The Bucket List

Saw the Bucket List and thought I would too make a Bucket List…
As I put pen to paper or cursor to Blog Editor, I realized I could never make a list because I have always got what I wanted or at least made peace with what I cannot have. Or at least that is what I had myself believe.

It was a nice sunny afternoon (as sunny as it would get after dingy showers). Deepak called me from work and told me to step out. “Go do something fun today…it’s not raining”, he said. Hmmm…Fun!: Ok, let us start with the museum, I thought. Yes…that is my idea of fun. Now if you would excuse me, I was narrating something. So, I checked the museums on the net and it turned out that the Page Museum was accessible and close by and I had already chanced upon it during our home searches. Chanced? More like, walked 5 times around it looking for apartments (And now we are taking the one right opposite it.)

So, I caught my buses (3 to be precise) and went into the museum. I wandered around near the lake that had a huge elephant stuck in the pit. The lake was green, dangerous sounding gases were exploding from below and it looked like a normal day at Vihar Lake. But why come half way across the globe to see this?, I asked myself. The sign board pointed to tar pits and a enclosed museum. I chose to go to the museum. It looked small from the outside. I wandered around the museum store and the membership section for long enough before I learnt about the museum. I happens that the tar pits are the richest source of fossils of ice age beings, in the world. I couldn’t believe that something called the Tar Pits could be so rich in fossils and be walking distance from my future home. I could see the towers of Park La Brea in the reflection of the museum doors. Brea means Tar in Spanish and it felt extremely odd that I would be staying in the Park of the Tar Pits, after all.

The museum was breathtaking, to say it in the least amount of words. For those who like prose, please continue:
I saw a short film that told us that the place that we were sitting in was inhabited by mammoths and saber tooths. You know when you see Ice Age, the movie and then see the bones of those creatures, something grabs you from inside. The air conditioned theater where I was sitting was probably the sleeping place of a ground sloth. It suddenly felt like we were all here for a reason and a season. And then we are just fossils. And the sad thing is: in this day and age, we can’t even leave fossils for our future generation to discover. But hey! I don’t want my great grand children dig out my tail bone, either. So a woman was found in the tar pits too. The tar pits basically in the summers, melted and trapped beings that crossed it. Then it just locked them in, till they died and layers upon layers of such beings ended up in the pits as water washed sediments over them like a well baked lasagna. Ok, I’ll stop it. It is just that death takes a new meaning when you see it so clinically.

The sign outside said “No dinosaurs were found in the tar pits as they stopped existing 65 million years ago and these pits are only 10000-40000 years old.”. That is when it hit me. You see I had this book called ‘100 questions and answers on Dinosaurs’. My dad gave it to me after I saw Jurassic Park. Now it was a heavily illustrated book and I loved it. Even 9 months ago, when I was in my parent’s house recovering from jaundice, I re read the whole book. Of course, this time, it took only 3 minutes. But the last page always had a charm. It was dedicated to: What to do with a fossil. It said, if you find a fossil, clean it lightly, pack it in butter paper and show it to someone at the local Museum where the Paleontologist is. And i remember thinking to myself…”Where in the world am I going to find a fossil…and even if I do, we don’t have museums and I would not get a Paleontologist in India to speak to.” Then I would brood over the lucky American kids and go on with my life. If only I were in America, I would have become a paleontologist, I would think. And everytime Ross talks about his work, I would think that was so cool. I found myself thinking about all this at the museum and I saw this small type at the end of the brochure that said: Volunteer in our Science Laboratory, where you can dig out, clean, preserve and mark fossils. No prior experience required. We will teach you everything. If there is a bucket list in my life, someone else is writing it and striking off things as we go, I thought.

They say that the Asians followed the animals west ward to populate the Americas. Well, we are still doing it.


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