In early 2015, somewhere in the month of Feb, I was sitting in my office, when two wandering lads dropped by. They introduced themselves as rock climbers and told me about a climbing expedition which they were planning with a climber from Lonavala visiting them soon. At this point, I had a muddled thought in my head that these guys might be referring to ‘rappelling down a face’ as rock climbing. Until then, I had been trying to find someone who could actually climb a rock face but all I could find was people who trekked and rappelled down waterfalls. People who only claimed to climb mountains.
Later that day a man in his mid 30s joined the equation. Long hair, beard and a pickup truck made masculinity drip from every inch of his body. Being under the influence of a can of beer, I could hardly question the new character and couldn’t help but believe that this man is made of true grit. Even before I could deduce what a man of his age was doing with 18 year olds, before I could even gauge the situation, the man took me along with the other hilly billies on a drive in his truck.
A few weeks later, the same man, Bhushan Pandharkar, could be seen helping us put together a climbing wall, moved from his place to my garage and I am learning to climb with Bhupesh Patil, one of the two juveniles whom I mentioned in the beginning.
We named my shoddy garage, with a small climbing wall, as ‘the Climbers’ Den’.
We were joined by more friends. A slackline was rigged in the lawn in front.
Bhupesh soon started pulling off tricks on it while I was barely managing to walk like others.
Fast forward a few weeks, we are doing weekend trips to Anjaneri, Pandavleni, Ramshej- tiny mountains located on the outskirts of the city of Nasik. Climbing in the boulder fields and on some of the pre-bolted sports routes.
A little later, I was traveling with Bhupesh and Bhushan to Lonavala for filming a Simul-Climbing expedition by Rohit Vartak (The climber from Lonavala mentioned at the beginning) with his ‘Partner-in-Climb’, Ganesh Geedh, on the ‘Naghphani’ face of Duke’s Nose Pinnacle. Bhupesh was witnessing a speed climb, live, for the first time as Rohit and Ganesh sent the 300ft wall in just 30min.
A few weeks later, Bhupesh was showing to me Dean Potter sending high lines and Alex Honnold doing free solos in Yosemite National Park. We immediately got on with scouting locations to rig a highline.
Soon enough, I was filming Bhupesh and Samar walk the first highline rigged on our home turf.
I then accompanied them to Badami to film more high lines.
As the year drew to a close, we retreated at the very spots which were kind of ‘a first’ for a lot of landmark events in our lives.
It had been exactly a year after I first met this young prodigy and now I was filming him walk what could be the longest high-line (named ‘Progression’) so far, rigged on Duke’s Nose Pinnacle.
Another year passed by and I moved to Manali to team up with 4Play while Bhupesh was travelling around the country from festivals to competitions and helping Samar with the first ever Slackline Festival in the country.
A specie such as theirs is very rare. These are people who see something, a vision, and follow it with such dedication and passion that they turn it into reality. I feel very lucky that Bhupesh approached me and made me not only a part of his journey but also gave me an opportunity to lend my perspective to it for the world to see. Unknowingly, he has inspired me and led me to have my own vision develop over the years. My life has never been the same ever since I became a part of these adventures and a major part of the credit goes to Bhupesh Patil.
This film, Being Fakir Ft. Bhupesh Patil is a tribute to his ability to achieve what he wants for himself and with that, I can only wonder what is coming next?
Author: Shivam Aher
Shivam being a free runner, climber, and a filmmaker diligently handles camera and editing at 4Play. He actively contributes innovative ideas to enhance content quality. Longboarding is one of his favourite alternate sports in which he continually challenges his own capabilities.