Supreeta Singh
After a parachuting accident, that almost broke his back, Bear Grylls went on to win the Guinness Book of World Records (1998) at the age of 23 for climbing Mount Everest.  Almost paralysed, it took him 18 long, difficult months to recuperate. It was then he realised that when life gives you a second chance, one should just grab it without thinking twice. Putting behind the stuff that nightmares were made of, Grylls is back in the game as the action-driven host of Discovery Channel’s extreme adventure series, Man Vs Wild.
The new season sees him travelling to remotest places on the globe, including Australia’s northern territory, the Republic of Georgia’s Caucasus Mountains, a deserted island south of Papua New Guinea, the snowfields of the Canadian Rockies, sharing invaluable survival strategies along the way. Grylls loves adventure. “These places are unforgiving and you have to keep your enthusiasm intact. There’s no alternative.  Adventure sports make the world a hard place,” he says.
For a man who lives life in the extreme, survival strategies are a must. Grylls says that it’s important to let people know the route you are planning. Then comes water, a knife, a map, flint and a compass. “I always have a little laminated picture of my family that I tuck in the sole of my shoe. Carry whatever gives you hope. That’s a big part of staying alive,” adds Grylls.
After endless close-shaves with near-death experiences, Grylls now defines his work by the times he gets it right, not the times he gets lucky. However, he does have several funny moments too. “I remember once I was filming in the black swamps in Sumatra. It’s a place where the Tsunami had hit and all these crocodiles had been feeding off 65,000 human corpses and it was just a desolate, dead, stinking, infested area full of snakes, mosquitoes and leeches. I remember getting out and thinking never again back there.”
Since adventure-sport is often touted as counter-culture by many, Grylls has come across parents afraid of letting their children be part of such extra-curricular activities. He says, “My agenda is to encourage young people to follow their dreams and live their adventures. I get responses from parents saying their kids who only wanted to play computer games before are now wanting to climb mountains. Isn’t it great?”
After traversing almost all adventure sports destinations, Grylls believes he would need 10 lifetimes to tick off all the activities on his list. He hopes to visit India soon. “I have been to the Himalayas for hiking. There are so many wild places, great jungles, huge mountains and amazing deserts. I’d love to film in India,” he chuckles.