My very first post on this blog featured my Bucket List which was finalised at 23, but actually what I had vaguely conceptualised when I turned 21! (Hence the title!) This bucket-list is special as I gave it much thought two years ago, and firmly decided that these would be those quirky, adventurous or noble things I would do bearing in mind the past 23 years I had lived and the following years to come.
It has been nearly two years since, and until a month ago I had actually forgotten about this list. (Pathetic! I know)
It is shameful to make excuses; but excuses I have a-plenty – my life changed; my priorities suddenly became more grown-up and had to be in accordance with what gave me money in the bank rather than long hours spent in glorious fantasy about creative ways of spending it!
Nonetheless, the bucket-list was re-visited around about the same time I decided to re-enter the blogging universe. It suddenly dawned on me that I ought to achieve at least one of these items before I begin blogging frequently again, lest the abysmal thought that the last year was spent so grounded in reality that no part of my dreams took flight. So in the month gone by, I worked towards crossing off one item on my Bucket-List. The simplest of them all, No.17 – “Learn the names of every country capital in the world.” This has been something I have wanted to do for a long time actually, ever since I lost a challenge to my friend Revati during my college days when our mutual friends forced us to ‘a capitals face-off’. Her mind worked like a moving Atlas even back then!
It turns out that the words “country” and “capital” have multiple interpretations. Also, there are few more countries in the world today than four years ago, and I could bet that at least half the people to read this would not be aware that following a referendum in July 2011; South Sudan became a sovereign country and a member of the United Nations. Unlike South Sudan, there are some other states, whose sovereignty is disputed and there are at least a dozen ‘countries’ on our planet whose legal status is left unclear – “popular” cases being Taiwan, Palestine and Kosovo and “lesser” known disputes but with bloody wars having been fought for them are, inter alia Abkhazia, South Ossetia or Somaliland. Learning about big and small territorial wars put things in perspective … are the borders we draw, the seas we explore and the lands we live in worth killing for?
So, I finally zeroed down on a good list compiled by Tristan Higbee on his blog thealoof.com (Thank you Tristan!). His list consists of 205 countries on a single printable page which I ceremoniously printed and handed over to my German colleague, Vera. Vera enthusiastically quizzed me every single afternoon, post the lunch hour which is always the time that I am least productive (am sure there is a study done by someone, somewhere to support that the one hour after a nice lunch is when people cannot get any real work done in office!).
Vera’s enthusiasm was unmatched by anyone else I have known to ever quiz me on anything. There were days when I would forget to pick up the sheet and go to her desk, she would just randomly start by calling out “Devi – Colombia……” rattling off either countries or capitals and expecting the answer in the split second after! She is the person I must thank for helping me cross this item off my bucket list! The sparkle in her eye when she held up the paper and called out the names of countries in her typical German accent, and with sometimes the German pronunciation is something that I shall never forget in this lifetime!
I am proud to finally announce that I do know all the country capitals of all the sovereign countries in this world, and am on my way to learning the capitals of dependency territories and islands as well.
This exercise motivated me to look up maps more often and learn the names of lesser known cities, rivers and sub-national provinces in other countries. Our world and the sheer diversity of landforms, people, places and cultures just fascinate me! I discovered Jetpunk and the innumerable Geography and History quizzes that can be done there, and sometimes that is all I need to boost my momentum on a slow afternoon. It feels right to have found a productive hobby that does not deviate my thought too much from work …after all, as I am nearing a year at being Legal researcher I have understood that knowing the History, Geography and Culture of anything I am researching is always a part of the equation!
As a memento, and of course to continuously feed this renewed appetite for Geography, I bought myself the most beautiful Atlas I could find called “Concise Atlas of the World” (3rd Edition) by the National Geographic. It is big, beautiful and actually a mini-encyclopaedia for geographic knowledge, complete with stunning images of our wonderful planet. There are days when I have spent hours pouring over it and then wished that I had an eidetic memory to absorb all the knowledge it has to offer.
Nonetheless, now with great pride and the occasional bout of modesty I can cross off this item on my Bucket-List!
- Bungee jump
- Go on a Cruise (pref. the Caribbean)
- Visit the Iguassu Falls
- Travel on the Trans-Siberian Railway
- Contribute to a Travel Guide (at least once-in-a-lifetime)
- Learn Arabic and Spanish …diligently
- Get published (Fiction that is a bestseller)
- Learn to play an instrument
- Own and drive a Volkswagen Beetle regularly and properly (judiciously as well)
- Cook your own meals for a full day
- Hold an exhibition of all my artwork
- Get citizenship of at least one more country – world citizen, remember?
- Offer tours at a World Heritage site – natural or archaeological for a day
- Volunteer for the Galapagos
- Make a compilation of your favourite photographs from all the travels (age 1 to present)
Learn the names of every country capital in the world
- Paint a mural in my own, eco-friendly home
- Design my own clothes for a year
- Do a double Ph.d
Wonder what shall I pursue next?