footsteps!
If you had a choice of becoming one of your (all time - dead or alive; real or fiction) favourite character, who would it be and why?
I think it would be Eric Shipton, the British explorer and mountaineer – Shipton did two great journeys in the Himalaya which anyone would die for – along with Bill Tilman he forged an entry into the Rishi Gorge in the Garhwal and reached the fabled Nanda Devi Sanctuary in 1934 and again in 1951 discovered the route to Everest from the south along with Edmund Hillary.
When are you happiest?
When I am walking a Himalayan trail with my camera on a bright sunny morning with the mountains in front, the birds chirping in the forest and the river running through the gorge below!
What pisses you off most?
I am great believer in fair play so if something is unjust or unethical it really irks me a lot!
If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?
Use it to set up an organization which could set up schools, medical care, sanitation, housing and solar power for the remote villages in the Himalayas which is badly needed
Like all my heroes, you can connect, support them in many ways - here are Sujoy's links. Have fun getting to know my cousin.