Much ado has been made about having a ‘bucket list.’ The moment you tell someone about a lovely experience you had on your unplanned holiday, it goes straight into their bucket list. Let me tell you very frankly, as human beings our greatest memories are not of places, but rather of the time we had, the happiness we felt in the moment we were nowhere else, but there; physically, mentally and with all our soul.
Sometimes, I feel like asking people who keep adding items to their bucket list, if they actually ever think about doing the things that they have so fashionably added. It has never crossed my mind to make or maintain a bucket list. There is certainly a ‘wow’ factor when I read about places, or listen to experiences but in my conscious mind I know its nearly impossible to do everything in life.
In my opinion, we are bracing ourselves for disappointment and failure by having a bucket list. Example : Although I had arrived in Leh with the sole objective of trekking the Chadar, I ended up walking on a frozen river in Markha Valley instead. If I was hell bent on completing a bucket list item, I would not have been privy to a secret one home village in the Himalayas.
My most memorable instances on the road have been when I did not know everything about a destination, sometimes knowing too much clouds the vision, eliminating the scope for exploration.
There was very little money left and I had booked a volvo ticket to Delhi. The bus was supposed to leave at 5 in the evening. I had gone for lunch and to say my goodbyes to the owner of Chacha Dhaba. It was the only place that was open in Vashisht in February 2014. He looked up at the skies and asked me to wait.
I called up the volvo guy to ask if they could reschedule my booking. They agreed, and I had no idea that that small decision would turn out to be my best memory of Manali.
In the long time I spent in Vashisht that winter, there were very few tourists around and when I met two American guys with an Australian girl, we decided to buy some wine and promptly polished it off in a local dhaba and were buzzing with activity. In the meanwhile, the weather had turned really feisty and a gentle drizzle had turned into a dream-like setting gradually shifting to snowfall.
We were drunk by the time we walked back to Vashisht, and gathered our towels and change of clothes and simply jumped into the hot water springs. It was a crazy experience with the warmth of natural sulphur water while snow flakes continued falling on our heads.
Here is a series of images when I was confined to my room. The teenage manager was kind enough to give me food when everything was shut down.
Picture perfect scenes were laid out on a platter for me. It was monochrome, and nature was the creator.
Meanwhile – Some photographs from the streets.
And any remote ideas of a bucket list were thrown out of the window. I would wander everywhere I liked, the world was my playground.
As Bukowski said ‘I wasn’t much of a petty thief. I wanted the whole world or nothing.’