Bucket lists, and why I like them

A picture I took of the Kanchenjunga range in Nepal

I first heard of the the term ‘bucket list’ when I watched The Bucket List, a 2007 comedy drama, in which Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson play two terminally ill men who make a list of things to do before they die. 
Incidentally the man who coined the term, Justin Zacham, is the screen writer for the very same movie. He created his own list called Justin’s List of Things to Do Before I Kick The Bucket which he then shortened to Justin’s Bucket List thereby coining the term. 
After watching the movie I was fascinated by the idea and thought of it often. A lot of people have bucket lists. The lists themselves vary depending on the person’s interests but most include traveling (typically to New York, Paris or Kenya), adventure sport, ‘something to make my parents proud’, and other such accomplishments. I think the idea of a bucket list loses its point when most people have the same things on it.

A good break from the usual drill was when my uncle said he will not die until he sees my sister get married. For starters this is a reverse bucket list, he says he won’t die until it happens as opposed to hoping it will happen before he dies. Additionally what he wants isn’t for himself but for his niece. I like his bucket list (though I think I’ll have to kidnap a guy to get one to marry her), it is different and not self centred. 
Apparently this sort of thing, uncles wanting to see their nieces married, was quite common “back in the day” as my mother puts it; I guess that was before the age of narcissists. 
These days all people want to do is travel, as I mentioned before, to either New York, Paris or Kenya. New York for the bar hoppers, Paris for the dreamy lovers and Kenya for the over-enthusiastic ‘I want to take selfies with cute tribal kids’ types. 
Of course there are a few people with different places in mind, I’ve heard a lot of “Maldives”, “Cuba”, “Singapore” and “Africa!”, not specifying where in the massive continent (though I’m pretty sure they’ll end up going to Kenya).

I met this guy from Mumbai, on a trek I went to in Nepal recently, who had ridden a Harley up one of the worlds highest motorable passes, Khardung La (Le Ladakh), which stands a staggering 17,582 feet at its highest point.

“I’ve always dreamt of doing it, and having done it I thinks it has been the greatest experience of my life.” he said, staring into the distance…

“Was it on your bucket list?” I asked.

“Yeah I guess.” He replied, still staring.

“And you completed it?”

“Yeah” He smiled, pleased with himself.

“Are you ready to die now?” I questioned.

“What? No!” He said, looking aghast.

“So you have something else on your bucket list then?” I prodded.

“No.” He said, defensively.

“Then why aren’t you ready to die?” I asked, forgetting all subtlety.

“I don’t know man.” He said, now looking more confused then ever.

This is the reason most people can’t stick to their bucket lists, as they want to do all these awesome things but won’t be ready to die at the end of it. They would like to keep living for as long as possible, irrespective of what the’ve accomplished during their lifetime.
Given the choice, a lot of people I know would rather be immortal and not do anything apart from trying to watch all seven seasons of Game of Thrones in a row…

About a week back when I was thinking about writing this article, I asked one of my friends what he thought about bucket lists; he first listed out his, which included lighting his sixteenth birthday candles with a joint and learning to drive an auto-rickshaw (don’t ask). Then he stated:

“It actually doesn’t matter if I don’t complete it before I die.”

“What?” I asked, wondering if I had heard right.

“It’s karma dude: you live, you die, you live again.” He stated casually. I realised only later that it’s a line from Mad Max: Fury Road (damn ripoff).

I thought for a bit and then asked: “So you’re saying you don’t mind completing the rest of your bucket list as a cockroach?”

“Ahhh, that’s not going to happen.” He said, trying to reassure himself…


There are a lot of people who don’t have bucket lists, some don’t like thinking about anything related to their death, others just haven’t thought about it. As for me, I do have a bucket list (an ever growing one in fact) which I take quite seriously; in the sense that, yes, I want to finish it in this lifetime and I do plan on dying after I’m done with it. And though it’s work in progress here is what I could call a top seven:

#1. Play for a state basketball team.
#2. Form a band.
#3. Sit on top of a train (specifically while it’s moving). 
#4. Train a hawk.
#5. Play at a concert.
#6. Perform a complete dunk (in game).
#7. If all else fails, start a shawarma joint Mosque road (Frazer town, Bangalore).

These are not ‘dreams’ or ‘visions’, they’re just random things that I really look forward to doing sometime in the future (especially the shawarma one). And I’ll probably add many more as “running out of inspiration” like every Pinterest follower puts it, is not going to happen anytime soon.
But what is odd is that I haven’t come across a single person with a really unique and impressive bucket list (my own included). Maybe this is because I haven’t talked to enough people, or maybe because the people I know are into driving autos. 
Either way it would help if you posted yours in the comments below and let me know what you have in mind. Good luck ;)

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