Goodbye Home, Hello Everest!

10 Mar

My inspiration from day 1 was Mr Krishnan. He took 1 year of No Pay Leave and volunteered under the Singapore International Foundation for 1 year to teach at the Sree Saraswathy School in Gorkha, Nepal. When he resumed teaching in Raffles Institution, he spear headed an overseas community involvement project involving students and teachers of our school heading out to assist in the school that he previously taught in. We were the 1st batch of Singaporean secondary school students to have gone for an overseas community service project back in 99. That was my 1st trip to Nepal and 1st exposure to the mountains. We did the Annapurna trek and made it up to Poon Hill together with the teachers. As I stood amazed at the jaw dropping Annapurna range in the background, I asked my teacher if we could go climb one of the snow-capped peaks the next day. He laughed and said, probably one will need a year of training and at least a month to climb anyone of those snow-capped peaks that were within sight.

It is unfathomable that everything has come a full circle. 13 years later, I will be going back to the same place where it all started. My amazement for the mountains when I was a sec 3 student will be addressed 1st hand during the next 3 months. I will be climbing Everest; and this will be undoubtedly be the seeds that Mr Krishnan planted in me back in 99 when he 1st exposed this simple mind of mine to something greater out there. Thank you Mr Krishnan for being the inspiration that u are.

What is even more fantastic is that we will be returning to the same school together this time round. I got back in touch with my teacher as I was planning on the execution of my service work at the school in Gorkha with Cerebos. He is now the vice principal of West Grove Primary School and was exhilarated to hear this new story. He eventually got his leave approved to come along to Gorkha during the 1st week of the school holidays which will be the same time that I will be ending my climb. We will be going back to the school together! It was one of the most exciting things that has unfolded during this journey.

After Mr Krishnan heard of my story, he began telling his P5 kids about Nepal. He encouraged them to write pen pal letters to the kids in Nepal such that both parties could improve their English. When I visited him in his school a few days ago, I was shocked to find that there were huge stacks of big envelopes from each class with numerous letters in them. I had the pleasant opportunity of meeting up with the P5 kids and collecting these letters. All of them seemed extremely excited and were shooting questions after questions at me. One of the most fascinating questions that was asked from a P5 boy was, “What will be your aim after u climb Everest since it’s the highest mountain and there is nothing else to achieve after that” I was awed at his maturity. I did not know whether to tell him that I’d be going back to work or some other answer to match his level of maturity. I answered, “I’ll have to set my next goal higher than Everest then”. I hope he understood what I meant.

Mr Krishan in the background

Dr Gayathri and myself surrounded with the happy faces of West Grove Primary's P5 kids

The class monitor presenting his class's pen pal letters to me

Now for a special mention to Dr Gayathri. After I set up my clinic in Phortse and start climbing the mountain, she will be the one solely running the clinic for another 1.5 months. She is currently working in the A&E dept of SGH and has taken 2 months of no pay leave to pursue this venture. She has devised a through plan of how she wants to run the clinic as well as to provide basic medical education to the villagers in the region. She has also the plans of traveling to each of the 5 villages with the outpost clinics of Kunde hospital and rendering her services there. She will be helping out the clinic and then proceeding to help out the school in Gorkha together with myself and Mr Krishnan after my Everest climb.

The day has come for me to part my comfort zone for the longest period of time ever. I’ll be leaving for Nepal today on a Silkair flight and won’t be back for almost 3 months. I’ll be setting up the clinic, climbing Everest and helping out the school while I’ll be there. It has been a logistical nightmare working all this out in the shortest of time frames and the smallest of budgets but I hope it all falls in place in the days to come. I would like to thank each and every one who has helped me in one way or another throughout this journey of mine. For one person to reach Everest, there are hundreds of people behind him that actually made it happen. For all the unsung heroes out there, I salute to u. I’m a little hard pressed for time as I have been packing the whole night through and my flight’s in a couple of hours’ time. So I shall end here and continue when I reach good old Kathmandu.

The journey finally begins…. I’m waiting nervously and with baited breath. Whatever will be, will be and it will be for the best.

My messy room littered with all my climbing gear

Some of the medical supplies that i was intending to ship over to Nepal

The downsuit i will be wearing at the summit (hopefully) with my Everest Title sponsors

And I go around pasting their logos everywhere!


Posted by on March 10, 2012 in Uncategorized


36 responses to “Goodbye Home, Hello Everest!

  1. Lian Lay Cheng

    March 12, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Dear Kumaran

    I read with pride that the journey we took to Nepal 13 yrs ago has bore its fruit with your challenge to climb Mt Everest in aid of the lesser in society. Mr Krishnan and Ms Florence Lee have been updating me about your dreams and we are indeed proud to know that part of our dream in making the Nepal trip for RI boys is being realised by you.

    The world needs many more of you to make a place a better place for others.

    I wish you all the best in your endeavour and totally agree that Mr Krishnan has been inspiration to us all.

    Good Luck!
    Lian Lay Cheng

  2. caroline

    March 13, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Well done Kumaran and Gayathri on what you are going to do in Nepal and in Gorkha in particular and kudos to Krishnan for planting that seed of inspiration and hope to you as a young lad. Wishing you all the best in your Everest endeavours and the good works the few of you are going to contribute to Gorkha!

    Kind regards
    Caroline ( a friend of Krishnan who had served as a volunteer teacher in Phedikhola, near to Sangja back then)

  3. Samsia

    March 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Wishing both Kumaran & Gayathri a safe trip. May God bless your work & clinic, Gayathri. As for Kumaran, may God be with you during your climb up Everest.

    Thank you for taking the kids’ letters with you. I believe some of the West Grove students are inspired by both your work.

    Samsia (P5 Teacher of WGPS, 2012)

  4. harshan

    March 22, 2012 at 1:26 am


  5. nicky

    March 22, 2012 at 1:27 am

    HI Mr Kumaran! Please come back and tell us about Mt. Everest.Wish you the best!

    • nicky

      March 22, 2012 at 1:34 am

      I am from west grove 5G!:)

  6. Marcus Wong

    March 22, 2012 at 1:27 am

    Dear Dr Kumaran,
    Congratulations on your achievement to climb Everest and wish you good luck on scaling Everest!!!!

    Best Regards,
    Marcus Wong

  7. harshan

    March 22, 2012 at 1:28 am

    best wishes

  8. huang shu yang

    March 22, 2012 at 1:31 am

    Wish you a safe trip.Hope god looks after you DR Kumaran and DR Gayathri.Good luck climbing and best wish to you to.XD

  9. harshan

    March 22, 2012 at 1:31 am

    How about u reclimb mount everest?IT WILL BE IN THE GUINNESS RECORD!

  10. harshan

    March 22, 2012 at 1:32 am


  11. Deena Harish

    March 22, 2012 at 1:32 am

    best wises Dr Kumaran . Are you going to come to our school ?To share your experiance WGPS(West Grove Primary School) Can you bring a jar of soil for the class.

  12. huang shu yang

    March 22, 2012 at 1:32 am


  13. Tay Kelly

    March 22, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Good Luck, Dr Kumaran & Dr Gayathri. I would like you to come back to our school and share your stories with the school. Looking forward to your arrival!!!

    Best wishes to you and hope your clinic will be as famous as Mount Everst, Dr Kumaran. And remember to bring some soil sample back.

  14. Deena Harish

    March 22, 2012 at 1:33 am

    PS: I am from 5G

  15. Ng Kwok Ching

    March 22, 2012 at 1:34 am

    I really hope you will climb Mount Everest. I really,really want to receive replies from the students in Nepal! Thank-you most for helping us deliver the letters! Best wishes to Dr Kumaran and Dr Gayathri! Please bring Mount Everest’s soil sample too! I would love to show it to my parents. Thanks if u would (so much!) I can’t wait for your reply!

    Ng kwok ching ( West Grove Primary School Student From 5G)

  16. Jessica

    March 22, 2012 at 1:35 am

    Best wishes to you,Doctor Kumaran and Gayatri climbing Everest!!!!! I hope you could give us the letters the pupils in Nepal wrote! Hope you reach Singapore safely!

  17. Donavon Chua

    March 22, 2012 at 1:35 am

    Dear Kumaran and Gayathri,

    I wish Dr kumaran and Dr Gayathri to have a safe trip to Everest. Remember to help us give the letters to the Nepalians . Could you bring some soil sample from Everest?

    Hope yo u could came to our school again:)

    with regards,
    Donavon Chua(5G West Grove Primary School 8)

  18. Chuan Hui Xin

    March 22, 2012 at 1:36 am

    Best Wishes to you Dr. Kumaran and Dr. Gayathri . I hope you reach safely to the top of Everest and be one of the people who conquered Everest. Thank You for bringing our letters to Nepal for the Nepal students to read.Can you ask them to reply back after conquering Everest?

    Return back safely and best wishes!

    West Grove Primary School, 5G, Chuan Hui Xin

  19. Chin Jia Qi

    March 22, 2012 at 1:37 am

    Hope you could reach the summit and come back to West Grove as soon as possible to share your experiences, Dr Kumaran and Dr Gayathri! Best wishes to both of you in Nepal and have a safe trip!(Hope you come to 5G and talk more about your experiences!)

    Best regards,
    Chin Jia Qi(5G)

  20. Marcus Goh

    March 22, 2012 at 1:37 am

    Dear DR Kunaran and DR Gayathri

    Wish you a safe trip and hope you will sucessfully reach Everest. Can you bring some sample of the soil in Everest back to West Grove Primary School. We will be waiting for your returned. Thank you.

    Best regards form Marcus Goh(5G student of West Grove Primary School)

  21. shannon wee

    March 22, 2012 at 1:38 am

    Dear Mr. Kumaran,

    Hope that you and Dr. Gayathri will have a safe trip. Could you please bring a sovenir for our class, 5G ? May god bless with you while you are climbing Mount Everest.

    From, Shannon Wee

  22. Wong Min Quan

    March 22, 2012 at 1:38 am

    Hello Dr Kumaran! How are you now? I’m sure you r in Nepal with Dr Gayathri, trying to climb Everest!
    Anyways, pls send my best wishes to the children in Nepal. although they look poor and homeless, but they are very brave kids! Also, pls make Singapore proud and also take a video of you planting the Singapore flag at the top of the world!

    Let me pen my last encouraging words for you in Hindi:

    Dr Kumaran, सभी बेहतरीन!

  23. Meah He Xun

    March 22, 2012 at 1:38 am

    Hey doctor,wish you a safe trip and will you come back to share your story?Wish you will.Best wishes to both you and Dr Gyathri!
    P.S.Can you bring back some soil samples for us?Thank you!And help me send my wishes to the citizens of Nepal.They are very brave.


  24. Nurdiyanah Dali

    March 22, 2012 at 1:39 am

    I hope you will come back to West Grove Primary School and share your experiences that you went through in Nepal.I already thought of some questions to ask you when you return back to Singapore! Please bring home some soil samples of Mount Everest and show the schools.

    Can’t wait for Dr Kumaran and Dr Gayathri to come and visit West Grove Primary School again!

    Nurdiyanah Dali (Student of Class 5G,West Grove Primary)

  25. Poh Jan Hui

    March 22, 2012 at 1:39 am

    May Dr Kumaran and Dr Gayathri a safe trip.Hope you can come back to Singapore soon so you can give a talk about your trip to Nepal at West Grove.

    Best Regards,
    Poh Jan hui(a student of West Grove of class primary 5G)

  26. Nurserena Sofea

    March 22, 2012 at 1:39 am

    Dear Dr. Kumaran,

    Hope you and Dr. Gayathri a wonderful trip to Nepal and a safe climb to Mount Everest. If I may ask, could you maybe get a sample of Mount Everest for my class to observe?
    We would really appreciate it very much. Thank you for visiting my school and answering questions from my class. I could understand how you felt answering the questions as I felt the same way before too. I feel proud because you mentioned about my classmate’s question. Anyways, have fun on your trip!

    Best Regards,
    Nurserena Sofea
    (P5G classmate of person who asked you “What will be your aim after u climb Everest since it’s the highest mountain and there is nothing else to achieve after that”)

  27. Abel Chia

    March 22, 2012 at 1:40 am

    Dr Kumaran and Dr Gayathri,

    Good luck.I wish you a safe and happy journey there.Can you bring back some soil samples back to show us?

    Abel Chia(5G student of West Grove Primary School,2012)

  28. Lionel and Deng Jun

    March 22, 2012 at 1:41 am

    Good luck Dr Kumaran and Gayathri. Wish you a wonderful and safe trip while climbing Everest. Can you bring some soil samples back to Singapore to show us?

    Lionel and Deng Jun( 5G student of WGPS 2012)

  29. Chloe Tay Li Xin

    March 22, 2012 at 1:42 am

    Dear Dr Kumaran and Dr Gayathri,

    Hello, my name is chloe and I am from West Grove Primary School ,class 5G. I wish you a safe journey to Mount Everest and I hope you will make our country proud. May God bless Dr Kumaran and Dr Gayathri ‘s work and clinic. Can I ask you a favour? I hope you can bring some soil from Mount Everest to Singapore and visit our school once more. I look forward to your arrival.
    P.S. Can you inquire about the letters to the poeple in Nepal?

    From Chloe,
    A student from west Grove Primary School.

  30. Toh Jian Wei

    March 22, 2012 at 1:42 am

    Dear Doctor Kumaran and Gayathri,

    I wish you,Doctor Kumaran safe trip to Napal and bring back letter from the Napalian to us.

    I wish you will bring some soil of Everest so that the whole class can do a sample and i can bring it home and let my mother see.

    With Regards
    Toh Jian Wei(5G (37) West Grove Primary School)

  31. edward gan

    March 22, 2012 at 1:44 am

    I know your brain is thinking about.Hope you have a safe trip to Everest as there might be avalanche or snowstorm.Hope you bring back some soil,rocks and the water from the snow.May god guide your way to the top of Everest.

    Wish you best of luck

    Edward Gan(student from class 5G in West Grove Primary School)

    • edward gan

      March 22, 2012 at 1:47 am

      …. about Goodbye Home, Hello Everest

  32. Mohamed Muzammir

    March 22, 2012 at 1:44 am

    Dear Dr Kumaran & Dr Gayathri

    Thank you for posting my question on your blog. I am very honoured.
    Good luck on your expedition to Mount Everest. Hope that your journey is a successful one. I will pray for your safety there and hope to come back to Singapore in one piece.
    Thank you for answering my question.
    Hope that you can come back with the letters that the Nepalese replied to us and bring back pictures of Mount Everest.May i ask you a question? For the sake of the class, we would like you to bring some soil samples from Mount Everest as a reminder of the your expedition and maybe, your victory!!

    Yours Sincerely,
    Mohamed Muzammir(5G)
    West Grove Primary School

  33. LIm Hok Lye

    March 22, 2012 at 1:45 am

    Wishing both Dr Kumaran & Gayathri a safe and enjoyble trip.We hope take take a wonderful picture on top of Mt Everst , you could collect some spicment for us to feel it maybe some soil or stones ,We will be trilled if you do so .
    Singapore will be pround if you make it on the highest peak in the world. 🙂

    Lim Hok Lye(student of 5G WGPS)

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