Intrepid Indian teenager skis across Greenland
Deeya Suzannah Bajaj, a student of class XII, accompanied her father, ace adventurer and explorer Ajeet Bajaj as they followed the line of the Artic Circle between Kangerlussuaq on the west coast and Isortoq on the east coast of Greenland.
"Deeya did us exceptionally proud. We were initially worried since this year a lot of teams who proceeded on the trip did not succeed and were forced to evacuate due to bad weather and frostbite. She however led from the front and was handling the GPS for us," Ajeet Bajaj told PTI in an interview.
Beginning May 13 this year, the Bajajs were part of a six-member team comprising two Belgians, a New Zealander, an American and two Inuits that undertook the expedition, the third in the Polar Trilogy that also includes skiing to the North Pole and the South Pole.
Deeya, who is a black belt in taekwando, a scuba driver and a sports enthusiast says she was excited to accompany her father who had scaled both the North and South Pole and trained hard for upto three months prior to the trip.
"I have done a lot of adventure activities and am a swimmer so in terms of endurance I did not really need any preparation. I went to the gym everyday," says Deeya.
Expedition participants are expected to ski for up to 10 hours daily on the ice caps in almost 24-hour sunlight across an expanse that closely resembles the interior of Antarctica with unbroken snow as far as one can see.
"It is one of the most extreme expeditions. We carry special high calorie food and special flasks carrying high energy fluids. It is only in the evenings that we can sit to have a proper meal but even for that we had to boil water by melting ice," recounts the senior Bajaj.
For Deeya, the expedition was also fun. "No doubt the biggest challenge was the numbing cold and the biting cold wind that would sometimes get to even 30 km per hour and chances of getting knocked down was high, especially when you were skiing in the opposite direction", she says.
"The sights and slopes were amazing. There is something indescribable about being in the outdoors with no outside communication whatsoever. It is really pushing yourself to the limit."
The youngster says she plans to help set up a girls orphanage in Rishikesh through funds raised through this expedition.
Currently, the schoolgirl says, even though she wants to continue her adventures into other territories her priority remains school and college for now.
The Bajajs` expedition was supported by outdoor and adventure brand Woodland that has in the past sponsored other Indians on expeditions to South Pole, Mt Everest, Mt Satopath and across the Pin Parwati Pass among others.