The Pootle List

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

― H. Jackson Brown Jr., P.S. I Love You

The ‘Big’ Items

Each of these is a really big deal.

  1. Read and review 250 books
  2. Learn a new language and achieve fluency in it
  3. Reach my ideal weight by eating healthy and through ‘moderate’ exercise
  4. Be able to the more difficult yoga poses. Yeah, right!
  5. Pick up different art and crafts techniques – on the lines of decoupage, water colors, make my own paper
  6. Learn how to crochet and make Amigurumi animals
  7. Own a sewing machine and use it
  8. Fold 50 Origami projects
  9. Have my own business
  10. Spend several months in a country overseas
  11. Piece together a super big/five thousand piece jigsaw puzzle
  12. Learn photography ‘properly’
  13. Write because of writing. Be a published author.
  14. Go whitewater rafting

Travel Adventures: Every bucket list I have come across has mandatory travel-related items, a trend that I am happy to follow. I can’t abide with travelogues or travel shows because they make me wildly jealous of the author/anchor. If I die without setting foot in the six continents (I leave out Antartica, because one simply cannot pootle through that much cold), my ghost shall wander the earth, sans passport and visa. I have had the fortune of visiting a number of places both within and outside India. For every travel adventure I have had, there are dozens to go.

  1. Be amazed by the northern lights. You know how Bill Bryson goes to Hamburg, to kick off Neither Here, nor There and wrote this “I had an itch to roam. I wanted to wander through Europe, to see movie posters for films that would never come to (my country), gaze wonderingly at billboards and shop notices full of exotic umlauts and cedillas and No Parking sign O’s, hear pop songs that could not by even the most charitable stretch of the imagination be a hit in any country but their own, encounter people whose lives would never again intersect with mine, be hopelessly unfamiliar with everything, from the workings of a phone box to the identity of a foodstuff. I wanted to be puzzled and charmed, to experience the endless, beguiling variety of a continent where you can board a train and an hour later be somewhere where the inhabitants speak a different language, eat different foods, work different hours, live lives that are at once so different and yet so oddly similar. I wanted to be a tourist.”
  2. Take at least 3 long road trips in different continents. Dreamcatchers. Route 66. Computing the optimal road trips.
  3. Go hot air ballooning in Cappadocia
  4. Walk the Great Wall of China and think deeply about Confucius and Wild Swans
  5. Wander the bazaars of Marrakesh, Morocco. There is a story behind this, which has the Taj Mahal. Remind me to tell you about it one day.
  6. Travel solo (which in my case will translate into days spent getting very lost, all navigation aids notwithstanding)
  7. Float in the Dead Sea, Jordan
  8. Trek in Ladakh or a road trip to Ladakh
  9. Eat the street food in Banaras
  10. Ask a question to the Sphinx
  11. Go for a yoga retreat
  12. Shop in Japan for Origami paper
  13. Travel on a cruise ship. Show me a kid who read about Titanic and did not day dream.
  14. Do 50 road trips in India. Have been on several, some of which I shall shamelessly recount to you.
  15. Explore the food in Italy. One of the kindest-to-vegetarians countries in the world.
  16. Go see the laughing buddhas in Myanmar
  17. Eat at a Adriano Zumbo patisserie in Australia
  18. Go snorkeling in Hanuama Bay, Hawaii. SG and I first learnt to snorkel in the Maldives. Literally, with rented equipment, while standing in the sea, using Google. Completely smitten, I can barely wait to discover the hidden and wonderful water worlds.
  19. Snorkel off Andaman and Nicobar Islands. See above
  20. Sail the Great Barrier Reef
  21. Travel through North East India
  22. Pootle to the Canadian Rockies
  23. Drive through New Zealand while channeling Gollum
  24. Walk with the Incas in Machu Picchu, Peru
  25. Pray at Angkor Vat, Siem Rep, Cambodia
  26. Look for Nessie in Scotland
  27. Get dizzy at the Grand Canyon skywalk. I.fear.heights.
  28. Travel by an iconic train
  29. Do the Jack the Ripper walking tour in London: In homage to unsolved mysteries, morbid fascinations and, of course, London
  30. Oktorberfest, Munich: For the love of beer

Becoming a better cook and baker: Till about a decade ago, my cooking skills began and ended with grating processed cheese over crackers and sticking a potato between two slices of bread. We have come a long way since then, and can cook and bake pootlicious delights with comparative ease. Milestones to be crossed:

  1. Make the perfect soufflé: A favorite food memory involves gently pouring some custard into a hot vanilla soufflé. There were angels singing in the background, and little fairies danced around the table sprinkling the air with magic dust. The closest I have come to love at first sight.
  2. Master the pie crust: The only apple pie I have attempted was supposed to be a delicious almond frangipane free form one. The end result looked and tasted like over salted potatoes. Epic fail.
  3. Get cheesecake right: Sweet dreams are made of this. Who am I to disagree?
  4. Learn how to decorate cakes: Through perseverance and diligent recipe devotion, I manage to get most cakes I bake to taste right. Now to make them look half-way decent.
  5. Learn and catalogue my mum and mum-in-law’s recipes: Having learnt how to cook using recipe books and the occasional youtube video, I have no tales to relate of picking up cooking techniques and recipes at the knee. Both my mum and mum in law are excellent cooks and have a wealth of knowledge to impart. That is, if I am patient enough to learn from and transcribe their wisdom.
  6. Study cooking professionally: Because a bucket list is supposed to be ambitious.
  7. Take a cooking vacation: I dream of Italy, buying fresh produce, wood fired pizza and wandering through cobble stoned markets. Or of Thailand. Or of Mexico.
  8. Make wholewheat bread: My brother discovered the joys of baking several years before I did. I distinctly remember thinking – the first time I heard him wax eloquent about the warm smell of bread baking in the oven – that he must be smoking something strange. That was then. He recently gifted me a copy of Peter Reinhart’s bread baking bible. I look at it occasionally and get discouraged by how high Mt. Everest is.
  9. Sell what I cook/bake: At least once.
  10. Cooking potato dishes from fifteen countries: Several years ago, as an international student delegate, I visited a world food fair in Switzerland. I spent the evening pootling around and discovering the various potato dishes at the stalls of different countries. I may or may not have also imbibed huge quantities of erm, ‘fermented potato’.
  11. Brew my own beer

What is on your bucket list? Anything I have missed which you believe is a must-do?

4 thoughts on “The Pootle List

    1. 😀 some people have it, some people don’t. we were busy working when others were lining up to collect the gene when it was being distributed 😀 do do put together a bucket list – it has made a big difference to me, especially since I put everything that I like doing on it. I feel like I am progressing even when I am reading a cookbook


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