The best sights are to be seen on the road uphill
Mahendra Shashikant Kolge
Mahendra Shashikant Kolge, our Blow machine operator at the Pune factory, set out on one of his first trekking expeditions 10 years prior to his tryst with the company - a journey that would chart the course of the rest of his life.He has trekked on some challenging and diverse terrain, like the Mt. Deo tibba expedition in Manali in 2009, a high-altitude trek over icy terrain.
Today, more than 2 decades later, he has completed over 50 such treks! He is a part of the 27-year-old trekking club, Giri Gujan, comprised of over 150 people, considered to be one of the best of 5 such clubs in Pune.
His own escapades to the mountains took a turn in 1996, when he joined HCCB. “The factory environment at HCCB, inculcated a sense of community and belongingness in me. I felt like I wanted to share this skill” says Mahendra. And that is when he started teaching a basic mountaineering course for children. Each group - with 60 or more children.He has taught about ten such groups of children.
His teaching initiatives do not end there. He has gone on to teach mountaineering to more than 50 people in his family and friend circle and 750 other people engaged within his group. He has engaged the people of the HCCB factory as well, carrying as many as 8 to 10 trekking expeditions with them.
He has also been spreading the message of health through his successful trekking expeditions. He has even helped a child overcome issues with asthma, leveraging trekking as an antidote.
No surprise that his 16-year-old son has been trekking with him since he was four.His wife, who has done the basic course in Himalaya mountaineering, is also a regular trekker.
Even though he has been on trekking expeditions in several different locations, Pune’s Rajgarh fort, capital of Chhatrapati Shivaji’s empire, is his favourite trekking location.