Oscar Wilde, TVF, Standup Comedy, Philosophers, Coke Studio, Movies, mountain trails, oxygen levels, medication, physiotherapy….an individual talking about all of the above, with a significant level of pedagogic comfort needs to be an experienced, receding hairline with shades of grey around the temples. But…when you hear all of this from a not yet 25 boy, then that is something that generates a sense of awe for the individual.
I am talking about 23 year old Karthik Maddineni, the Trek Leader at India Hikes, who leads back to back trekking expeditions for groups that choose India Hikes as their trek partner.
Karthik is a self-made repository of information and know-how about a variety of stuff that will keep a group of any size interested in his monologues, expecting a new set of arguments on a wide domain of topics, which may or may not be of general interest. How does he keep himself abreast and what made him roam the mountains at such a young age, when planning a structured career is what most people that age ponder about.
Says, Karthik, who hails from Kandukur near Nellore – Andhra Pradesh, that his parents both Professors, maintained a library at home, which facilitated an interest in reading at a very young age. He was reading Enid Blyton at the age of 5, which is when most kids have just come out of the kindergarten phenomenon. The enigma created by the adventures of the Blyton protagonists such as Noddy, Famous Five, Secret Seven and the Adventure series elicited a need to reach out to nature and be amidst the creation of the almighty in this kid.
Being brilliant at studies and sports set up the routine vanilla path for the prodigy, that of entering a prestigious Engineering or Medical college as the best thing to do with life. He got admission into a prestigious Engineering college at 16 and after a year thought that being an engineer is not what ignited his passions and thus wasting 5 years of life in pursuing this stream was not ideal in terms of alignment to his dreams. Choosing to drop out of one of the best Engineering colleges created the obvious melodrama at home and sundry. Karthik stood his ground, explained his radical thought process, presented reasoned arguments finally convincing his well-wishers that walking the mountains across the world with a back pack was his happiness quotient and nothing else would supplement this domain. So breaking all the ground rules, Karthik took up his act of passion, pursuing his dreams. What followed was struggle for the next few years for this teenager choosing an option to taking on the world in an offbeat manner.
Pursuing a variety of jobs, keeping abreast with his passion of traversing nature amidst mountains, got him connected finally to Bangalore based India Hikes, the pioneer in organized trekking communities in India, what followed was an expected association, making Karthik a recognized team leader in the India Hikes family.
Karthik, having pursued and completed a few regulatory and complementary courses related mountaineering and outdoor health management, has now structured his next 24 months in such a manner, that allows him to take up advanced courses in mountaineering, leadership, primary health management, skiing, etc. All of this along with taking trekkers across the Himalayas, enjoying building expertise in his chosen field, while building management skill sets viz. relationship management, people management, empathy, primary health care, purchase management, vendor management, cross sales, etc.
When leading a team of trekkers, both skilled as well as novice, Karthik makes it a point to be part of the team, celebrating each minute with them, making sure that the people who look up to him, feel at home with his presence, his effervescence, character, sense of humor, patience, and a forever helping hand stand out. The willingness to put in hard work along with the above, all in a days play, ensure that his passion lives amongst those who have been with him, even when he is not around.
In his own words, “People need to realize passion and hard work is all that matters – The thing that kept me going was I knew success always comes when I know I’m passionate, disciplined and work hard with a vision. Further, if you don’t have passion and the will to be disciplined and hardworking … no point of leaving the main stream – don’t follow anything if you don’t have the will to suffer, endure and succeed.”
Finally, hard work involves discipline to be maintained, sacrifices to be made – thousands seek off beat passions, only a few make it. Take inspiration from those who succeed but be aware of the reasons why others fail. Do not confuse comfort with happiness.That’s Karthik Madinenni for you. Photo Courtesy: Dheeraj, Shravan, UT