Why shouldn’t one climb ‘Everest’ ?


Pooja Shetty expounds on why the concept of the new Indian TV show ‘Everest’ doesn’t really make the cut



Mt. Everest in all its glory
Mt. Everest in all its glory

Recently, I watched the trailer for Everest, the new TV series by Ashutosh Gowariker and I am slightly disturbed. It starts off with a father stating quite frankly that it troubles him that he has a daughter followed by the daughter expressing her dream of climbing Everest, only because she wants a place in her father’s heart?! If twenty years of hugs, smiles and love did not melt the heart of a man, or make him question his beliefs, I ask how will scaling Mt. Everest change that? More importantly why would anyone want a place in such a cold dark room?

Hailing from a metro, I always imagined that female infanticide or unhappiness over a girl child only happened in isolated villages of the country, where the view prevails that a girl child is a burden on the finances as well as the self-respect of the family during marriage. However, this show has an urban man who for some odd reason is not fond of his daughter. Giving him the benefit of doubt, maybe his stupidity originates in the stereotypes of the society. Perhaps, he believes that women can’t do many things that men can do and therefore he would never feel the pride that the father of a boy would. But, parental love is a unique kind of love which is always unconditional and selfless. I am pretty certain that parents are proud of their children even in their mediocrity. Haven’t we all gone through bouts of embarrassment when they innocently declare our tiniest achievements in front of the world as grand successes? Even the restrictions that are laid out onto the path of a daughter are mostly out of the instinct to protect ­–an instinct based out of love. How does climbing Mt. Everest create love where there isn’t any? Besides, that women can’t climb Everest is a huge misconception – we had Bachendri Pal do it in 1984, followed by many other Indian women. So, I’d say that the whole premise of the show is questionable.

Isn’t it high time we stop depicting our lead characters to be saint like, who despite the blatant malevolence believe in the good within everyone around them? This kind of attitude leads to people holding on to the relationships which are clearly headed for a disaster. We need to inculcate within us the though that giving up and moving on is not a sign of failure, but it is a sign of strength. I would love to watch a show where the protagonist has the courage to think and operate in a space which completely rejects what society expects of him or her. The youth are longing for an iconoclastic show where the person can just be comfortable with the fact that they are selfish, irrational and confused souls. Since art is a reflection of society, it makes me wonder – is Ashutosh Gowariker the one with a distorted mirror or is it just me? Are we all holy saints or just plain messed up instead?


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