Living passionately: Open letter to my Mom

Dearest Aiee,
Thanks for everything. Yes I say that a lot but today I feel this urge to write it to you realizing the depth and breadth of your presence in my passionate life.
This recent video on Amazon caught my attention:
I know I have been a rebellious child. Relatives still exclaim bringing me up was a herculean task and all the more when I switched my career in law to become a rock climber. I realize I am 25 now and how much you are looking forward for your only child’s marriage but at the same time you are supporting me to be a professional rock climber. I am living a life of my dreams, going on all kinds of adventures and getting paid for it, all thanks you.

Rock Climbing in Sahyadris
Rock Climbing in Sahyadris

How hard it must have been to see your only child turn into “monkey” as they loving call me.

I know I have been a rebellious child...
I know I have been a rebellious child…

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I remember when I was just 13 yr old and uncle was going to Himalayas, I threw tantrum and you let me go. I really appreciate that being a girl was never made a difference in our family and you let me explore the outdoors, learn all kinds of adventure sports and photography instead of binding me to coming home before 7pm and making me cook food.

Growing up..
Growing up..

Thanks for being epitome of patience with me. When I was a kid, you enrolled me in music class. Playing keyboard and mouth organ would improve my concentration you said. Maybe it did too. But when you saw my interest in badminton, you didn’t give it a second thought and got rackets and shuttles for my birthday… I was so overwhelmed by that! It is all because of your determined influence and spirit that has always motivated me to pursue whatever I felt like doing. You taught me the importance of commitment, dedication and handwork in everything I took up as a result of which I could excel in so many sports. “Give it your 100% and see the results” you always said… Only because of your belief in me could I win medals for our collage at National Law University matches in chess, running, table-tennis, volleyball, carom and squash.


I love cycling
I love cycling

I am truly blessed to be your daughter.

When I look back on my collage days, the only hobbies that I took up were mountaineering and photography. Both are costly for a middle-class family like us. Although we could not easily afford them, I want to thank you for getting that sSLR camera which I always dreamt of and that outdoor gear and equipment, shoes, bagpacks, clothing which were needed for climbing in Himalayas.

Adventure shoot...
Adventure shoot…

Your faith in me has empowered me every single day to achieve more. There were so many occasions when you canceled going to your friends’ birthdays and instead got me camera lens and accessories instead. I also remember so many Diwali and other festivals when you never got clothes for yourself but got me that costly bagpack and climbing shoes which I needed but didn’t have.

Riding the waves of Maharashtra
Riding the waves of Maharashtra

Your support is invaluable and I am indebted to you for giving me life and enabling me life fully.


Aspiring to be an alpinist and being able to fund myself for those expeditions is a huge struggle. Especially in India where people are not aware that climbing is also a career. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for instilling confidence in me that I can surely be a professional climber. “Instead of comparing yourself to others, consider how far you’ve come.” Has been your teaching.

Biking and road tripping
Biking and road tripping

You have always provided me emotional, mental, moral, monetary support and never tried to demotivate me or convince me to settle for a normal office life. I learn to use setbacks as opportunities from your living example.

Being selected for the BMC Trad Meet to go to UK was a big thing for me. I really wanted to go and was trying hard to find sponsors but the expenses for travel, equipment etc was so much, I had actually cancelled it. But was touched when you said we can sell off some unwanted stuff to pay for it as “You believed in me” those words still have stayed with me.

Climbing in UK
Climbing in UK

I still remember the tears of joy in your eyes when I went on stage to receive athlete scholarship during the IFSC Bouldering World Cup, Navi Mumbai. I love the way you become sentimental when reading about me in newspapers,  magazines and online articles. The look in your eyes when I bring home a medal…  I think moments like these take away all the stress from all those sleepless nights you had when I was stuck in the Uttarkashi flash floods, the raised heartbeats when you see my climbing and expedition videos and photos, the sacrifices that you made, all the taunts from friends and relatives that you keep ignoring for me….  Now I am becoming sentimental I must say.

Roped up and #climbing in the glacier with huge crevasses. #thisgirlcan #himalayas #alpinism #alpinist #climbathon2016

A photo posted by शिवभक्त Ishani Sawant ⛺️ (@adventureishani) on

I found some photos yesterday where you are singing on stage, I was a little girl then, so don’t remember you performing.


In these years, I never saw you sing in front of an audience.  I realize you got so tied up in work and nurturing me that your own passion took a back seat. Dad praised your singing a lot; he even showed me the video tape from your engagement day. That a different girl altogether. It’s going to be your 50th birthday next month and I want that girl to be back by then.

I am indeed lucky to be your daughter… You are my greatest gift!


Love you,


5 thoughts on “Living passionately: Open letter to my Mom

  1. This is one of your best writ-ups till date…tears in my eyes…amazing…They are also lucky parents to get a girl like you…India need more open minded families like yours…

  2. Awesome write up Ishani. Actually, you are one of those few lucky gals who got support from their families. And about your mom’s support and trust for you is truly commendable. Thank you Aunty for giving us our inspiration. Everyone of us are indebted to you for giving the world the best person in the from of Ishani. Salute to both the ladies for standing steady and strong and actually proving women power.

    Lots of love to you both and best wishes to you my darling Ishani.

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