For his bucket list, Rajarshi has given himself a target of acquiring at least 4 new experiences or skills each year which is not along the beaten track.
Even though it has been a test of patience for the bucket lister to accomplish his bucket list especially with a full-time job that demands 15 hours a day, he has still managed to add some skill badges so far:
1. Scuba Diving – PADI Certified Advanced Scuba Diver, Nitrox specialist, Underwater Navigation Specialist
2. Canyoneering – Level 3 graduate from Bangalore Adventure School
3. Certified Emergency First Responder
4. Certified Freediver from Apnea Total
5. Trained horse rider from the RCTC Riding School – Kolkata Race Course
Rajarshi has been a bibliophile right from an early age. His first ray of inspiration for his bucket list had been from an adventure novel, ‘Chander Pahar’ (Moon Mountain) by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay. The bucket lister was just ten and already wanted to be an explorer like the protagonist, ‘Shankar’ from the book.
He imagined himself traveling the African lands just like the character. Rjarshi picked up more and more books from different libraries always looking for more adventure stories and owns 4 copies of the book.
With the advent of television and cable TV, he found solace in the Discovery and National Geographic channels. His bucket list grew with the company of new friends on television.
I found new friends in the grand company of Steve Irwin and Sir David Attenborough, and soon I knew more wildlife trivia than it took to annoy anyone. I was quite proud of it.” – Rajarshi smirks.
He accepts that although his life had been pretty mundane till he started working, at heart he had always been an explorer.
For Rajarshi it has always been about some degree of unpredictability in his life which if absent wouldn’t let him live in peace. Acquiring new skills every quarter is just his way of maintaining some suspense in his life. Adventure is just a by-product.
He wants to bust a myth where people assume that he is earning big bucks which enable him to afford so many side activities. He feels that people often miss out on the small sacrifices travelers like him make to save up for the experiences.
Rajarshi had to almost quit on his social life and other exorbitant spends, then generate multiple sources of income to fund his crazy bucket lists.
“Any and all income then goes straight into the ever hungry travel piggy-bank. As my mom likes to say – You’re perennially broke!”
For each leave he takes, Rajarshi has to make a difficult choice between the comfort of seeing his parents and the adrenaline rush of his next adventure bucket list.
Rajarshi shares some of his lifetime experiences because of his bucket list.
1. Freediving with blue whales in Sri Lanka.
2. Discovered and documented a completely unexplored cave in India with two more members of the Indian Canyoneers Association. He has named it Golora.
3. Solo-camped in the Himalayan meadows for a week and withstood a Himalayan thunderstorm.
4. Documented a technical canyoneering route in the Eastern Ghats with mandatory rappels over 120 feet.
5. Spent a month backpacking solo in Cambodia and galloped at full speed on a horse-back across the countryside for hours.
6. Trekked volcanic mountains in Java.
7. Dived with sharks and turtles in Indonesia.Witnessed the bio-luminescent plankton making an entire ocean glow at night.
8. Co-piloted a microlight plane and a double-decked ship into the open ocean.
9. Skydived off a plane at 13000 ft in Thailand.
For Rajarshi, the only accomplishment worth counting through all his adventures has been the experience of meeting some insanely incredible humans and the friends he has made along the way. He iterates that once you go out and meet people from all over the world you realize how pointless all the fights around race, color and caste actually are.
His bucket list has been simply about enjoying life and ensuring that usable skills are added one after another.
He stands by his motto, “Wants to learn everything under the sun.”
The bucket lister staunchly believes that travel and out adventures force one to come out of their comfort zone and talk to people. He feels that when you speak and listen, you experience a change in the way one looks at the world. You start seeing people for who they are.
He doesn’t want to lose out on potential friends due to social position or line of work. This makes it easier for him to befriend anyone and anywhere without prejudice. He enjoys being treated like a celebrity whenever he visits their countries, and like a family member when he visits their homes. His bucket list is all about experiences and to him, friends make experiences better.
For people with similar interests on their bucket lists, Rajarshi wishes to connect with them for he is eager to make more friends with a similar approach towards life.
For people who are finding it difficult to push past basic resistance, Rajarshi encourages them to start moving instead of just sitting back and thinking. He believes that once you start moving, things will turn out to be much easier than you had ever imagined.
The bucket lister goes on further, to accept that he remembers people who were motivated by him to pick up various hobbies and are now giving him a run for his proverbial money.
He reminds us that there are just way too many amazing things happening outside our houses for us to sit idle.
He quotes verses from his favorite poem by Sir Hunter S. Thompson
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a Ride!”
The serial bucket lister sees no end in his bucket lists as he looks towards some more in this pipeline. For his next bucket list, Rajarshi wants to:
- Free dive with a whale shark
- Skydive over the Himalayas
- Become a certified Master Diver by mid-2018
- Visit a relatively unknown country – Mongolia is on his radar but getting there would be pretty expensive, he feels. He has started planning for it though.
- Start his own studio for pet photography – ‘Furry Stories‘ as he calls it which is going live next month.
Image Credits: Rajarshi Photography