I had my first asthma attack in 1988 just after my graduation. That was the toughest phase of my life so far. At one point in time, I had given up all hopes of ever leading a normal life without steroids and tons of other medicines. But fortunately, it did get better with time and minor lifestyle changes. However, it relapsed after I got married in 1993, probably due to pollution, and this time the occurrence was more frequent and acute. So much so that, It was extremely laborious for me to walk even a 50-meter stretch without panting heavily.

Being the daughter and wife of Indian army officers, I decided to take the matter into my hands. Within six months of deep breathing exercises daily and swimming, the asthma-grip on my lungs loosened. In 2015, I ran my first half-marathon. Then there was no looking back. My challenges became my achievements. To commemorate my golden jubilee, I completed a scuba diving course, went down 20-meters below sea level, and swam with an incredible aquatic life.

It was a rather extraordinary celebration for a 50-year-old female with a history of acute asthma. I wanted to do something which will not only be a milestone in my life but also inspire people like me. I decided to go high up a mountain and dive deep into the sea.

One of my favourite songs, Main Zindagi ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya from Dev Anand's film Hum Dono sums up my life's philosophy. I would like to tell everyone that it is all about mind over matter. At 50 plus years if I can defeat asthma with minor lifestyle changes and commitment to a cause, anyone can do it!

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