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Proud to be an Assamese, says Tarun Saikia
Pabitra Gogoi

 GUWAHATI, May 22 – “I am proud to be an Assamese and carry the tri-colour to Mt Everest”, said Tarun Saikia who became the first Assamese to scale the highest peak in the world.

In the wee hours of May 18, Tarun Saikia stepped on the 8,848 metre peak, creating history for the State.

Talking to The Assam Tribune today from the base camp which is over 21,000 feet high, Tarun said, “I am physically okay and having light work-out to get ready for the return journey. We will stay at the base camp for 2-3 days and return to Luklla by helicopter.” From Luklla the team will go to Kathmandu and from there to New Delhi. He is likely to return to Assam in the first week of June.

He also revealed that the other Assamese climber – Manish Kumar Deka, who could not make it to the summit on May 18 – will try again on May 25.

In a broken voice, due to chilly conditions, Tarun said that on the morning of that eventful day, the weather at the peak was comparatively calm. Although the wind speed was 40-45 km per hour and temperature hovering around minus 25 to 30 degrees, he managed to reach the peak around 5.30 am. After staying at the peak for about 20 minutes, he started his descent.

Several Assamese climbers, right from Rohini Kumar Bhuyan to Nesim Akter and Pranoy Bordoloi had attempted to scale Mt Everest before but failed.

It was not an overnight success for the climber. Completing his basic course at WHMI, Manali in 1993, Tarun started his journey in this treacherous event. In 2006, he completed his advanced course in mountaineering at HMI, Darjeeling.

His brother-in-law Badan Das said between 1993 and 2012 Tarun climbed 11 peaks while attempting 16. Bhartkunda, Babisivling, Kedardom, Jogin, Nandadevi, Thalu, Kamet, Sudarshan, Bhagirathi, Mulkillah, Satotanth, Nepal Peak (Pre Everest), Papsura were some of the peaks where Tarun made expeditions since 1993.

Tarun, who runs a fruit juice parlour at Ganeshguri, would like to dedicate his future to the cause of mountaineering. He is closely associated with all the mountaineering organisations of the State and made few expeditions with the Directorate of Sports, informed Das. With one younger brother, two elder sisters and as many younger sisters along with his mother, Tarun faces a struggling but adventurous life. But his single-minded vision and with an untiring zeal, Tarun has finally reaped the harvest and scripted history for Assam.

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