When Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mount Everest on 29th May, 1953, their reactions were a study in contrast. While both were jubilant about the success, it is said that Edmund Hillary proudly stamped the flagpole on the head of the summit.
Tenzing Norgay, on the other hand, humbly bowed his head on the summit. This is because the Nepalese Tibetan community call Mount Everest by the name ‘Chomolungma’, meaning ‘Mother of the World’. Tenzing humbly sought forgiveness for stamping on the revered mother’s head.
As the two men made their way back down, the first climber they met was teammate George Lowe, a New Zealander. Hillary's greeting to him, which has now become the legendary statement, was: "Well, George, we knocked the bastard off!"
James Ramsey Ullman mentions in the Tenzing’s autobiography, ‘Tiger of the Snows’, “In his (Tenzing’s) moment of triumph what he felt in his heart was gratitude to Everest. His prayer for his future life is that it may be worthy of Everest.”
No wonder, both the heroes went on to lead diametrically opposite lives after conquering the summit.