articles by Shail Desai

Arts & Culture

With The Third Pole, Mark Synnott explores the intriguing mystery of Andrew Irvine's Everest expedition

The book is a good read for newbies to the world of Everest and a refresher for those familiar with its past and present.

Arts & Culture

Unique cohabitation of humans and wildlife in Bera, Rajasthan, is brought into stunning focus in a new book

Wildlife enthusiast Sundeep Bhutoria's book, The Bera Bond, evocatively captures the relationship between locals and leopards in Bera, Rajasthan.

Arts & Culture

Wild and Wilful: Conservation biologist Neha Sinha on her new book, need for local solutions to tackle human-animal conflict

Sinha looks at diverse issues to paint an intriguing picture of the state of wildlife in India. And along the way, highlights the work of some unsung heroes that she has met over the years.

Lifestyle

Timeless Mahindra: Adil Jal Darukhanawala on the history of the iconic jeep and how it is intertwined with a free India's

The 75-year journey of Mahindra & Mahindra, that started off with the hardy jeep CJ-2A,is traced by Darukhanawala in his new book.

Lifestyle

Faking Everest: False summit claims rise, as climbers exploit system's loopholes to win unearned acclaim

Over the last few years, climbing in Nepal has been rocked by false Everest summit claims made by Indians. Since 2016, there have been at least seven cases that have been reported, even as murmurs of other suspect summits continue to do the rounds.

India

Among first Indians to summit Mount Everest, Sonam Wangyal recounts fabled 1965 expedition on its anniversary

Sonam Wangyal was 12 when Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary made the first successful climb to the summit of Mount Everest. Twelve years later, he would be among the nine Indians to perform the same feat.

Lifestyle

Cyclist Amit Samarth cycles indoors to raise Rs 2 lakhs for Maharashtra Police on frontline of COVID-19 crisis

How Amit Samarth made his 40th birthday a memorable one by riding a stationary bicycle at a stretch for 48 hours on an indoor trainer, and raising funds for the Maharashtra Police.

Life

Road to Mekong: Piya Bahadur chronicles how four women on bikes ranged deep into South-East Asia

In Road to Mekong, Piya Bahadur chronicles her unique journey through South-East Asia, along with three other women who left their 'regular lives' to travel from Hyderabad, through the East Indian Coast and the North-East of India, past Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam along the river Mekong, and ultimately, to Cambodia.

Life

Running in loops without a definite finish line, how ultramarathon The Last Man Stands tests mind and body

On 25 January, 19 runners lined up at the start of The Last Man Stands. Each of them had an unflinching capacity to endure pain and enough experience of having tread many running miles in the past. Only this time around, the game was different. For starters, there was no defined finish line in sight, and as the name suggests, the winner of the lot would be the one who was still out on the course, when the rest had called it quits.

Life

The Forgotten Few: New book remembers birth of the Indian Air Force, its first pilots to conquer the air

While a lot has been written about the contribution of the Indian Army during World War II, The Forgotten Few by KS Nair, is a rare account of the Indians who participated in the war in the air, alongside British and other Allied pilots. A passionate war buff since his childhood, Nair realised the need for the book only after travelling outside India as part of his day job.

Life

Truck De India: Rajat Ubhaykar on traversing highways across the country, and the fascinating, complex lives of Indian truckers

Rajat Ubhaykar geared up to take on the snaking network of highways while at the mercy of the generosity of truckers, all in a bid to know their lives better. It’s an experience that he intricately captures in his first book, Truck de India.

Life

How endurance cyclist Neha Tikam aced her sport, despite being a late entrant in cycling

Endurance cyclist Neha Tikam talks about her recently undertaken Deccan Cliffhanger, and the challenges faced by a 'late beginner', whose training in Bharatanatyam came in handy while gearing up for her cycling adventures.

Life

Astride his motorcycle, Jay Kannaiyan's journey from Chicago to Delhi comes alive in his new book

In 2010, Jay Kannaiyan quit a stable corporate job to tread a path that would lead him into the unknown. Keeping him company was his trusted steed, sanDRina — a robust Suzuki DR650 bike. Kannaiyan's book, Riding Towards Me: A Thousand-day journey from Chicago to Delhi, captures his unique adventures that unfurled over the course of three years.

Life

'It soon became a survival race for me': Naresh Kumar on navigating 1,705km long rugged terrains of Kyrgyzstan on a bicycle

The second edition of the race was flagged off at 9 am on 17 August; of the 135 riders in the solo and paired categories, only 71 made it to the finish by the 31 August cutoff — the last man to get there after a staggering 14 days, 13 hours and 57 minutes. Naresh Kumar ended his race in 31st place among the 46 solo riders after seeing his fair share of drama over the 12 days, 13 hours and 30 minutes.

Life

Pushing the boundaries: David Göttler on attempting to scale Mt Everest without supplementary oxygen

At a time when commercial climbing on Mt Everest (8,850m) is setting new highs — and lows — David Göttler, 40, and his climbs over the years present a striking contrast.

Life

Atop Mt Everest or not? Climbers challenge Haryana trio's claim of scaling world's highest peak

Mt Everest, the highest peak in the world, has attracted thousands of mountaineers and adventure seekers for decades. On 26 May, three climbers from Haryana — Vikas Rana, Shobha Banwala and Ankush Kasana, claimed to have summited its peak. But the climbers' community have their doubts based on evidence, or the glaring lack of it.

Life

How Priyanka Mohite made history as the first Indian woman to scale 8,000-metre-high Mt Makalu

Priyanka Mohite, a 26-year-old mountaineer from Maharashtra's Satara, became the first woman in India to scale Mt Makalu, the fifth highest mountain in the world at 8,485 metres. Mohite achieved the feat on 15 May this year.

Life

Free Solo: How rock climber Alex Honnold scaled the 3,000-feet-high vertical face of Yosemite's El Capitan

American free solo climber, Alex Honnold, talks about his fears, injuries, and the years leading up to his conquering of the mighty El-Capitan.

Life

Runner's high: How Brijmohan 'Breeze' Sharma completed a daunting 200-mile race in Australia

A mountaineer at heart, Brijmohan Sharma decided to take on the Delirious W.E.S.T., a 218-mile race (350.7 kilometres) with a 104-hour cutoff for a successful finish.

Life

March through the mountains: Peter Van Geit's solo journey through 40 Himalayan passes on foot

Struck by the natural beauty of India, Belgian citizen Peter Van Geit decided to leave his country and explore Indian landscapes, first on his bike, and then on foot. He undertook his most testing trip in 2018 — a 75-day journey across 40 passes in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, which was self-supported and solo.