What's On Your Balti List? 15 Things to Do Before I Die - Common Sense Living Newsletter
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What's On Your Balti List? 15 Things to Do Before I Die

Sep 19, 2014


I was watching a rare sunrise sitting on an elephant surrounded by silence and the high grass of the Kaziranga national park, waiting for a tiger to come out to play. Lulled by murmuring leaves and the slight 'shash shash' that the elephant was making with its trunk, I caught this thought drifting past me: There's no where else I'd rather be right now. I could die here.

How nice to be caught in a moment so perfect that the purpose of life seems to be fulfilled. I don't have that thought enough.

We get so caught up in life - in our duties, responsibilities, chasing goals, reaching for ambitions, that we don't create space for these moments... the ones that take your breath away.

Creating a bucket list is a chance to think about these moments - to plan where and when you want to create them... and to map them out on the graph of your life so you can create highlights as life progresses.

What is a bucket list?

Someone once said, "The only people who fear death are those with regrets."

A bucket list has on it all the things you don't want to regret not doing when life comes to an end.

So, what would you want to do on this earth before you left?

Island-hopping? A pilgrimage? Explore seas, deserts and rainforests, a wonder of the world, meet an Eskimo, shake hands with Amitabh Bachchan?

What have you always wanted to do that you've kept putting off or didn't think you'd be able to do?

Put all your hopes, dreams, and aspirations on a list - and start fulfilling them before you 'kick the bucket', that is, say final goodbye to this planet.

I recently updated my own bucket list - I crossed off some things I'd completed - a hot air balloon ride, seeing orangutans in Borneo, the Pushkar camel fair, swimming with jellyfish (yes! they sting), becoming a writer...

So I had to make some new additions - which are included below. I hope they inspire you to create your own. You can steal from mine as much as you wish!

My Balti List

    Snow Leopard
    Source: Bernard Landgraf
  1. See a Snow Leopard in the Himalayas

    This beautiful endangered creature lives in the mountains of Central and South Asia. There are only a few thousand left on earth. They descend in the winter to hunt, and the best place to spot them is Ladakh.

    I once saw a golden leopard in Tadoba National Park, and the intensity of its gaze continues to stay with me... I can't even begin to imagine how much more astounding this gorgeous grey snow leopard will be when I get to see it.

  2. Eat One New Thing Each Week for a Year!

    Trying new cuisines is like an adventure for the taste buds... and I want to take my palate on a global trip. This will be difficult, but on the plus side, I'll learn how to cook. I'm sure I won't find 52 completely new foods or cuisines, so I'll have to start concocting them in the kitchen.

  3. Gaze at the Northern lights

    The aurora borealis, or northern lights, is a spectacular display of natural light that take over the sky over the North Pole, and can be seen at certain times of the year in northern countries, including parts of Alaska, Canada, and Scandinavia.

    A good time to see them is around the end of the year - from late November to March. And I'd like to see them from an ice igloo in Finnish Lapland.

    The Breathtaking Northern Lights
    Source: Jonathan Strang

  4. Retreat to a yoga ashram in Rishikesh

    Rishikesh is supposed to be the birthplace of Yoga. I like the idea of going away for a few days - just me, my thoughts, and the noisy peace of the gushing Ganga. A chance to give my mind a break, and let my body reboot. Not to mention, try whitewater rafting on the river, an added bonus.

  5. Dive in the 'Great Blue Hole'

    A blue hole is a round sinkhole, that lies within shallow waters, but goes deep like a vertical cave. A NASA scientist who recently dived in the great blue hole in Belize described it as "the deepest, deep blue hole imaginable."

    Descending into Belize's great blue hole will be like crossing over into an unending dark blue world - where colours swims past you in diversity of marine life, and the walls are glittering limestone formations.

    Scuba Diving

  6. Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro

    Or any serious mountain, someday even Mt. Everest. The enormous sense of achievement that climbing a mountain brings is my motivation here, but first, I need to get into mountain-climbing shape. I'll start with short weekend hikes to build up my stamina. And while I'm in Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro, maybe I can take in an East African safari and meet my first lion too!

  7. Celebrate the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland

    In the first week of December, Nagaland in the north east of India has an annual festival celebrating the cultural diversity of its many tribes, with music, arts, food, ceremonies and a weeklong rock concert.

    I traveled in the northeast a few years ago and bought myself a distinctive, cosy, Naga shawl, but never made it to Nagaland. Now every time I wrap myself in that shawl it reminds me that it's on my bucket list.

  8. Explore Hampi and its 500 monuments

    The stunning ruins in Hampi
    Source: f9photos /shutterstock

    Vast boulder strewn hills and valleys dotted with hundreds of ruined yet charming monuments, Hampi is one of India's lesser visited World Heritage Sites, located in Karnataka. And before it gets more-visited and run over by tourist touts, I'd like to go spend a few peaceful days admiring it.

  9. Experience the Ruhaniyat Sufi music festival

    You don't have to be in concert to truly appreciate music, but the concert experience has a special kind of energy. Sharing the music with thousands of others causes adrenalin to surge through you bringing a rush of joy and goodwill. At the Ruhaniyat festival mystic musicians come together in ten cities from across India and perform 'immortal, inspiring works that talk of total surrender of ego, overcoming hatred, universal brotherhood, peace, harmony and oneness of all creation.'

  10. Jump Off a Plane... with a Parachute!

    Skydiver in a Winged Suit
    Source: Rick Neves /Shutterstock

    I am not into extreme sports, but I do want to fly, even if it requires me to jump out of an airplane. The thrill of sailing weightlessly through the world, not a thought in your head nor a worry in your mind, had got to be an empowering feeling. Ideally, I'd like to do it over a desert, maybe the Namib desert in Namibia.

  11. Pursue my Secret Passion in Public

    I have the odd fantasy... ok let's be honest here... the regularly occurring fantasy of belting out beautiful melodies in front of large appreciative but imaginary audiences. I sing so badly I even have to mumble while playing antakshari.

    But enough with the dreaming, it's now time to start doing. Starting with taking a singing class. Honestly, even if I can sing well enough that crows don't fly away when I try I will be quite happy!

  12. Do Something Selfless

    And I mean really selfless. Not the usual charitable giving, handing out money. Something bigger than that - more personal. Go out there and help someone who needs it without them even asking. Not to feel good, or get glory. To do it just because...

  13. Do Something Selfish

    And the opposite. I want to do something that's completely and absolutely just for me. No one else, not my parents, siblings, friends get to put a single thought about it in my head... a guilt-free massive indulgence. I'm not sure what it is yet... Any ideas?

  14. Travel the Whole World... no stone unturned, no corner unexplored

    Source: Inspireinc

    The world is vast and full of incredible experiences - harsh climes, strange creatures, awe-inspiring natural beauty - I want to experience all of it... to broaden my mind, stretch my soul, and feel more a part of the earth than ever. The world is my oyster... it was put there for me. As St. Augustine said the world is 'a book and those who do not travel read only one page'. I want to read it from cover to cover.

  15. Write a Book

    Thanks to my bucket list, I have done, or am about to do, a lot of interesting things. They say there is one good story in everyone, and as I work through my list I hope to collect many good stories, write my life in a book, and leave my memoirs as a legacy for my children before I kick the bucket.

What do you want on your bucket list? Dare to dream. And share your dreams with us by posting a comment below.


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16 Responses to "What's On Your Balti List? 15 Things to Do Before I Die"

ganesh shenoy

18 Jun, 2015

Your article is thought provoking.Congrats on bringing up so many interesting points.Thanks


12 Dec, 2014

Thanks Anisa, I never think about this. when I read this I am very happy by your ideas & exited to do something like this for myself.

Like (1)


11 Dec, 2014

i was in doubt abt my rishikesh trip on 31st ...but now it is confirmed....dayanand ashram it is arhatic yogaaaaaa....thanks anisha

bharat bhushan sharma

25 Sep, 2014

inspiring. i want to write but pen in hand& all ideas goes.


20 Sep, 2014

Dear Anisa, I like your adorable style. Simple concepts and fluid language yet stirring something deep inside. Your BALTI list is awesome and can be romantic, impractical yet inspiring. Fall colors of Ontario, a ride on the blue whale, touching the dolphins, seeing the northern lights ... the list is endless. Yet as someone has mentioned, we can also have if not a 'balti', a 'bucket' of simple things too which don't need anything extraordinary but just the will and an ability to step back a bit, take a deep breath and let the moment stand still. I am sure we can come up with a great list that would touch our hearts!! MILIND


20 Sep, 2014

The item No.14 in the Balti list , i.e., "Do something selfless" to be given priority, particularly when one crosses 60 years like me. All along these 60 years, most of us live for ourselves and our family. Once we cross 60 years, if the family can be reasonably maintained well, then it is better to focus on doing something selfless, because as Saint Kabeer said: "When we came to this world, we cried and others laughed - Let us do something (selfless) in this world - so that when we leave this world, we sould laugh and others cry !!!" That should be the real purpose of life.

Jaishankar Jayaraman

20 Sep, 2014

Anisa, You have an Interesting and adventurous baalti list. Great, Following is my list, this is truly my vision. I've not written them just to impress anyone. After all one should have a meaning to one's life, and if my life permits I'll at least attempt to do some of them in my list. It's important to note that most of the wishes in the list require only collective effort. 1. Want to visit every nook and corner of India. 2. Want to be amidst the poor and be one among them for atleast 3-5 years and experience their happiness and sorrow and improve their social status. 3. Would like to contribute to the poor by providing and teaching them basic education, self-respect, good manners, their rights among others. In short I want them to be independent and confident. 4. Something should be done to stop killing of girl child, which is a national shame. 5. Want to protect women against rape, murder etc. I strongly believe banning night shifts for women at their work place. 6. I want India to become a super power in all kinds of sports, not just cricket. Talent is not at all short in this 2nd most populous country. 7. Of course I want India to become a super power in the field of Science and Armed Forces as well. 8. Nature has to be given its due respect and we need to protect her. So efforts should be made by humans to stop all kinds of destructive actions that's detrimental to nature. The longevity of mankind can be achieved due to longevity of nature. 9. Inter linking of rivers should happen in India sooner than later, after due research and study that it'll not cause any damage to environment. 10. One last personal wish, I would like to die peacefully in the majestic Himalayas, of course in old age.


20 Sep, 2014

Hi Anisa, This one is really sweet and I felt like this article should never be signed off so request you to continue to add new items on your wish list and keeping sharing you experience. thanks

upendra pandya

20 Sep, 2014

You will achieve it. Paste on Mirror. Everyday once read regularly. One day You will!!! Start from today.


20 Sep, 2014

This reminded me of movie Guide song. Aaj fir marne ka erada hai Aaj fir jeene ka erada hai........ Life is beautiful we need to live...

ramarao m

19 Sep, 2014

the most selfish thing you can do is stay all by yourself, in deep silence, and go within.

Prakash Rath

19 Sep, 2014

Great one. Thanks

Prakash Rath

19 Sep, 2014

Great one. Thanks

rajan t mehta

19 Sep, 2014

dear anisa. a very well written article which is an eye opener to one and all to ensure one looks at his bucket list everyday and keeps ticking no sooner you are thru with the first. even if the end comes early you still carry the satisfaction of achieving a great percentage of the total. message - let regrets not spoil your final journey to the abode.


19 Sep, 2014


rahul ahire

19 Sep, 2014

;-) Like it


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