Try being on a boat, on the Ganges early in the morning when the sun is rising. Sitting at a distance of 3-4 feet from the musician, you will appreciate how delicate the instrument is. It has more than 100 strings running crisscross over the wooden body. And the music it makes is soulful and serene. If you keep looking at the Ganges with the santoor music in the background, something will shift gears in your heart. Try holding the tears then.
Also try holding yourself from the tempting chaats and kachoris and jalebis. We had two breakfasts in a day, because we didn’t want to miss kachori-chana for poori-jalebi. So we had both. And the rounds of banarasi-paan! I have lost count there. The mithais were on our radar and we had our fill there too. Laal-pedas were packed and taken home.
Walking through the narrow lanes, you will find a story at every corner. A marble plaque read 1767, the year the house was built in. The palaces on the ghats will have stories of Rajas who lived there. We stayed in one such palace. And a shivling at every 100 meter will constantly remind you that it is Shiva’s city. Locals will tell you that Shiva is around, one amongst the many sadhus living in the city. I don’t believe in Gods, but I want to believe that a personality like Shiva is in the vicinity. And that I can strike a conversation with him any day.
Picture Credit: Anand Oinam