Holy madness that is...Benares
Call it Kashi, Varanasi or Benares all these names are the key to after life. This is believed to be the greatest ‘tirth’ or the crossing over from earth to heaven, for a Hindu. Benares is the oldest living city in the world and one has to leave behind one’s city attitude to take in this holy madness
No frowning or irritation allowed- get rid of your city attitude, I had to constantly remind myself so as to not ‘lose it’
The (a)incessant honking, every nano second by scooters, rickshaws, bikes, cars, jeeps, buses makes one feel Bombay is a veritable haven on not just the road transport mechanism but also on noise pollution it is probably the most silent city in India. (b)The splash of ‘paan’ on the streets and walls because they don’t chew their paans there, they keep it in the mouth for 2 hours or more, and relish the juices that collect and then, splash it outward when the mouth is full. (c) The manner in which every outsider is seen to be a total ignoramus and ‘educated’ about the Ganges is masha-allah too endearing. (d) The filth, the beggars, the touts, the greedy pundits, and the general madness many times had me see sawing between being amazed and wanting to run home (e) the humungous population in this tiny area of the ghats was difficult to deal with despite having lived in this country for years!!
Nothing prepares you for Benares honestly, I had read up a lot, asked friends more, and more, but the live experience is so very different from hearsay and second hand impressions, I almost feel Varanasi is a ‘concentrated’ India with all its colour and chaos. I think am still reeling with the onslaught on my senses, and in order to make some sense of all the jumbled up thoughts about Benares in my head, I need to step back a bit.
Posted by Mee at 13:02