Recently, I met a 77-year-old businessman-engineer-consultant from Mumbai who wishes to visit 144 monuments all over the world before he dies. He was in Gujarat because 10 of those monuments on his list are here — all architectural marvels sprinkled around the state. By the time he will have finished this tour of Gujarat, he will have struck off 120 from the list.
I liked the tenacity of the man. He owns a company which has offices in many cities in India and the world and has over 1,400 employees. Still, he took a month off his extremely busy schedule to drive around Gujarat in search of sultanate monuments, temples, stepwells and ornate gates. We wanted him to check out a few more tourist destinations, most notably the Laxmi Vilas Palace in Vadodara, which is four times the size of Buckingham Palace. He said that he was interested in only the 10 on his list. We persisted. He said, "No!" He spent an hour at the Jama Masjid next to the Champaner Fort which is a UNESCO Heritage Site, the only one in Gujarat. He didn't even check out the fort or the Saat Kaman (the seven arches on the Pavagadh Hill). It seemed ridiculous that he should come all the way and not do that. But, few of us have the courage to believe in our dreams. Fewer still, convert that belief into a reality, without getting swayed by external forces such as friends and peers.
While chatting with him for a couple of hours (where he did most of the talking and I listened to his experiences in India and France and about his irate Bengali executives), I wondered if I could ever do something like that. I'm still in my twenties, but chalking up a Bucket List now wouldn't be such a bad idea.