Feisty Achievers: Nungshi & Tashi Malik | Verve Magazine
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June 06, 2017

Feisty Achievers: Nungshi & Tashi Malik

Text by Tina Dastur

For being the first female twins to summit Mount Everest and the youngest people to complete the Explorers Grand Slam

Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell crooned, ‘Ain’t no mountain high enough’; ‘the Everest Twins’ are living the ditty in real life. Ever since they summited Mount Everest in 2013 and clinched the Guinness World Record for being the first female twins to do so, the sisters have set plenty benchmarks with great aplomb. While their insatiable appetite for climbing still sees them scale innumerable peaks every year, they have, post-2015, focused their attention on their NungshiTashi Foundation, which is aimed at empowering Indian girls through outdoor activities.

Daddy’s girls
Nungshi Malik (NM): Dad’s our first and biggest hero. He is an amazingly well-read and enlightened soul…and I’d go so far as to say that he’s like our third sister now!

Tashi Malik (TM): Much of our world view is inspired and shaped by our father. Being women in a male-dominated society exposes us to a lot of challenges. Dad has helped us sail through all our tough times and motivated us to be strong and keep going.

Role models
NM: Junko Tabei, who seemed to defy age and move mountains while she was alive. We’re also inspired by Austrian alpinist Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner.

TM: Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, naturally; they are iconic. Today our mountaineering hero is Reinhold Messner, a man who has climbed all 14 ‘above-8,000-metre’ peaks…that too, without oxygen!

Strengths and weaknesses
NM: I love to push my limits, set big goals, get out of my comfort zone, build strong and winning teams and lead from the front. And unlike my sister, I am an extrovert and usually handle things that demand firm negotiation. I am not as intuitive as Tashi. That’s why together we make a formidable winning duo!

TM: My biggest strength is my will power. I’ll admit that physically I am slightly weaker than Nungshi. My weakness? I’m sensitive and introverted. I can be quite the emotional fool.

On being international icons
NM: We are mindful of both the positive and negative impacts of what we say or do. Gandhiji famously said, ‘My life is my message.’ We constantly strive to lead an exemplary life.

TM: To become a celebrity and achiever comes with its own joys and responsibilities. We want to be in our private, protective bubble with the freedom to be ourselves, but we know that since many look up to us for inspiration, our actions must always be worthy of emulation. So we try to be the best versions of ourselves.

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