Okay, so first things first. This is my first attempt at writing for an IndiSpire topic. In the past, every time a topic which was to my liking came up, I would mentally attempt it, scribble a few lines in some obscure corner of my mind and then promptly abandon it there. I had almost abandoned this one too, after scrawling a couple of to-dos on the imaginary wall of the black hole that my mind is, but then something struck a chord and I had to reclaim it back. No, I thought, I was not abandoning this one, no I was not going to give up on this one too. And so here I am, bucketing some dreams for the first time in a long, long time.
So the topic for this edition of IndiSpire is: Ten things you must do before you die or else you would feel like a loser on a death bed. Let's share and motivate each other about life. Let's dream about life.
The cynic in me generally brushes aside concepts like bucket lists and must-dos, but I was tempted to indulge this topic for it said, 'let's dream about life'. The word dream not only inspired me to write, this clause also freed me from cynical dismissal of the concept of bucket-lists, since the word 'dream' gives me the freedom to pour my heart out and still be aloof from the pressure of going all out to make this 'bucket-list' come true. Paradox, isn't it?
Anyway, here's my list.
1. Set up free tea and snack kiosks on the route from Katra to Vaishno Devi - One winter night, a couple of years ago, I was trekking up to Vaishno Devi temple from Katra, our small group tstopping in between for cups of tea to keep ourselves warm. Now, the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has made decent arrangements for the the devotees to take a break while they are walking up the steep road to the temple. There are enough shelters and canteens where one can rest and refuel themselves for the walk/climb ahead. These canteens offer refreshments at reasonable rates, but even with the subsidized rates, for the porters who help haul up luggage carts as well as weak and old pilgrims, it leaves a dent in their already light pockets. So I wish that someday I am able to help set up enough free tea kiosks on this route, so that the porters and other daily wagers here can have tea and snacks for free.
2. A road trip across the country - There's so much to explore in our country - from the ethereal Himalayas in the north to the mesmerising tea estates of the south, from the cascading sand dunes in the west to the pristine landscape of the east, from ancient ruins to intricate architectural delights, our country is a treasure trove full of natural delights. I wish I get a chance to travel to every nook and corner of the country and explore it all and make friends everywhere. How wonderful it would be to able to connect with people from all over the country!
3. Be an expert swimmer and diver - I know swimming all right, but I wish I could do it better. I want to be a better and confident swimmer so I do not shy away from swimming in natural water bodies. Also I love diving but find the big pools intimidating. So this is one skill I really dream of mastering.
4. Be an expert driver - I keep forgetting the basics of driving all the time. I remember long long ago when I was learning to drive for the first time, the person who was coaching me had to coax me at every turn to go ahead and take the turn. And I would fumble every time, scared that I will bump into some hapless passer by. I am yet to overcome that fear and because of this I keep giving up on driving. I need to overcome this fear and I wish someday I am a driver confident enough to drive on the national highways on my own.
5. Own a book store cum cafe - Oh, I am sure many of us have this dream. So wish some day I am financially comfortable enough to set up a little book store of my own, and a cafe to go with it. Nothing fancy, just your basic tea-and-cookies kind, where one can sit and sip endless cups of tea while browsing through their favourite books.
6. Have a few travel books to my name - I should be prioritising this, but the procrastinator in me wins all the time. I have a travel blog but most of the times I am either too lazy or too zoned out to update it regularly. So I wish I win the war against procrastination and seriously get down to penning my big and small travel tales.
7. Explore Machu Pichu - Very few ancient sites have left me as intrigued as the Machu Pichu ruins in Peru. This 15th-century Inca site was built at the height of Inca empire but abandoned a century later. There are several theories about why it was abandoned. Every time I read stories about its rise and subsequent decline, and see the photos of the captivating ruins, I have a strong urge to trek up and explore every part of this panoramic site.
8. Sail across the world - I have never been on a ship and the idea sounds very brave and romantic. Given my love for history and geography, it would be a dream come true if I get an opportunity to sail across the world. It would be so exciting to see for real all the fanciful names I studied in Geography classes - Gulf of Alaska, Strait of Gibraltar, Bermuda Triangle, Baffin Bay, et al.
9. Own a small cottage somewhere up in the mountains - Ah, this is a long cherished dream, to be away from the madness that city life is and set up a quiet life somewhere deep in the mountains. Why, I even wrote a poem on it! You can read it here.
10. Make efforts to make sure the nine dreams listed here come true. Oh yes!
So I have finally made a bucket list and it was fun. In fact bucket lists are fun. I guess the term bucket list should be replaced with the words 'hope list', for they make you want to live. Okay, enough. Let me pull down the shutters before I start philosophising.