KOCHI: With not enough inter gear and just an old and beaten Maruti 800 for company, Kollam boy Anathu Anil, 25, embarked on a solo trip to Kashmir. Under unknown climatic conditions, while vomiting blood, he climbed the treacherous hilly terrains of the Himalayas with one goal in his mind: get over the death of his dear father, J Anil Kment.
Chavara Thekkumbhagam native Ananthu says he was not desperate. However, after his 50-year-old father’s untimely demise, a year ago, he couldn’t feel much. So, on a whim, he ventured on a solo trip in his old Maruti 800 Carburettor car with the photo of his father.
He had a hatchback car earlier but had met with a major accident which saw his mother Preetha Kumari losing her memory. The car was beyond repair. Now she has bounced back to life, Ananthu smiles. Giving scant regard to the huge risk involved in travelling in an old car, Ananthu decided to take up the challenge. But when he reached the Manali–Leh highway, fear gripped him as there was not a soul to be seen in the 200 km desert stretch.
On reaching Rishikesh, Ananthu went for a Suspended Catch Air Device (SCAD) jumping and paragliding. Ananthu’s tryst with uncertainties continued to haunt him when he started vomiting blood after he left Jispa, a village in Himachal Pradesh, 10,500 ft above sea level.“I got altitude sickness and started vomiting. I couldn’t even drink water. Since the entire stretch of almost 100km was deserted, I endured and struggled. Despite vomiting blood, I drove for another 56 km and reached the Army camp at Pangh. There I got the necessary medical attention. By then the temperature in Pangh came down to -9°Celcius. But a day after, I continued my journey towards Leh,” he remembers.
On reaching Rohtang Pass, a paradise for thrill-seekers, the police there didn’t allow him to proceed with his trip seeing his Maruti 800 car — a 4-wheeler — wouldn’t be able to navigate the icy terrain. But Ananthu was in no mood and he waited patiently for several hours to see whether other travelers would lend him the snow chains for all four tires. In return, Ananthu surrendered his Aadhar card and driving license to the police and went up in his humble car at 5km speed. “They never expected me to come back alive!” Ananthu says.
The entire trip took a month to finish, however, the youngster took a three-day break in between to write an examination as part of his course. Ananthu is currently pursuing Criminology and Psychology from Bangalore Central University.
“Apart from getting away from the sorrow of my father’s demise, another reason for this trip was to write. I am planning to pen a novel and a book on psychology,” says Ananthu, who returned home a week ago.
However, the travel bug has bitten Ananthu and he is now looking forward to venturing for his next risky expedition.