It is an inspirational account of the phenomenal success and achievements of an Indian woman mountaineer, Santosh Yadav, who beat all odds and prejudices to script a success story. She was born in a small village of Haryana. She had an independent temperament right from the beginning and wished to live life on her own terms. She knew well that her conservative family would pressurize her to adhere to the traditional way of life. But at the same time she was aware that if she chose a correct and a rational path, she would be able to change others and win their support.
Santosh Yadav is the first woman in the world to climb Mount Everest twice, and the first woman to successfully climb Mt. Everest from Kangshung Face. She climbed the peak first in May, 1992 and then again in May, 1993.
Santosh Yadav was born in a traditional family. She had five brothers. She was born in the small village of Joniyawas in Haryana. The girl was given the name Santosh, which means contentment. But Santosh was not always content with her place in a traditional way of life. She began living life on her own terms from the start. Where other girls wore traditional Indian dresses, Santosh preferred shorts.
Santosh’s parents were affluent landowners who could afford to send their children to the best schools. But they sent her in a local village school. At the age of sixteen years, her parents wanted to marry her. She threatened her parents that she would never marry if she did not get a proper education. She left home and got herself enrolled in a school in Delhi. When her parents refused to pay for her education, she politely informed them of her plans to earn money by working part-time to pay her school fees. Her Parents then agreed to pay for her education.
Santosh passed the high school examinations and went to Jaipur. She joined Maharani College and got a room in Kasturba Hostel. She developed a love for mountaineering while watching the Aravalli Hills. She saved money and enrolled in a course at Uttarkashi’s Nehru Institute of Mountaineering.
Thereafter, Santosh went on an expedition every year. Her climbing skills matured rapidly. Also, she developed a remarkable resistance to cold and the altitude. At barely twenty years of age, Santosh Yadav conquered Mt. Everest, becoming the youngest woman in the world to achieve the feat. Within twelve months, Santosh found herself a member of an Indo-Nepalese Women’s Expedition that invited her to join them. She then conquered the Everest a second time. The government of India recognized Santosh’s achievements as a celebrated mountaineer.
Acknowledging her feat as the only woman to climb Mount Everest twice, the government bestowed upon her one of the nation’s top honours, the Padmashri.
Santosh was a fervent environmentalist. Her concern for the environment is evident from the fact that she collected and brought down 500 kilograms of garbage from the Himalayas.