KOCHI: For the past three weeks, Niyog’s Facebook status has been flooded with messages pledging support for his dream -- that of representing India at the Fjallraven Polar, considered one of the most challenging winter adventures across the Arctic region. The young filmmaker from Punalur, who is currently ranked No. 1 in the world among the contenders from 120 countries says participating in the competition is a life-long dream. “I have always been passionate about travelling. And I believe in treading a different path. It was the challenge that inspired me for this expedition, which is one of the toughest competitions in the world,” says Niyog.
The competition, organised by the company Fjallraven Polar, requires each participant to cover 300km of Arctic wilderness. Each participant will be given a set of highly-skilled sledge dogs. They will have to traverse from the northern end of Norway to Sweden. One of the biggest challenges will be to overcome the blizzards and minus 30°C temperatures.
It takes at least fifteen days to complete the journey. Fjallraven Polar was started with the aim to give ordinary people an opportunity to test their limits.Niyog says it also gives the company, which is into research and development, to test their clothes, tents and other equipment in the harsh environments it has been designed for, ie, the winter wilderness of northern Scandinavia.
“I have been following their videos for many years and I know what I am signing up for,” says Niyog, who says the selection to the competition is based on voting. “This is done by friends and well-wishers and they have ranked me No. 1. The voting will conclude on December 16 after which they will tell me whether I have been selected for the competition,” he said.
Niyog had earlier made news for hitchhiking across the country without a single rupee in his pocket. “This trip was inspired by the hippie trails that were famous between Istanbul and Kathmandu. Like I said earlier, I love the challenge of these adventures. I wanted to test whether it is possible for people to live and travel without money. The journey was based a lot on spontaneity.
I realised that life can be really tough. I have gone hungry on many days. Also, you don’t really know what the next day holds. There were many people who looked at me with suspicion, but I also met a lot of kind people on my way. So, it was a great experience,” says Niyog, who has once assisted the late Mollywood filmmaker I V Sasi.