Leading Team Khukuri Warriors (named after a kind of machete related to Gurkhas in India and Nepal) are 29-year-old twin sisters Nungshi and Tashi Malik who’re excited to be representing India and South Asia for the primary time. Their group additionally contains mountaineering knowledgeable Brandon Fisher from USA, snowboarding and rafting knowledgeable Praveen Singh Rangar, and the twins’ father Colonel VS Malik, a retired officer of the Indian Army and a part of the Team Assist Crew (TAC).
- World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji contains 330 opponents (who type 66 groups of 5, together with 4 racers and an assistant crew member) venturing throughout 671 kilometres of Fijian terrain throughout 11 days for 24 hours a day.
The Malik sisters are the primary siblings and twins to climb the Seven Summits, to succeed in the North and South Poles, and full the Adventurers Grand Slam and Three Poles Challenge. “Honestly, as climbers, we by no means noticed ourselves doing completely different disciplines and World’s Toughest Race supplied us with the chance to take us out of our consolation zones,” says Nungshi, “This is the one event in our lives for which we were unprepared.”
Tashi agrees that their presence on World’s Toughest Race may engender a progressive discourse about gender stereotypes in the journey subculture. “We were the only two sisters taking part in this race, so emotionally, it was not one-against-four but two-against-four, so there was a mental and psychological comfort before going into this challenge,” she begins, “When we climb a mountain, it’s not just for the thrill of it, but for the girls and women being uplifted in our society. This gives us greater strength.”
Nungshi tacks on, “Nature doesn’t discriminate on gender, and neither is excellence determined by it!”
Sibling energy is incomparable in this complicated system of endurance, wit, spirit, and bodily stamina. Tashi remembers crying at instances when she felt her sister was not serving to and vice versa, a far cry from their climbing ventures, however provides, “In these expeditions, you are trying to survive on your own and then tending to others, and this was a new experience for us. So the emotional strength we talked about just now also played as a weakness because there were times we could not take that.”
Nungshi firmly provides, “This was also the first time we were a team in a competitive environment. Though consciously we are trying to survive, there is this element of making sure the team also survives. Each of us in the team had our own skill-sets. No one made any comments on others, which often happens in a team of several leaders, where more trouble emerges. We had to control our temper which was easier with my twin around.”
Naturally, with such testing situations in this terrifying race, the women had their moments of psychological misery. Nungshi admits to being “greenhorns of racing”, explaining, “There were moments we felt we had to give up. I, particularly, had reached almost the end of my physical and mental endurance; I remember having this conversation with my father. He was aware I was using a lot of persuasive words and that would mark the end of our race, but he would say ‘Girls, there is just no quitting. Remember: boys fall after 72 hours, but girls get stronger,’ and that stuck with me for a long time. When the drive is stronger than the fear of risking your life, it gives your rocket extra fuel. A failure at our end would mean a failure for the 600 million girls back home. Quitting just was not an option.”
Urging the Malik sisters to dish a bit of bit extra about Grylls that we could not know, and Nungshi responds, “We first met Bear in 2017 at a music festival in London. But then meeting him again during the race, we saw he’s such a doting dad and he has such a soft side to him! He’s quite emotional; he had tears in his eyes when he watched us at one of the toughest points of the race because he knew we were absolute rookies. He reiterated that anyone who goes on this kind of adventure is a superhero and he’s a great role model, with a great sense of humour.”
Coming again to a quiet lockdown life in Dehradun introduced with it many classes, the siblings agree. While they have an inclination to their grandmother in addition to their many chickens and canines, and sustain their expertise, they replicate on what they’ve learnt. Tashi admits that journey racing is a way of catharsis; the upper the benchmarks of risk-taking, adversity, and uncertainty, the upper the extent of self-belief. She explains that in the present day’s challenges don’t intimidate her, and she’s extra proactive in following up with them. “We expanded our lives beyond measure,” she affirms, “and we learned not to be a victim of our circumstances but to triumph them.”
Nungshi factors out that interacting with a group of journey lovers was a golden takeaway for her, particularly ones pushed by larger missions of life. “These incredible human stories across nations and cultures moved me to a level I adequately cannot describe in words,” she says. “Also working with some of them has been transformational.”
World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji streams on Amazon Prime Video from August 14.