‘Art of Enjoying every Moment’: The Ganges boat ride, in Banaras.

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After a city tour, also Ashoka Pillar, Thai temple, Stupa at Sarnath,

to which we added the Banaras Hindu University’s campus –

including the new Vishwanath temple – that students frequent:

we reached the Ganges at Assi Ghat, after the arati had commenced.

 

A number of young women rushed to us – as a swarm of locusts;

buzzing around – into making us buy their last leaf boats with diyas

of candle – that lit, along with flowers and incense are floated –

by those seeking to make a solemn wish, or purely in reverence.

 

After offerings to Ganges, we hired a motorboat for a long ride –

which would be tough on a rowboat in high tide – at this time:

to go past  ghats lining Banaras – ending its enhanced facade at Rajghat,

painting an exquisite sight over the canvas of balmy dimming sky.

 

Glittering silhouettes of ghats, distinct in architectural constructs –

breezed by as if in a motion picture we might be viewing from our car,

in an amphitheatre or at a drive-in open-air theatre complex:

titles extoled on the horizon, rousing images of the ghat’s heritages.

 

A jarring motor sound disrupted the quiet, barring conversation,

over that insects hounded us – attacking our faces, hands and neck:

yet they couldn’t diminish the exquisiteness and bliss of these flashes –

as we focused on relishing every moment – in spite of life’s deterrents.

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The Banaras Hindu University’s front facade…from our car, as we’re leaving.

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The floating diya…

 

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By The Ganges

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By The Ganges.

In driving down the winding mud road,

An endless yellow carpet, as if, I strode;

Sun glistened on me through tall trees,

Lining the slim avenues I crisscrossed.

Here cattle grazed, wiry men with spades ambled,

Their tanned women drew water from earthen wells;

As bare bodied children played in happy abandon-

Inside of the bare brick houses I curiously gazed.

The yellow carpet swayed in the soft warm breeze:

Bountiful, ripe mustard plantations it was made of;

Though life seemed peaceful and picturesque here,

Yet, tailors, grocers, bazaars, all here there were.

The red patches visible over saffron expanses,

Were rose plantations amidst the mustard fields;

Tall trees above them, as gallant soldiers stood-

Shielding roses, as their ladies, from rain and sun.

Just as in this village, one’s life is so well guarded,

From the complexities of the stealthy human mind;

Food, clothe, shelter, and love, the only wants here,

Were interwoven, even if crudely, into life and time.

Sprawling water bodies, amidst thatched huts here,

Are fed by the Ganges flowing quietly peacefully by;

It’s five kilometres away from Kanpur I’ve driven,

To the quaint ‘Dhori Ghat’ – village, by the Ganges.

The loud gong of a bell now goes off in the distance,

Pronouncing the river temple must be somewhat near;

The monkeys clamouring over trees that abounded –

As I stood by the river, notified me their feed was near.

The temple priest performed the daily elaborate rituals,

As I bowed in complete obeisance with the local people;

The simple folk looked at me with assertive side glances:

As dressed different, was I also amongst God’s people?

Staring into the Ganges later I solemnly wondered,

Why wasn’t city life as peaceful and simple as here?

Everything we need, we have aplenty and still more,

Yet do we sleep sound, as do simple people here?

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