The pandemic has played havoc with major sports events, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic, either being postponed or cancelled. Officially, sports is in uncharted territory. These are truly challenging and unprecedented times for all those involved in sports. However, as the great Leonard Cohen once said, ‘There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in’.
In this great churn, doors to new avenues are being opened, be it mountaineering or adventure sports.
It is none other than Dr Arun Nayak, the orthodontist and mountaineer who has set the ball rolling, keeping himself close to the sport in his own manner.
“Yes, it all depends on each one's way of going about things. I put into use all available resources and kept myself close to the sport." Living in a 47-storied building in Byculla, Arun made the staircase his mountain and the parking level his marathon route.
“It has been 75 times that I have gone up and down the stairs and the elevation covered could be equivalent to reaching the summit of Mount Everest,” said Arun, who with his wife Ahilya, is an avid trekker, and has many milestones to boot.
This has shown the 'cracks' provided by the pandemic, to learn, build, and keep oneself physically fit.
“It all depends on the individual. I have done it because I want these things even during lean times,” says Arun.
Ascending Mount Everest by climbing the stairs, equivalent to 3, 000 floors in less than 21 active hours inside two and a half days is one of his standout feats.
There are many such athletes who are ensuring that they are looking after their safety, health, and overall welfare thoroughly, making it their topmost priority in the current situation, feels Arun, who is a Professor in Orthodontics.
Arun has won photography awards, also being a wildlife enthusiast. He is an endurance runner and triathlete. Currently a private practitioner, he spends a lot of his spare time in fitness training for endurance events and mountaineering.
He says he was never an athlete of mark in his school and college days, "but I used to be adept at indoor games like table tennis and carrom."
But it was trekking that helped him find his soulmate Ahilya, a Prosthodontist, who has graduated from Nair Hospital DENTAL college, Mumbai. She has been trekking since her college days. “Naturally, when we came together in 2004 after my PG in GDC Nagpur, we both went on day treks in the Sahyadris with a bunch of like-minded friends,” which kickstarted their journey and they are still going strong.
He did draw up an itinerary for 2020, but Covid-19 cast a wet blanket on his plans.
However, he believes, it is better to understand and organise one's life beyond Covid-19 and it is up to each one to emerge stronger, face challenges head-on and carve our way out of this mess.