On the morning of 21 March, we were woken up abruptly at 4am by our expedition leader, and called to the deck immediately. Here we witnessed an entire ice shelf that had broken off from the mainland, more than a square kilometer in size and deep enough to touch the sea bed. It felt that Antarctica was speaking to us in the only way it could. The consequences of climate change were evident.
Our last day in the Antarctic, 22 March, took us to Whaler's Bay in Deception Island, and I felt a horrible feeling inside my stomach when I saw an old whaling station. This was the place where millions of whales were massacred to produce whale oil which was such a rage during early part of the last century.
Finally, with a heavy heart, it was time to say goodbye to Antarctica - a place that had moved me so much - and set sail to Argentina. I used the time on the ship to reflect on what I had observed and learnt, and to connect with my fellow travellers. I am privileged to have been chosen by Sir Robert Swan to take up the cause of renewable energy in India and spread awareness in the country about the upcoming South Pole Energy Mission.
The group reached Ushuaia, Argentina on the 25 March and as I entered the quaint little town, I felt completely out of place. Antarctica was a part of me now and everything else felt strange - the cars, houses, people. I felt like I was stepping into earth from another planet.
The disparate bunch -- filmmakers wanting to spark change in the Middle East, engineers working on building a solar-powered elevator, consultants, aid workers from Africa, teachers, students and social entrepreneurs -- were now ready to head back to their respective countries and carry with them a message from Antarctica. The message that says "Act now before it's too late".
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This expedition has given me, more than anything, a deep understanding about the fragile environment we live in and an everlasting inspiration to preserve it. Apart from meeting such incredible teammates, it has truly been the adventure of a lifetime. Antarctica will forever remain at the apex of my life's journey.
My employers and the Tata group were instrumental in ensuring that this trip happened for me. Their commitment to the cause of environment and society is truly extraordinary and I would like to express heartfelt gratitude to them for supporting and encouraging me.
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