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The Unstoppable

Cover Story Health and Wellness July 2018

The Unstoppable

July Unstopable1

Trekking, white water rafting
Travel, writing about her travels
Message to the world
Impossible is nothing. You can achieve anything you set your mind to. For those battling cancer, fight and move on. Stop with the mulling and feeling sorry for yourself. No matter what happens, keep that smile.

There is no better word to describe trekker and former STAR TV operations head Dilshad Master’s spirit than ‘indomitable’

When she starts speaking, you pause and listen. This is someone who has something pertinent to say and says it without fear. Dilshad Master is no stranger to hardships, a word she rarely uses. “When I met with my accident and was severely injured, I remember lying in the hospital, bleeding all over, waiting to be taken in for surgery,” says the bold survivor of a ghastly accident and a fight with cancer in 2012. “I held my father’s hand and asked him: Why me? And his reply I will never forget. “Why not your darling, what’s so special about you?” And that’s a lesson I have carried with me always. I don’t call them hardships at all. These are just road bumps along the way. They help you get your bearings, be less careless and ensure you don’t go hurtling into something dangerous.”
Hear, hear. This, coming from the woman who spent more than two decades in the television industry, pioneering many firsts and launching many channels in India, including Zee Cinema and the Hindi versions of NGC. She also helped these channels take on the digital medium, creating viral campaigns and helping them find their market dynamics.
“I learned early in life that I was more a project-based person. A problem-solver,” she elaborates.“Once the project was launched, the problem solved, boredom set in. I was fortunate to be in the media in the early 1990s when things were just starting. It allowed me the opportunity to put my hand up for every new opportunity. As a result, I worked across almost every genre of television from general entertainment and infotainment to news and movies. There’s very few of us who can claim that breadth of experience.”
When she was being treated for cancer, the one thing that kept her going was the zeal to build something of her own, a legacy for her young daughter. That was when the opportunity to work with her husband’s adventure travel business, Mercury Himalayan Explorations (MHE), opened up. “I’m always on the lookout for projects, collaborations and tie-ups beyond just simple trips and holiday experiences,” she says.“That’s how the crazy idea to trek to the Siachen Glacier came up. I knew only MHE could execute that – we were the only adventure travel company that had done it before and we had the knowledge base that no one else did.”
Her never-say-die attitude and wealth of experience changed the ballgame for MHE. “In television, we always said, nothing is impossible,” she says.“I believe that’s true of any sector you are in. MHE helped me understand myself better. When I finally stepped out of media and my large cabin inside a very tall building, crunching ridiculously large numbers, and saw the mountains… I understood the true meaning of ‘impossible is nothing’.”
As a cancer survivor, and even at her weakest points, she has summited peaks literally and figuratively. “We humans put ridiculous limitations upon ourselves,” she says.“The simple truth is, yes you can. And there’s nothing like the great outdoors to teach you that.”
She draws her strength from her family: her husband, parents, brother, and in-laws. “They’ve all pushed me beyond my self-imposed limits,” she recalls.“When I started to train for my Everest Base Camp Trek after the cancer surgeries, I would simply collapse on the side of the road and cry: I can’t do it! My husband would look down at me, hands on his hips, and say: Get up. Stop whining. I was going just 8 weeks after major surgery, and I asked my dad-in-law, a famous mountaineer himself: Will I be able to do it? And he said: Of course you will. When the body gives up, your mind will get you there!” And it did.


Dilshad Master, Director, Marketing and Business Development,
Mercury Himalayan Explorations
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