Dreams take you places

Ambika Shaligram
Sunday, 27 August 2017

From watching the spectacular display of Northern Lights from a glass igloo to learning some crazy knife skills at a small culinary school — bucket list can be as varied and outrageous. Ambika Shaligram comes across a few  such interesting ones

If you had to choose between ‘making a list’ and ‘rolling out a plan’, what would you prefer? Are you an adventurous person or the bucket list kind? Do you go with the flow or do you spend a lot of mental and physical energy on fulfilling every tiny detail listed in the itinerary?
For the answers, we talk to a few people, who reveal the spontaneous and meticulous side of their personalities and how they look at life.

List? What’s that?
The recent addition to Noopur Srivastava’s bucket list is to become a ‘khadus Puneri’ after her marriage to Nikhil Joshi. That may seem a little odd to you, but that is her wish. 

The Boston-based banker has many miles to go, before she goes to sleep (just to misquote poet Robert Frost). Says Srivastava, “I also want to spend some time in a small culinary school to learn some crazy knife skills. And, perhaps write a book someday about the places I have visited and people I met.”

The 36-year-old confesses that she hasn’t written down any list, but she does have dreams to “do this and that”. “I have plans to visit all of Europe. Go to Chile, Turkey, Egypt. I will send out my wish to the universe, and hope it comes true one day,” she adds.

Get set for adventure
An author and wildlife lover, Arefa Tehsin has always been a wanderer. She now has found company in her entrepreneur husband, Adityavikram More. But she says that her hubby is more adventurous of the two.

“Aditya is more of a spontaneous traveller, so I keep my bags packed! What can be more exciting than an unplanned trip! Anytime is a good time for a new adventure,” says the Colombo-based writer.

Her columns on wildlife, creatures big and small, furry and feathered friends, are often complemented by More’s pictures. The picture credit invariably reads ‘Photos by Adityavikram More’. So is the couple always travelling, making plans?

“The common idea that we have is that we work between holidays. It is a wide, wide world and we are just these tiny wonder-struck bugs who have so much left to see and explore — wishlist or no wishlist. We like to wander and wonder, encounter new places and people, and collect moments wherever we go,” adds Tehsin.

So, sometimes they are on a yacht, some day in a desert, or spending their time in the forest — relaxing, reading, lazing, trekking or listening.
“As I said earlier, Aditya is always up for something new. Snorkelling, hiking, rock climbing, rappelling, white water rafting, canoeing, wildlife safaris...you name it and he has done it. While he may go on a forest trek to see the jungle and animals, I just sit silent and alone, soaking in the sounds and surroundings and hoping that the animals will come and see me. And believe it or not, they do,” she sums up.

So much of planning!
And, then there is 40-year-old Sunandita Dasgupta, who is a spontaneous person when it comes to meeting friends for drinks and dinner, trawl through museums, exchange books and so on.

But when it comes to travelling, she is a meticulous ninja! “I like to be very meticulous, leaving nothing to chance,” says the state government officer in West Bengal’s Information Department in New Delhi, adding, “I like nothing more than planning a trip.”

Yet, the methodical traveller did have a few scares when she was visiting Nepal with friends. “In 2002-03, my friends and I went to Nepal on a trip.

Then, the Indian Rs 100 meant 160 Nepalese Rupee. So we went on a spending spree, to realise much later that things were very expensive in Nepal. We ran out of cash and were surviving on tea. We requested the chaiwali lady to give us some food, so she made us rice, omelette and saag. She charged us very less, only for the egg, I think. Thanks to her, we got some nourishing food,” recalls Dasgupta.

In her younger days, Dasgupta often travelled in buses for 14-16 hours and thus managed to see quite a few places in the country and making acquaintances. On her bucket list is Andamans, which she will “surely visit some day.”

“I don’t set targets. But I really, really want to visit Finland and see the Northern Lights from a glass igloo. I don’t know if I can make it, now that I have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. But hope springs eternal,” she explains.

Wishlist keeps growing
After her marriage, Archana R Nithin moved to the US, and now with more hours at her disposal, she hopes to put her wishlist into action mode. “I can identify myself as a person with a wishlist and sticking to it, because, in a way, it gives me a purpose to move forward. Not all itineraries can be achieved in a wishlist and you need to be flexible about some. So, that’s how I keep myself pushing to achieve them,” Archana explains.

The software techie admits that it’s the quality of life in the USA that offers her the opportunity to be herself, to chase her dreams.

“I feel the quality of life in the US is far better than in India. From travelling to basic amenities like electricity, water and security, America is advanced and hence leaves you with more time for yourself. The job opportunities are many as compared to the people eligible for it. This leaves you with far more options career wise. ‘Survival of the fittest’ concept of the Indian market leaves you with no time for yourself,” she adds.

So far, the 26-year-old has managed to tick off Grand Canyon from her list. “I could have also gone to Aztec Pyramids in New Mexico, which I wanted to, after watching it on Discovery Channel in Std VII, but for some reason, I couldn’t,” she says. So that’s at the number one spot on her wishlist. And it keeps growing, as she grows older. 

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