Everest summiter Shrinivas Dattatraya’s wife Sushma Soma pays tribute to his exploration of Singapore

“Every weekend, Shri would set off at 7am to walk with his 15-20kg backpack. He’d come back home only at 4pm. His usual haunts included McRitchie reservoir, Coast to Coast trail from Jurong to Coney, Treetop walk, Rail Corridor, Bukit Timah hill, amongst many others.” This is the loving tribute of noted singer Sushma Soma, posted yesterday, in memory of her husband Shrinivas Sainis Dattatraya, the Indian-origin mountaineer from Singapore who went missing and then was presumed dead — body never found — somewhere in the “death zone” of Mt Everest.

Shrinivas Sainis Dattatraya, Indian-origin mountaineer from Singapore, on his weekend exploration of the island nation’s natural treasures. Photo courtesy: Instagram/sushmasaurus

The search for Shrinivas Sainis Dattatraya, who summited Mt Everest but could not make his way down on May 19, has been arguably the most high-profile incident in the 2023 spring climbing season of the Himalayas.

He ‘fell’ somewhere around 8,000 metres; it was never clear how he could possibly fall down the mountainside when clipped to a fixed rope. The ground search went on for days, but the family was finally forced to accept that he was gone forever. Sushma then wrote a long message of thanks on Instagram — a closure note — to everyone involved, especially the Sherpas. This was about two weeks ago.

Also read: RIP Shrinivas Dattatraya: Wife of missing Indian-origin climber from Singapore accepts end of search on Mt Everest

Also read: Decoding dark facts in the search for missing Singaporean-Indian climber Shrinivas Dattatraya

Also read: How did Shrinivas Sainis Dattatraya, missing Indian-origin Everest climber from Singapore, “fall” during his descent?

In her post yesterday, Sushma recalled her late husband’s spirit of adventure, how Shrinivas went exploring for hours even in the tiny island nation of Singapore.

The man who climbed Mt Everest, the dream of every mountaineer, besides scaling Denali (in the United States of America), Manaslu (in Nepal), and Pik Lenin (in Tajikistan), also playfully ‘conquered’ Bukit Timah in Singapore.

Everest summiter Shrinivas Sainis Dattatraya stands atop Bukit Timah hill in Singapore, along with his friends and his wife Sushma Soma. Photo courtesy: Instagram/sushmasaurus

Sushma wrote: “The tallest point in Singapore on Bukit Timah hill is just a tiny speck next to where he stood, but it’s pregnant with all his memories for me.”

The Singapore explorations of Shrinivas made Sushma look at Singapore in a new light: “Through him, I realised [that] Singapore was more than just a glitzy concrete jungle. He opened my eyes to her rainforests and waterways that were hidden from plain sight.”

While Shrinivas can never again accompany Sushma, she went on an exploratory Singapore trip to remember those times with him: “This week, I revisited some of the trails that have had many weekly trysts with him — Treetop walk, Rail Corridor and Bukit Timah hill — and some of our favourite people joined me.”

After losing her husband, Sushma Soma (centre) went on her own exploration of nature in Singapore and was joined by friends. Photo courtesy: Instagram/sushmasaurus

Her Instagram post cited an amusing conversation with her husband, an executive director at real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle in Singapore, when she was working on a musical production, titled HOME, to be staged at the SIFAS Festival of Arts 2023, at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay in Singapore. At that time, Shrinivas was preparing to climb Mt Everest. She wrote: “When I was working to stage HOME in Singapore in April, Shri said I was climbing the Olympus Mons while he was climbing Mount Everest. I asked him ignorantly, ‘Wait what, why wouldn’t you say I’m also climbing my own Everest??’ With his inimitable calm smirk, he told me to Google ‘Olympus Mons’. I did, only to find out that it is the highest mountain and volcano in the Solar System and is 3 times the height of Mount Everest. Ah, he had his way of celebrating (and annoying) me. Indirectly. Wholly. All [the] while educating me on a random fact.”

Yesterday’s social media tribute came about three weeks after Shrinivas summited Mt Everest and then went missing. Sushma emphasised that despite her grief over his death, she had not forgotten his mountaineering feat.

She wrote: “In all that’s happened over the last 3 weeks, I had not paused to celebrate the fact that Shri was on the peak of Mount Everest! I mean, what an incredible feat he achieved! What a CHAMPION.” She ended the post by saying: “Shri, this one’s for you. There will never be another You (sic).”

Shrinivas Sainis Dattatraya summited Mt Everest and went missing on the way down on May 19. Sushma Soma has celebrated his triumph as much as she has grieved over his death. Photo courtesy: Instagram/sushmasaurus